Restore your foundation with foundation wall repair and basement wall crack repair in greater Atlanta! AquaGuard can help you discover the best method of repair for different types of foundation wall cracks. We can inspect your foundation at no charge, providing you with a written solution that’s warrantied to permanently stabilize your home’s structure. In many cases, we may even be able to close the cracks, straighten doors and windows, and return your foundation to its original position.
Signs of Cracks in Foundation Walls
Foundation wall cracks can leave your basement vulnerable to flooding, which is why it’s important to seek repair as soon as you notice a problem. Here are a few of the most common signs that indicate foundation wall cracks and water intrusion:
- Horizontal, stair-step, diagonal, and vertical wall cracks
- Foundation walls that bulge or buckle
- Sliding in at the bottom or pushing in at the top of foundation walls
- Efflorescence on concrete walls
- Wet spots on walls
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How Do You Fix Foundation Cracks?
When it comes to foundation wall cracks, there are seemingly endless repair methods. From helical piers to anchor systems to epoxy injections, each foundation wall repair method serves to restore damage that has been caused by different forces. Identifying the cause of your foundation wall cracks will help you find the foundation wall repair method that will provide strength and stability to your home for years to come.
Here at AquaGuard, we go above and beyond fixing the issue cosmetically. Our staff works diligently to find a solution that gives you peace of mind knowing foundation wall cracks won’t become a recurring issue.
What Are the Different Types of Foundation Wall Cracks?
The first step in identifying the cause of cracks in walls is classifying the kind of wall cracks you’re seeing. Foundation cracks vary in severity from a simple cosmetic issue to a major problem with your home, and each type of crack has a different cause. There are five main types of foundation cracks:
- Horizontal Wall Cracks: These foundation wall cracks typically indicate serious structural issues and are most often caused by heavy soil pressure.
- Stair Step or Diagonal Wall Cracks: If your foundation is constructed of individual blocks, excessive soil pressure and settlement can cause cracks to occur in mortar joints.
- Vertical Wall Cracks: These wall cracks are often caused by settlement and can lead to significant amounts of water seeping into the home.
- Small Hairline Cracks: Most concrete walls will experience small cracks as they cure. This is normal and may be no cause for alarm.
- Basement Floor Cracks: Large foundation cracks that appear on the floor are typically signs of settlement, sinking, and heaving. Floor cracks can not only indicate more significant structural damage, but they can also lead to basement flooding.
The Common Causes of Cracks in Walls
Once you have determined the type of wall cracks you’re dealing with, you can look further into the cause of the damage. Getting down to the specific cause of foundation cracks can help you determine the best repair method. Here are a few of the most common causes of cracks in walls:
1. The Concrete Curing Process
Immediately after your concrete is placed and finished, the curing process begins. Concrete curing involves maintaining ideal moisture and temperature levels as the concrete dries—this helps ensure the concrete continues to gain strength and durability, as well as delays drying shrinkage until the concrete is strong enough to resist cracking. That being said, during the curing process, it is still likely for small cracks to appear in the concrete. Typical shrinkage cracks tend to be 1/16” wide or less, meaning they aren’t large enough to pose any real threats. If you see a crack that is 1/16” or wider, make sure to monitor it regularly, as this could be an indicator that you have a larger problem at hand. If the crack becomes wide enough that you can fit a dime in it, or if one end of the crack grows larger than the other, you should consult a foundation repair contractor.
2. Foundation Sinking and Settlement
It’s natural for structures to settle slowly over time as soils adjust to the building’s weight—this normal settlement is referred to as uniform settlement. Uniform settlement causes your home to settle evenly, typically leading to very minor cracks or no foundation cracks at all.
There is another type of settlement, referred to as “differential settlement,” that causes parts of the foundation to sink at different rates, leading to significant structural damage that gets worse with time. If you notice large foundation cracks, a tilted chimney, cracked and uneven floors, or doors and windows that don’t stick, you may be dealing with foundation settlement.
3. Expansive and Clay Soils
In Georgia, our homes rest on what is known as Georgia red clay, an expansive soil that expands and contracts significantly when it becomes too wet or too dry. When clay soils expand, they put thousands of pounds of pressure on your foundation walls, pushing them inwards and causing them to buckle or crack. When the soils dry out again, they shrink and retract away from your foundation walls, which can lead to foundation settlement.
4. Hydrostatic Pressure
Just as a sponge gets heavier when it’s wet, so does soil. Once oversaturated, the sponge can no longer hold water and will thus allow the water to cascade right through it. Unfortunately, the loose backfill soil surrounding your home’s foundation operates in the exact same way. When that soil becomes oversaturated, it will allow hundreds to thousands of gallons of water to funnel right through it. Gravity takes its natural toll, which means all that rainwater, mud, and pressure will push against your foundation walls. The pressure caused by this added weight is referred to as “hydrostatic pressure.” Unable to bear the added weight, foundations will eventually cave in and crack due to hydrostatic pressure. Not only can hydrostatic pressure cause foundation walls to crack, it can also force water through the smallest of openings in walls and floors. This can eventually lead to basement flooding and, if not addressed, wall collapse..
Hydrostatic pressure is usually caused by either inadequate drainage or improperly-channeled roof water. Without proper or functioning drainage systems protecting your property, water will pool around your foundation and build up as hydrostatic pressure pushing against your home’s foundation walls.
Foundation Wall Repair Options
Whether the problem is expansive soils or unstable soils underneath your foundation, there are effective solutions that can permanently repair your structure. At AquaGuard Foundation Solutions, we use the following methods to restore structural integrity to compromised foundations.
Foundation Pier Systems
If your walls are cracking due to foundation settlement issues, foundation piers may be your solution. These cracks will usually appear in a vertical or stair-step manner. We utilize two types of foundation pier systems:
- Foundation Push Piers: This type of foundation repair solution works by transferring the weight of your foundation to stronger, more stable bedrock and strata far below the surface.
- Helical Piers: Helical piers, like push piers, stabilize your foundation by transferring the weight of your home to more competent soils. Helical piers are incredibly versatile and can be installed year-round.
Wall Anchor Systems
If your foundation walls are failing due to expansive soils, a wall anchor system may solve your problem. Wall failure cracks are typically horizontal in nature and will gap, or widen, over time. This solution requires access to the soil beyond your foundation walls. If exterior access is limited or not possible, we recommend installing the PolyRenewal IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System or PolyRenewal Carbon Fiber Wall Stabilization System as equally-effective solutions.
How Do Wall Anchor Systems Work to Repair Foundation Wall Cracks?
Wall anchors use the soil beyond the foundation walls to exert counter pressure on failing foundation walls. This permanently holds the bowing or buckling walls and also allows your contractor to attempt to straighten the walls back to their original position over time.
Cosmetic v. Structural Basement Wall Crack Repairs
Unfortunately, there are many concrete wall crack repair contractors who will suggest a fast, cheap solution that they know will not be effective in the long-term. Painting over drywall cracks or tuckpointing cracks in bricks are just two examples of solutions that address cosmetic issues without getting to the root of the problem. These solutions will cost more in the long run given that the structural damage is not addressed.
Should I Repair or Replace My Foundation?
Most foundation damage can be repaired with the aforementioned methods, such as pier systems, anchor systems, and cosmetic repair. Thus, foundation damage rarely requires complete foundation replacement.
Foundation replacement is an extremely disruptive and expensive process. It requires the complete removal of all that surrounds your home—from porches to landscaping—and the placement of temporary supports as old foundation walls and slab floors are removed and new ones are poured. It is likely that incompetent soils or inadequate drainage caused your foundation damage—these won’t simply go away after foundation replacement. Thus, after your new foundation is cured, the issue that caused the foundation failure in the first place will still need to be addressed.
At AquaGuard Foundation Solutions, we have an extensive list of solutions that can both repair and strengthen your home’s foundation without the need of complete replacement. Our foundation repair methods strengthen and stabilize your foundation by addressing what caused the foundation cracks.
Call AquaGuard For Georgia Foundation Wall Crack Repair!
From foundation damage to water intrusion, cracks in your basement walls can present a number of concerns. At AquaGuard Foundation Solutions, we provide Atlanta homeowners with reliable, long-lasting foundation wall crack repair and basement waterproofing solutions. Call today to schedule your FREE foundation inspection, during which we will provide you with options for repair and a no-obligation written quote. To schedule your free quote, call or email us today!
We serve Atlanta, Marietta, Decatur, and surrounding areas such as Lawrenceville, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Athens, Gainesville, Roswell, and many areas nearby.
Foundation Crack FAQ
If concrete does one thing, it’s crack, so small foundation cracks are quite normal. However, even small foundation cracks can create the threat of water problems, so sealing them with polyurethane foam or installing a vapor barrier may be a good precaution. If the cracks in your walls are large horizontal, vertical, or stair-step cracks, or if they appear to be getting larger over time, call for a foundation inspection as soon as possible. These types of cracks are not normal and could be a sign of more serious structural damage.
Though there are several DIY foundation crack repair solutions that can fix cosmetic wall damage, there’s no way to address structural damage without hiring a foundation repair professional. If you’re unsure whether your foundation cracks require structural repair, call AquaGuard today. We offer free foundation inspections and no-obligation cost estimates.
To repair concrete floor cracks, depending on the cause of damage, we typically install slab piers. A specific type of push pier intended to repair concrete slabs, push piers provide the best opportunity to lift your slab back to level. In the process, trip hazards are eliminated and cosmetic concerns are alleviated. The holes that were used to install the slab piers are then filled and sealed, making the final installation virtually invisible.