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.
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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. Curing Concrete
As concrete cures, it is common for small cracks to appear in foundation walls. These cracks are very common, and they’re not a sign of major foundation problems. Shrinkage cracks tend to be very small hairline cracks that are usually 1/16” wide or less. They generally occur near the center of a span and maintain a consistent width for the length of the crack.
A Word of Warning: Be careful not to assume that a crack in your foundation is merely a shrinkage crack! If you see cracks in your foundation walls, monitor them regularly. If the cracks widen enough that you can fit a dime in them, or one end of the crack grows wider than the other, you should consult a foundation contractor right away.
2. Foundation Settlement
When the soils underneath your foundation fail to support the weight of your home, the foundation will begin to settle unevenly, and cracks will appear. As vertical cracks form and the wall or corner of the house begins to rotate, you will typically see cracks that are wider at the top or bottom.
Foundation cracks that are caused by settlement are very serious, and they will only get worse over time as the home continues to move. If you are concerned that your foundation may be cracking due to settlement issues, it’s best to consult a professional right away.
3. Expansive Soils
If you have clay soils around your home, they can expand and contract significantly as they become wet and dry again. Wet clay soils can expand enough to put literally thousands of pounds of pressure on a foundation wall. This can force the walls inwards, sometimes causing them to buckle and crack. Look also for walls pushing in at the bottom or tilting in at the top.
If left unrepaired, this kind of damage can worsen until the wall fails completely or is beyond repair. By addressing the problem of failing walls quickly, repairs can be completed in as little as a day.
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:
- Push Piers stabilize foundations by transferring the weight of the home deep beneath the foundation, reaching bedrock or competent strata below.
- Helical Piers are another excellent way to stabilize foundations when there is sufficient knowledge of local soil conditions. They are advanced into the soils underneath the foundation via a helical blade.
Wall Anchor Systems
If your foundation walls are failing due to expansive soils, a wall anchors 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 PowerBrace™ Wall Repair System or CarbonArmor 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
Many contractors will try to earn your business by suggesting a cheap solution that they know will not permanently solve your problem. Solutions that hide your issues, such as painting over drywall cracks or tuckpointing cracks in brick, are merely short-term solutions. If the cause of the problem is not addressed, the cracks will soon reappear, and more covering up and patching will be needed.
Additionally, attempts to seal drywall or mortar cracks are easy to identify, due to variances in the finish or workmanship. When tuckpointing a brick veneer, it’s especially difficult to match original mortar colors. And if you decide to properly repair your foundation later, these “patches” may need to be removed before the repair can properly restore your walls. So in the end, you’re not hiding anything! Plus, you have to disclose the problem if you ever plan to sell your house. It’s far more efficient and cost-effective in the long run to fix your foundation problem right, the first time.
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!
No matter what kind of problems you’re experiencing with your foundation walls, our in-house team of foundation experts are here to help. At AquaGuard Foundation Solutions, we repair foundations throughout Georgia every day.
We’d like to offer you a free, no-obligation foundation wall repair quote to help you decide what repair solution is best for your home. Each of our free quotes comes at no obligation and includes an on-site inspection, a personal consultation, and a written estimate.
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.