By Shawn Kyles
When a house settles, it can result in foundation cracks, including vertical cracks, diagonal cracks, and horizontal cracks. Cracking can also occur due to overload and drying shrinkage. Repairing foundation cracks will prevent them from spreading and help restore the structural integrity of your home. It will also minimize the potential for more serious foundation problems.
There are three basic methods of repairing foundation cracks: epoxy injections, strapping and underpinning.
The most common way to repair foundation cracks in concrete slabs and walls is to fill the crack with epoxy, a synthetic resin. Epoxy is known for its toughness, superior adhesion, low shrinkage and resistance to chemicals and water.
Before the epoxy is injected, the surface surrounding the crack needs to be prepared. This involves cleaning the area and removing any loose material with a chisel. After the crack has been filled, staples are placed across the crack for additional support and stabilization. Repairing the crack with epoxy will prevent it from increasing in size and prevent moisture from penetrating the concrete.
Foundation cracks can also be closed and prevented from moving by installing carbon-fiber Kevlar straps. These lightweight straps have considerable strength and are easy to work with. They are used along with epoxy injections to repair walls that have horizontal cracks. Horizontal cracking is usually an indicator of too much weight against the wall. This type of cracking is extremely serious because it can eventually lead to the wall’s collapse.
In addition to epoxy and strapping, underpinning may also be necessary to resolve foundation settlement and cracking problems. The purpose of underpinning is to increase the depth or width of the foundation so it can better support the structure’s weight. When a building is too heavy for its foundation, not only will the foundation crack, the walls of the structure can begin to bow. Underpinning distributes the weight of the structure more evenly and provides better support for the building.
Underpinning is also used for homes constructed on expansive soil, like clay. When clay gets wet it swells, and when it dries, it contracts. These moisture fluctuations lead to foundation settlement, cracks and other types of foundation issues.
If your foundation has cracks, the best way to determine what type of repair is needed is to consult a foundation expert. A professional will inspect your home to determine what is causing the cracking, and recommend the best method of correcting the situation.
About Julian Construction
Julian Construction owns its own company and is built on a “no middlemen” model – no salesmen, no subcontractors. When you work with Julian Construction you get the principals of the company and workers of Julian Construction under your home. The result is the highest quality work at affordable prices. They can be contacted by phone at 323 733-3377, by fax at 323 733-4477 or via their website, www.julianconstruction.com. You can see tips and advice about home foundations on their blog, at http://julianconstruction.typepad.com.