One of the most important inspections you can do to the outside of your home is to check the foundation. Your home's foundation is vital to preserving the integrity of the structure, so you need to be sure that it's intact. When it comes to foundation damage, it's important to differentiate between foundation cracks that are no big deal and ones you need to worry about. Here's a look at some of the smaller cracks you might see and what you need to do to deal with them.
Types of Small Cracks
Small foundation cracks, often called hairline cracks, are thin cracks that have very little space from edge to edge. Hairline cracks can be any length, but they must be very narrow in width. In order to deal with these cracks properly, you'll need to be able to identify the cause. Once you've narrowed down what's caused the crack, you can properly address it and prevent it from worsening.
Any time the soil around the edge of the foundation dries out, it can cause the appearance of small fractures in the concrete foundation. When you see hairline cracks appear in the concrete, you'll want to check the soil around the base of the house. If the soil is dry, you can easily rehydrate it by placing water hoses around the perimeter of the house. Turn the water on so that it dribbles slowly, gradually adding moisture to the ground around the house. This will rehydrate it progressively so that the soil doesn't flood.
The goal of this rehydration process is to add enough water to the soil that it starts to expand back around the foundation. This may apply enough along the foundation that it pushes the crack closed if it's thin enough. If your soil is drying out repeatedly, take a look at the foliage around the area. You might have some water-loving bushes or plants that are drawing all of the water away. If so, install a root shield around the foundation or remove the greenery.
When water accumulates heavily in the soil around the house, it can cause the foundation to start shifting. As this shifting occurs it can lead to cracks because the concrete, which is solid, is moving. These saturation cracks will ultimately lead to a flooded basement if they are not addressed before they expand through the foundation.
You can help keep this at bay by installing gutters that will route all of the water flow away from the foundation. In some cases, the new gutters won't fix the problem. In those instances, you'll need to talk with a foundation repair specialist about installing a French drain around the perimeter of your house. This is an underground drain structure that will cycle water away from the house.
Once the cement is dry, you can treat the foundation with a waterproof sealant to help protect it further from water saturation.
As you can see, thin cracks can be dealt with easily without needing to replace or extensively repair the foundation. To learn more, contact Ramco Foundation Repairs Edmonton.