Foundation Cracks: Causes and Solutions
Any time of the year, a wet basement is possible and the problems that come with it: water damage and mould. Basement leaks are usually caused by cracks in your home’s foundation which allows water to seep into your house. But what exactly causes foundation cracks? How can you prevent and fix foundation cracks?
Too Much Moisture
An excess of moisture in the soil around your home’s foundation can cause the soil to swell and expand, increasing the pressure on the foundation and causing it to crack. A plumbing leak near the foundation is sometimes responsible for high moisture levels; large amounts of surface water collecting near the foundation is also a common culprit.
Excess surface water is often caused by poor drainage, pooling rainwater, or irrigation. Prevent a buildup of surface water by ensuring your roof runoff does not deposit a large amount of water near your foundation. Also, keep your gutters clean so rainwater can be properly routed away from your home.
Not Enough Moisture
In dry weather conditions, the soil around your home’s foundation can shrink. This creates a gap between the foundation and the surrounding. This means foundation has room to shift and leads to cracking. Any back and forth of expanding wet soil and shrinking dry soil can cause pressure that your home’s foundation cannot handle. This usually occurs in clay soil. If you’re not sure what type of soil surrounds your home’s foundation, have a soil engineer test it. It’s best to have your foundation rest on soil that moves as little as possible in dry conditions.
If your home has poor plumbing, then rainwater is not the biggest threat to your foundation. That’s why you need to ensure your pipes are secure and not leaking.
Pouring your home’s foundation first requires testing and compacting the soil, then designing the appropriate footing to support the home. If any of these steps are skipped or if low-quality materials are used, your home will be at risk of foundation cracks.
Tree roots are surprisingly strong and can easily cause foundation cracks. Tree roots make their way through the soil as they grow and eventually find their way under your foundation which can cause it to lift then bend and crack. Your only solution is make sure any trees on your property are at a safe distance from your home’s exterior.
In springtime, your home’s foundation is especially vulnerable to cracking due to excess surface water caused by snow melt. Clear any snow near your home’s foundation, especially after a snow storm. Foundation cracks may also form when the temperature rapidly rises. Concrete freezes at about -8 degrees Celsius and thaws out at about 1 degree, which is when cracks are likely to form.
Found cracks in your home’s foundation? Dealing with a wet basement? The professionals at City Wide Group can help prevent and repair foundation cracks. Give us a call today at 416-283-5500 for a free estimate or fill out our form here.