If there is one thing that a homeowner never wants to see on their walls, it is a crack. It is even worse when you notice a crack in your foundation wall. This is often a sign of some sort of failure in your foundation wall. While some cracks may be superficial and result from natural movement and drying processes, others are structural and indicate a much deeper problem.
The type of cracks that have appeared on your foundation walls can tell you a lot about the condition of the basement wall. It is therefore important to study the crack before you panic.
These cracks usually occur on masonry foundation walls. This is because the points at which the blocks are bonded using mortar are usually the weakest points in the foundation. They are therefore the first points along which the foundation will show signs of failure.
The cracks give a stair step appearance because of the nature of block foundations. The bricks or blocks are arranged in a staggered pattern. This pattern is what gives the wall its strength. When cracks occur in the wall, they follow the points of weakness in the foundation wall.
What Causes the Cracks?
If you have step cracks in your foundation walls, you’re probably dealing with foundation failure. This occurs when a large amount of pressure from the soil is exerted on the foundation wall. If the wall is greater than the resistance the wall offers, the wall will bulge into the basement resulting in the formation of cracks.
In some cases, the soil outside the foundation wall may not provide adequate support for the wall. The foundation wall in this case will bulge outward. Cracks will still occur in this case.
What to Do
If the cracks are an indication of foundation wall failure, should you panic? No. You should get in touch with a foundation repair specialist. They can assess your foundation wall and provide you with proposals on how the wall can be repaired.
There are two factors to keep at the forefront of your mind as you search for a contractor:
Don’t hire just any contractor. Choose a contractor with experience repairing masonry walls. This will ensure that you get great results from the repair.
Long term results
When presented with proposals by different contractors, research the methods suggested. Go for a solution that offers long term results.