Cracks can appear in your home's concrete foundation for a number of reasons. From your home settling over time to contraction from changes in temperature, these cracks are normal as the building ages. Some small cracks can be repaired as a DIY project, while others require the help of a concrete contractor. Here are a few ways to tell when you need to call an expert to repair your foundation.
How Wide Is The Crack?
Hairline cracks in your foundation can be repaired with a simple concrete foundation crack repair kit you can buy at any home improvement store. Wider cracks should be inspected by a contractor, as they could be a sign of a larger problem. You should not ignore a crack in the foundation of any size, as it can get wider with time. These cracks can allow water to enter your home, which can result in water damage and mold growth.
What Direction Does The Crack Run?
Typically, cracks that look like stairs growing up your walls can signal settlement in your foundation. Vertical cracks may be a sign that your foundation is dropping or heaving. While you may be able to temporarily repair the crack in either case, the problem will persist until the root cause of your foundation problem is addressed. Your concrete contractor or a structural engineer can help you to come up with a plan of action for repairing the foundation, which will prevent further cracks. The contractor will also repair any existing cracks to prevent water from entering your home.
Are Your Gutters And Downspouts Properly Placed?
Gutters and downspouts that direct water toward the home can cause cracks in the foundation. The prolonged exposure to water and the subsequent drying out of the water can cause stress on your foundation. If you notice small cracks and diagnose the issue as coming from your downspouts, you can repair the cracks and redirect your drainage system. Since this issue is not a direct result of foundation failure, you won't need to call in a contractor unless the cracks are too large for you to fill on your own.
If you are unsure about whether or not you should repair a crack in your foundation on your own, reach out to a licensed concrete contractor. When it comes to the structural integrity of your home, you are always better off playing it safe. Show the contractor all the cracks you've located in your home, not just those in the basement or on the foundation itself, to help properly diagnose the problem.