Home Improvement

What Causes Foundation Cracks?

Photo of a crack in the driveway

All concrete will crack… eventually.

Your home is susceptible to a wet basement any time of the year. This can lead to mold growth, which is harmful to yours and your family’s health; and can even lead to structural damage of your home.

Foundation cracks are the culprit of a flooded basement because ground water seeps through the gaps, and the longer it is left un-repaired, the wider they will spread. But what causes these foundation cracks?

1. Tree Roots

The roots that meander from trees can be surprisingly strong if it’s old. The roots are so strong that roots growing along the foundation wall and dig under, thus lifting and bending the wall. That’s why you must ensure the trees on your property are at a safe distance from the home.

2. Poor Construction

When your home’s foundation was poured, it required testing and compacting of the soil, as well as designing the footing to support the house. If any of these steps were skipped or the crew used low-quality materials, then your home has always been at risk. The only way to correct this is exterior basement waterproofing.

3. The ‘Thaw’

As winter turns to spring, your foundation is vulnerable to increased surface water from storms and snowmelt. The foundation can also literally thaw after a long, cold winter and a rapid rising of temperature in the spring, since concrete freezes at -8 C and thaws at 1 C.

4. Too Much Moisture

Elevated levels of moisture in the soil on your property can cause the land to swell and expand, which increases pressure on the foundation wall – leading to cracks. Excess water is caused by pooling rainwater, poor draining or poor irrigation. To prevent excess water from forming, make sure your gutters are not blocked by leaves, sticks and other debris. Also, ensure the spout is facing away from your home.

5. Not Enough Moisture

If your region is prone to long periods without rain, the soil around your home will shrink. This creates a gap between the foundation and the soil, which can cause the walls to shift and result in cracks. However, this is most common in clay soil. If you’re not sure the type of soil your home sits on, call a soil engineer to conduct a quick test.

Now that you know what causes foundation cracks, understand that there are options for you to permanently solve foundation cracks and any leaks that they might allow.

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About the author

Tre Pryor, Editor-in-Chief

Tre Pryor is the recognized expert Louisville Realtor who can:
  • List and sell your current home in Louisville,
  • Help you purchase your next Louisville home, or
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