What Causes Foundations to Start Cracking?

Posted on: 4 June 2018

Cracks in your home's foundations are pretty much always bad news. Although the urgency of the situation depends on the size of the cracks, precisely where they are and a few other factors, it's always best to get them repaired sooner rather than later, as they're only going to get worse over time.

Getting foundation cracks repairs doesn't guarantee they won't come back, however. In fact, since cracks don't just appear for no reason, unless you fix the underlying cause, it's likely to be a problem you deal with time and time again. To help you work out what's damaging your foundations, here are some of the common reasons for cracks appearing.

Excess water

Water is bad news for foundations, particularly when it collects in large amounts. It weakens concrete and other building materials, which can lead to cracking when your foundations get soaked regularly.

Another issue with water build-up is that it seeps into the soil. When this happens, the soil expands and slightly destabilises the foundations on top of it. It's not normally an issue every now and then when the soil dries out again, but constantly waterlogged soil is likely to lead to cracks.

There are two common sources of constant water around your foundations. The first is problems with the guttering. Gutters should direct water away from the base of your house, but when they're blocked or broken, they can fail to do this. The second common cause of excess water is leaking pipes in the structure of your home. This isn't always obvious from inside, so get the pipes checked if there seems to be water coming from somewhere and you can't work out where.

Excessive dryness

Just as water expands soil, it contracts when it becomes too dry. The most obvious reason for this is periods of drought, so if you're experiencing one, it may be worth watering the ground every so often.

A less intuitive reason, on the other hand, is the presence of large trees. Tree roots drain a lot of moisture from the soil, and they could be causing the ground to dry out and become too compacted, shifting under your foundations and making them crack.

Structural issues

If you've eliminated other possible causes, it may just be a fault with the structure of your building. This is difficult to detect unless you're a professional, so getting a surveyor to carry out an inspection might be the only way to get to the bottom of the problem and protect your foundations for the future. To learn more about your options, contact services that provide foundation crack repairs.

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