Foundation Cracks, Structural Concern or No?
Is my concrete cracking structural?
Asking if foundation cracks are structural is common. Miller and Co is a leader in structural concrete crack repair. In our eyes, if the structure has deviated from its original design then it is structurally defective. Shrinkage cracks are common in all concrete and often ignored, but lead to leaking if not waterproofed.
The foundation is not designed to crack. Cracked foundations are prone to leaking, unless there is footing to frame elastic waterproofing that is UV resistant and has appropriate drainage. In cracked concrete foundations, moisture levels on the interior are likely higher than elsewhere and prone to moisture related hazards.
When choosing the best way to waterproof cracked concrete, why not go with a structural repair?
How do structural cracks occur in concrete?
Structural wall damage can occur no matter how careful and diligent a builder or home owner is. The majority of the time this is caused by soil conditions, compaction and settling. Sometimes it is earthquakes, vibrations from nearby construction, or heavy equipment damage.
Other factors to consider are the materials used in the construction of the wall. Concrete strength and internal steel reinforcing can change with each project. The incorrect combination of concrete strength and internal reinforcing will create a weak wall prone to cracks. The longevity and durability of the materials used plays a vital role in the maintenance of structural wall integrity.
Key indicators you have structural cracking;
- Musty smells, moisture or leaking.
- Cracks are V shaped, diagonal or located at corners of a structure.
- Displacement of the structure, cracking has shifted a wall out of plane.
- Cracks occur in higher frequency in a certain area.
- Opening have weakened the foundation causing cracking, common in window wells.
- Doors or windows have shifted from their original positions.
How to know if a concrete wall crack needs to be repaired?
- Cracks that are ignored only get worse, and not better.
- Cost of materials and labour historically only rise making the best time to perform a repair, now.
- Water leaks can happen at anytime due to unpredictable causes, open cracks are the leading cause of moisture ingress in a concrete wall.
- Addressing wall defects in a timely manner is crucial because neglecting the issue can result in leaks. Leaking concrete causes hazardous conditions due to mold and rot.
- Once you observe cracks in your foundation, the sooner it is fixed the better.
Structural Concrete Crack Repair Methods
Luckily, there are several effective and economical solutions to perform structural concrete crack repairs that we recommend;
Epoxy injection fills cracks and provides an permanent repair solution, in fact, it is the best solution to this problem. This is done in conjunction with other repairs and waterproofing for a complete solution.
While epoxy injection is incredibly effective, it also requires a high level of expertise to properly remedy the issue. Always consult a professional with the proper certifications and equipment. The best epoxy injection material is often stocked by only a few local contractors.
Larger cracks typically require stitching to effectively add to internal reinforcing strength. Adding strength is a great solution to prevent any future concrete separation in the effected area. Stiches are pre-engineered carbon fiber permanently bonded into the wall using structural epoxy.