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FOUNDATIONAL CRACK DIAGNOSTICS
Many basements have structural problems. The repair of these defects takes a professional to recognize and diagnose the multitudes of problems that can occur in basements. Foundation failures can include cracks, movement, leaning, bulging or bowing. Only a professional can decide which course of action is best to repair the particular defect(s). An on-site inspection has to be done in order to form a reliable opinion to the condition of that building’s foundation. Anyone having concerns regarding the structural stability and safety of a building foundation should not hesitate to contact WaterproofingOne.com as a qualified expert in the assessment and repair of foundations.
EVALUATION OF BUILDING FOUNDATIONS
There are several categories of foundation cracks, which are signs of foundation damage and can mean very different things depending on the material from which a foundation is made. The location, size and shape of the foundation crack is meaningful. Most foundation problems arise from the following:
- MOVEMENT: The building settling or moving?
- MATERIAL FAILURE: Are the building materials failing or crumbling?
- WATER DAMAGE: Most basement structural failures are due to water infiltration.
By knowing the probable cause and history of foundation cracking or movement can distinguish between continuing movement and a single event. The locations, shape, pattern or frequency of cracks or fractures in the walls and floor as well as the length, width, age and site conditions will often tell the story.
Shrinkage cracks are usually uniform in width and sometimes wider at the top and diminish or stop before reaching the bottom of the foundation wall where the footing tends to hold foundation wall materials in place.
Structural cracks: A wall crack that continues into the floor is likely to involve the building footings and may be a settlement crack, which threatens the structural integrity of the building. These cracks need to be addressed in a timely fashion.
Poured concrete foundation walls shrink as they cure. The shrinkage may be non-uniform if wall components are held by footings. Very often there are minor shrinkage cracks, which are hairline, random and meandering in the concrete, forming discontinuous cracks in the wall.
Concrete block foundation walls They rarely expand much on exposure to moisture and temperature variations. In concrete block walls shrinkage cracks are likely to be uniform in width and usually occur towards the center of a concrete masonry unit (CMU) wall. The wall is stronger at the building corners.
Brick walls do not normally shrink and are not often used for below-grade foundations. If there is a crack in a brick wall it’s more likely due to movement in the structure and have a support problem. Cracks in structural brick wall may be very serious. There may be a risk of sudden and catastrophic wall collapse. Cracks and/or bulging cracked brick walls need immediate expert investigation.
Stone foundation walls do not normally crack but may bulge and crack due to damage from frost, or by the removal of stones to pass piping or make doorways. As with other cases of foundation movement, a diagnosis of the cause, amount of movement, and effects on structure are needed to decide what repair may be needed.
Carbon fiber straps are applications used on walls to either secure cracks, or to fix a bowing wall. These straps can be crucial to securing and upholding the structural integrity of a basement wall.
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Pa Lic#: Pa057647
NJ Lic#: 13VH09291700
DE Lic#: 17-92051-13-000