If you are seeing some cracks on your walls, there is
no need to panic. This can have no significance at
all. However, there are some that can signify that you
are experiencing a big structural defect. If this is
the case, then you would have to do the appropriate
action for the case. This is why proper evaluation
should be done.
Noticing The Problem
Most often, cracked foundation walls are given
attention when a property is being sold in the market.
Even though the owner would insist that the cracked
wall has been like that "forever", the buyer has a
tendency to become concerned about the situation.
Whether you are a buyer, seller, or some one who is
simply concerned about their wall, here are some
important points on evaluating your wall if it needs
repair or not.
Causes And Factors Of Wall Cracking
Foundation walls that are built using concrete blocks
are much predisposed to having cracks than solid
concrete walls. This is especially true if an 8-inch
block was used for the block wall.
Of course, foundation walls should support a
building’s the vertical weight. Plus, if its around a
full basement, it should be able to resist lateral or
inward pressure from the soil outside that are against
the wall. If water saturates the back fill or soil,
then the inward pressure could easily overload your
block wall, which can result into cracks.
Additionally, roots of large and moderate sized trees
that are near your foundation wall can also cause you
major wall problems. Most of the time, roots grow
toward your walls due to the water accumulation along
Seeing The Signs
Horizontal cracks on mortar joints are usually caused
by too much inward pressure against its block
foundation. If you see a horizontal crack that is
about high as half of the wall, then this can be one
sign of too much lateral pressure from the soil.
Sometimes, you may also find some step cracks or short
and small horizontal and vertical cracks near the end
of a wall. This too is a variation of soil pressure
When To Be Alarmed
Usually, block foundation walls can remain cracked for
about a number of years without any noticeable
cracking additions or inward bulging. But, the moment
you get a horizontal crack, your wall’s structural
integrity is very much reduced. Additionally, if the
soil back fill is saturated, especially during rainy
days, the number of cracks could increase or, worse
comes to worst; your wall foundation can collapse.
Problems like these are possible to be permanently
repaired. In fact, there are methods in which you do
not need to have a complete replacement, provided that
the inward movement doesn’t exceed one inch in
relation to the bottom of the wall. You can usually
find the maximum inward deflection where the
horizontal crack is and near its mid-height.
One method you can do is bracing your wall with
reinforced block piers or steel post-braces. However,
if you are concerned with the cost, you may want to go
for steel post-braces since they are less expensive
than the other. However, if it is the overall look you
are after, then you may want to use piers since they
can give a better finished appearance.
It might be needed to call in an expert in this field
but this gives you what you need to know to evaluate
the condition to know when the expert if needed.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"