foundation crack causes concrete

Foundation Crack Causes, Meanings and Concrete Impact

There are a few “central” areas of most properties when it comes to concrete surfaces, and the most well-known in most cases is the foundation of the home or building. These are typically made of concrete and related materials, and also connect to other important concrete surfaces like driveways, garage floors and more — in many ways, concrete surface and foundations are all part of the same broad system.

At Lift-Up Concrete Lifting, LLC, we’re happy to offer concrete repairs for any concrete surface on your property, including driveway lifting and leveling plus services for patios, porches, garage floors and many other areas. When it comes to the foundation, one of the more common issues that no property owner wants to see is cracks in this area. How can these cracks come about, and how can you tell if they’re serious and threatening both the foundation itself and possibly other concrete surfaces? Here’s a simple primer.

Possible Cause of Foundation Cracks

There are a few different reasons why you may be seeing cracks in your foundation:

  • Moisture seepage: One of the most common causes of cracks in concrete is moisture seepage. This can come about due to a few different reasons, including improper drainage around the property, hydrostatic pressure and more. If you see any sign of moisture seepage in or around your foundation, it’s important to take action quickly to mitigate this before cracks have a chance to form.
  • Settling: Another common reason for foundation cracks is settling, which can occur as part of the natural aging process for a home or building. This can also be amplified by poor compaction of the soil around the foundation when it was originally built.
  • Shrinking: Cracks can also occur due to shrinking, which is again related to the natural aging process of concrete. As concrete dries and cures, it will slowly shrink — in some cases, this may cause cracks to form.
  • Temperature changes: Temperature changes can also cause foundation cracks. This is often due to thermal expansion and contraction, which occurs as the temperature outside fluctuates. If you live in an area with large temperature swings, this may be more likely.
  • Tree roots: Finally, tree roots may also be responsible for foundation cracks. As tree roots grow and expand, they can put pressure on the concrete and cause it to crack.

Signs of a Serious Crack

Now that you know some of the potential causes of foundation cracks, how can you tell if the crack is serious? First and foremost here is the size of the crack — a small, hairline crack is usually not something to worry about, but a large or gaping crack may be cause for concern.

In addition, you should also take note of the direction of the crack. If it runs vertically, this is generally not as serious as a horizontal or diagonal crack. This is because vertical cracks are often due to settling or shrinking, while horizontal and diagonal cracks may be indicative of more serious issues like moisture seepage.

Finally, you should also look at the location of the crack. If it’s in an area where there is a lot of stress on the foundation — such as near a support column — this may be cause for more concern than a crack in a less stressed area.

If you see any cracks in your foundation, it’s important to have them evaluated by a professional as soon as possible to determine if they are serious and what, if any, repairs may be needed. We’re happy to help at Lift-Up Concrete Lifting, LLC — simply contact us at your nearest convenience!