Finding cracks in the foundation of your Orlando, FL, home can be a startling discovery. Unfortunately, cracks can occur even after you’ve diligently performed all foundation maintenance and damage prevention measures.
When it comes to foundation cracks, the most important thing is to take care of the issues as soon as possible. Understanding what is causing the cracks in your foundation will help you devise the best possible repair to prevent further damage to your property.
What Causes Foundation Cracks?
Let’s look at why cracks are appearing on your home’s foundation.
Foundation Sinking or Settling
Houses of any age tend to move and shift subtly over time, and the weakest points in a wall are most likely to crack. Cracks caused by settling are usually wider at the bottom and continue to increase in length and width. These cracks are more likely to occur shortly after construction and can be the site of water infiltration.
Heave causes the soil underneath your foundation to shift. As a result, it forces parts of the floor up, while others stay put. This disparity can lead to problems with uneven floors and cracking.
The type of soil your foundation is set on can cause cracks. Expansive clay soils, for instance, change volume when its content moisture changes. This soil shrinks in the dry summer and fall creating space for the foundation to settle into the ground.
By contrast, the soil expands when the moisture returns during the wetter seasons due to higher quantities of rain. This expansion causes the upheaval of soil, which pushes the foundation up. This type of differential movement can cause foundation cracks.
Broken or Leaking Water Pipes
Since the drain side of your plumbing—the exit from toilets, tubs, and sinks to the sewer—is not metered, it can leak for years without detection. This water can sometimes cause the soil under the slab to erode, creating voids in the ground. The water can also expand the soil to the point that it raises the home above its intended level. This rise and fall of your house can cause cracking on your foundation.
Poor construction design and workmanship can cause cracks to appear in your foundation. Contractors that take too many shortcuts to complete building a house fast compromise the stability of its structure. These contractors may fail to compact the soil on which your property was built, resulting in premature settling, or failing to install proper drainage, leading to soil erosion. As long as the ground stays unstable, the foundation walls will eventually crack.
Blocked gutters, garden sprinklers, flood damage, and leaking pipes can all cause excess water within the grounds of a property. This water leads to the weakening of the ground, which forces the structure to subside creating cracks in the wall.
Trees Near Your Property
Trees usually have invasive root structures that can also contribute to foundation cracks. As a homeowner, you should ensure you do not have anything other than small shrubs or bushes near your property. Other than their destructive roots, trees also cause wall cracking by taking away water from the soil and disturbing the soil’s moisture content.
Are the Cracks in My Foundation Serious?
Homeowners should treat cracks in the foundation as a matter of urgency. Some cracks, especially those accompanied by popping nails and screws or leaning or bowing walls pose serious safety risks to your household. They could be signaling the imminent collapse of the wall. Homeowners in Orlando, FL, are advised to seek the services of a qualified foundation expert to determine the severity of the cracks in their foundations and advise you on the best repair method.
Concerned about the cracks in your foundation? Contact the experts at Florida Foundation Authority to schedule a free foundation inspection and repair quote.