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 someone 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 vertical weight. Plus, if it's around a full basement, it should be able to resist lateral or inward pressure from the soil outside that is against the wall. If water saturates the backfill or soil, then the inward pressure could easily overload your block wall, which can result in 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 it.
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 cracks.
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 backfill 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.