Cracks in Your Crawlspace: When are They a Problem?
A crawlspace is an essential component of any home, providing access to utilities and insulation while also providing a foundation for the structure above. But as with any structural element, it can suffer from problems over time, including foundation cracks. These cracks can range from small, harmless hairline fractures to large, concerning splits that threaten the integrity of the entire structure. In this blog post, we will explore what causes foundation cracks in crawl space, when they are problematic and how we at Your Crawl Space Guys can help you fix them.
Causes of Foundation Cracks in Crawl Space
There are several different factors that can contribute to the formation of foundation cracks in your crawl space. Some of the most common causes include:
Bad Soil Conditions
The soil under your home can be a significant contributor to the formation of foundation cracks. If the soil is poorly compacted, contains a lot of clay or silt, or experiences significant changes in moisture content, it can shift, settle, or expand and contract, which can cause the foundation to crack.
Water is another common cause of foundation cracks, and one of your foundation’s biggest enemies. Water usually causes cracks in a foundation when there is a leak or your foundation is not sealed properly. The water seeps into the soil and as the soil expands and contracts, pressure is being applied to your foundation, resulting in shifting and cracking.
If the foundation was not constructed properly or the soil was not properly prepared before construction, foundation cracks can occur. Inadequate reinforcement or incorrect placement of rebar can cause the foundation to crack, as can using the wrong type of concrete mix.
Trees can be a significant threat to a home’s foundation, as their roots can grow underneath the structure and cause the soil to shift and settle. This can create pressure on the foundation, leading to cracks.
When are Foundation Cracks in a Crawl Space Problematic?
Not all foundation cracks are problematic. Some are merely cosmetic and do not indicate any significant issues with the structure. However, other cracks can be a sign of more significant problems and may require immediate attention. Some of the signs that a foundation crack in your crawlspace is problematic include:
If the crack is more than 1/4 inch wide, it may indicate a more significant problem with the foundation. Larger cracks can allow water to seep into the foundation and weaken the structure, leading to more severe damage over time.
A cracks location is another indicator for problem or no problem. Cracks in the center of the foundation can indicate that there is settlement or shifting of the entire structure happening. Cracks that are located near the edges however, are typically less serious and usually caused by minor settling, but should be monitored.
The cracks direction is another problem indicator. Horizontal cracks often indicate that there is bowing or the foundation is being pushed from the outside, indicating a more serious problem.
Other Signs of Damage
If you notice other signs of damage in your crawlspace or home, such as sagging floors, doors that won’t close properly, or cracks in the walls or ceiling, it may indicate a more significant problem with the foundation.
If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to have your foundation inspected by a professional. At Your Crawl Space Guys, we can evaluate the damage in your foundation and recommend the appropriate repair method of the foundation to prevent further damage to the structure.
Repairing Foundation Cracks in Your Crawl Space
If your foundation cracks in the crawlspace are problematic, they will need to be repaired to prevent further damage to the structure. At Your Crawl Space Guys, we typically use two different repair methods to repair foundation cracks: Epoxy Injection and Shotcrete.
At Your Crawl Space Guys, one repair method we use for cracks is Epoxy injections and steel straps. With epoxy injections, we are injecting epoxy into the cracks, which is what seals the crack, once it solidifies. This crack repair method is effective for small, hairline cracks and can prevent them from becoming larger and more serious. This is a very common, reliable and cost effective method for repairing cracks in your foundation.
If your cracks are caused by settling, we may also need to level out your crawlspace. When leveling, we raise the crawlspace and level the foundation so that it is even and more structurally sound.
Shotcrete can be an effective way to repair foundation cracks in a crawlspace. Shotcrete is a construction technique, and involves spraying a cement mixture onto the crawlspace foundation at a high velocity through a hose. We typically reinforce the foundation with a steel framework (rebar) and apply the shotcrete to strengthen the foundation. This repair method is guaranteed to last for years to come and make your foundation stronger than it’s ever been.
Shotcrete however, is not a solution for all crawlspace foundation cracks. Other methods such as the epoxy method may be a better fit or vice versa, depending on the severity and cause of the crack(s). This is why an assessment is so important, so we can figure out the best repair solution for cracks in your crawl space foundation.
Preventing Foundation Cracks in Crawl Space
While foundation cracks in crawl space can be repaired, preventing them in the first place is always the best option. Some tips for preventing foundation cracks include:
Ensure that your home’s drainage system is properly installed and functioning correctly. This will prevent water from pooling around the foundation and causing soil erosion, which can lead to foundation cracks.
Maintain a Consistent Moisture Level
Keep the soil around the foundation at a consistent moisture level by using proper irrigation techniques and repairing any leaks in the crawlspace. This will prevent the soil from swelling and shrinking, which can cause the foundation to shift and crack.
Regularly inspect your foundation for cracks and other signs of damage. Early detection can prevent more severe damage and expensive repairs down the road.
Ensure that your foundation is properly constructed by hiring a professional contractor, such as Your Crawl Space Guys. Foundation work is very serious and should not be done by a non-professional or diy. Hiring a contractor will ensure that the foundation is built to code and is designed to withstand the specific soil and weather conditions in your area.
Foundation cracks in your crawl space can be a cause for concern, but not all cracks are problematic. By understanding the causes of foundation cracks and the signs of significant damage, you can take steps to prevent damage and ensure that your home is structurally sound. If you notice any signs of foundation cracks, contact Your Crawl Space Guys. We will assess your foundation and tell you what the best plan of action for repair is and make the repairs. Having your crawl space professionally inspected is essential to prevent further damage and ensure your home is safe.