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Why Do Foundations Crack?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 by Betsy Rathburn

A damaged foundation can cause some serious problems for your home. They can make your windows and doors difficult to open, cause your basement to flood, compromise your home’s resale value, and cause a lot of headaches. Without intervention, these problems will only get worse. There are two ways to approach a foundation problem: either repair whatever damage the problem has caused and hope it doesn’t happen again, or fix the problem at its source. Obviously, the second option is the way to go, so it’s important to know the most common reasons why foundations crack in the first place – and what to do about it.

Wall Crack

Why They Crack
Not Enough Support
Sometimes foundation walls bow inward when there isn’t anything counteracting the pressure being put on the wall from the outside. Bowing walls compromise the home’s structural integrity, and they could one day lead to total collapse. They’re fairly easy to diagnose: just look for horizontal cracks in your foundation wall.

Heaving occurs when soil absorbs water and expands toward the foundation wall. Much like other instances where foundation walls aren’t supported enough from the inside, heaving causes walls to bow inward over time. The difference is that heaving impacts block foundation walls.

Homes in states like Minnesota and North Dakota are particularly vulnerable to soil heaving. The soils in these areas are rich with clay, which absorbs water easily. Without correcting the problem, it only gets worse. Fortunately, heaving is easy to diagnose. In homes with block foundations, gaps will form between the blocks, creating a “staircase” pattern that is easily detectable without any special tools or knowledge.

This problem is the opposite of heaving. Instead of expanding, soils shrink. Foundations settle when dry soil shrinks away from the foundation, leaving it exposed to the elements and more prone to shifting. Settling can cause water problems as well as foundation problems, so it’s important to figure out a solution right away.

Luckily, settling is also fairly easy to diagnose. Causing vertical cracks to form in drywall even in the above ground levels of the home, uneven floors, and hard-to-open doors and windows, foundation settling is fairly obvious to attentive homeowners.

Construction Problems
Unfortunately not all contractors put as much care into completing their jobs correctly as Innovative Basement Authority, and sometimes foundations suffer for it. When materials aren’t correctly installed – or they just aren’t the right materials to use for the job – things inevitably go wrong somewhere down the line.

What to Do
The best way to repair your foundation – whether it’s settling, heaving, bowing, or just wasn’t constructed properly – is to contact an expert with the knowledge and tools needed to get the job done right. Innovative Basement Authority understands the need for homeowners to protect their biggest investment, so we have many solutions designed to fit your home’s specific needs.

We offer several different piering options to lift settled foundations, wall anchors and our IntelliBrace system to repair bowing walls. Whatever your needs, our team of specialists will be there to answer questions, make recommendations, and support your foundation repair project.

If you’ve noticed wall cracks, bowing or crumbling walls, or especially wet or dry soil around your home, now is the time to take action. Call Innovative Basement Authority today or fill out our online form to start taking care of your biggest investment.

Service Area Locations

Innovative Basement Authority
1330 41st St N
Fargo, ND 58102

Innovative Basement Authority
1325 S Frandsen Ave
Rush City, MN 55069

Innovative Basement Authority
760 East Pearl Street
Kasota, MN 56050
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Bismarck - Mandan Home Builders Association
Builders Association of the Twin Cities
Central Minnesota Builders Association
Dickinson Area Builders Association
Duluth Builders Exchange
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Forx Builders Association
Mid-Minnesota Builders Association
Minot Association of Builders
MN Associated Builders & Contractors
MN Erosion Control & Storm Water Management (MECA)
Northern MN Builders Association
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Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce
Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce
Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce
Rush City Area Chamber of Commerce
EPA Lead-Safe Certification