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Top Causes of Foundation Cracks on a House

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Foundation cracks can happen on any home, at any time, and for any number of reasons. At Alpha Foundations, we can quickly identify the cause of the crack and apply the appropriate repair. For homes in Florida and Southern Georgia, the following are the most common reasons foundations crack.

1) Poorly Constructed Foundation

Maybe the builder was in a hurry, or they used substandard concrete and building materials to save money. When details are overlooked, or low-quality materials are used, foundation cracks are bound to emerge. Other construction-related causes include poor engineering and failure to properly size the foundation for the load it was required to carry.

2) Poor Soil

If the soil beneath the foundation isn’t solid and properly compacted, it won’t have the strength to bear the structure’s weight. As the soil erodes, settles, compacts, etc., it will cause cracks to form.

3) Weather

It can get wet in Florida and Georgia, and the water that seeps beneath the foundation can erode the soil beneath the structure. Other weather-related causes in the region include extreme heat and sun. As the air heats up, it can cause concrete to expand during the day as it bakes beneath the sun. When the sun sets and the concrete cools as the temperature drops, the concrete will shrink. This cycle can stress the concrete and cause it to form foundation cracks.

4) Floods

Whether it is an overflowing river, hurricane, or other event, flooding can cause significant damage to foundations. As the soil becomes waterlogged, it can lose its ability to support the structure; this is exacerbated by the additional weight of the water within flooded basements.

5) Plumbing Problems

Leaks from sewers and drains can cause the foundation to shift. This is one reason why plumbers strongly recommend monitoring plumbing systems for signs of leaks and failures.

6) Trees

As trees grow up, their roots grow down. As the roots grow below the foundation, they will consume the moisture in the soil that helps keep it stable. As the soil is destabilized through this process of transpiration, the soil can lose its ability to support the structure. In some cases, if a tree root finds its way into an existing crack, it can enlarge the crack and spread the damage.

Protecting Your Foundation

Foundation cracks are a significant problem, and prevention is always better than repair. When it comes to protecting your foundation from cracks, there are many fast, effective, affordable things you can do.

  • Check and repair drainage systems. Ensure that your gutters, downspouts, drains, and plumbing systems are in good condition and not leaking water near your foundation. Pay particular attention to clogged gutters, as these can spill water over the top and directly onto your foundation.
  • Check your sump pump. Every home in Florida and Georgia should be equipped with a fully functional sump pump. If water starts to flood into the basement, the sump pump helps ensure it doesn’t stay there long enough to damage the foundation.
  • Remove trees. You don’t have to remove trees from everywhere on your property, but you do want to remove any near enough to the home that root transpiration could cause problems. As a general rule, large trees should be no closer than 20 feet to your home. Any tree, bush, or plant with expansive roots should be removed from near the foundation.
  • Water the lawn. Keeping your lawn watered helps ensure your soil has sufficient moisture to prevent it from drying out.

Have more questions about the causes of foundation cracks and how to prevent them? Contact the foundation experts at Alpha Foundations, and we’ll provide the answers you need to repair your foundation and protect your home.

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