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Can I Fix My Own Foundation Crack, or Do I Need a Professional?

foundation crack concrete wall

The short answer is yes, you can fix your own foundation crack. The real question, however, is will it be done right? Foundation crack DIYs can be tricky. There are questions that must be addressed before a repair can begin, and there are conditions to be aware of when doing the repair. We’re going to run through some of these so that whether you choose to call a professional or do it yourself, you will feel confident it is the right choice.

First Off, What Caused It?

There’s no sense in fixing a crack if what’s causing it isn’t addressed. A cracks direction, size, and shape can all help determine why it showed up, and how serious it is. Common causes of foundation cracks include settlement, aged concrete that is deteriorating, shrinkage, tree roots, faulty construction, poor drainage, poorly mixed concrete, unstable soil, hydrostatic pressure, excessive moisture in soil, or lack of maintenance. By successfully determining the cause, you may save your home from disaster down the road, or save yourself the headache of worrying when you don’t have to.

Size

A foundation crack may actually be stable. A great way to monitor a crack is to draw pencil lines on each end, and to check each month to see if it is growing longer. While a stable crack can be fixed at your leisure, a growing crack should be fixed soon. Hairline cracks (about the size of a sewing thread) are no cause for concern. If a crack is 1/8 of an inch or wider, the time is now to start fixing it. To help measure a crack, a credit card is 1/32 of an inch, a nickel is 1/16 of an inch, and two nickels is 1/8 of an inch.

Direction and Shape

Vertical cracks are often caused by concrete settling, concrete shrinkage, or aging concrete. They often do not pose a significant threat to the integrity of your foundation, but should be addressed if they are growing over time. Horizontal and stair step cracks are more serious. They can be caused by a number of problems like improper drainage, significant hydrostatic pressure, poorly mixed concrete, tree roots moving in, unstable soil… the list goes on. These cracks mean your foundation is slowly giving out, and they should be addressed immediately.

Determining the cause of a crack can sometimes be tricky business. While online resources are helpful, each foundation and its conditions are unique. A professional will have the right knowledge to pinpoint the problem, and provide guidance to protect your foundation for the long-term.

That’s Only Half the Battle

Since we established that every foundation has unique circumstances, this means that each foundation will have unique solutions. Grout, epoxy, and caulking are all “foundation crack solutions”, but each of them are for different kinds of cracks, and must be done in different ways. A bowed wall may need to go a step further and require carbon fibre, which we cover in our blog “Why Carbon Fibre Repair is the Best Way to Repair a Bowed Wall“. What we’re trying to make clear is that different solutions have different conditions. It’s vital to do research into the solution you choose to make sure it is the right solution for the right crack, and done the right way.

But Professionals are Expensive

We understand that finances can be an issue. Fixing a foundation crack DIY-style may be the only option. At Supreme, we offer financing programs because we believe every homeowner should be able to afford a healthy home.

Foundation cracks can range from very simple, to very complex to fix. Either way, it’s important to go through the steps of understanding the cause and understanding the solutions. Calling a professional will streamline the process of learning these things yourself. Calling a professional will ensure that the fix is done right from start to finish.

We at Supreme Basement Solutions offer only the best advice, solutions, and products to our customers, because we treat every home like our own. If you want to speak to an expert about more details, we encourage you to chat with us. Contact us or call us at (519) 946-0363.