Cracked foundation : How to inspect, fix and repair costs . A cracked foundation is a serious matter for a family. The causes for cracked foundation can be many . But, whatever the cause of cracks in foundations or walls, the house must be repaired. A house is one of the biggest monetary investments of a family. Even the repair work of a cracked foundation is costly. But, it is better to get the problem corrected before things assume bigger size.
You may not be able to repair a cracked foundation all by yourself. A team of engineers and masons can better look into the matter. However, as the owner of the house, you can inspect the cracks and make an estimate of the cost of repair work. Thereafter, if you feel that repair work is necessary, you can understand what the repair team is doing and are they charging a reasonable amount.
How to inspect the house for foundation cracks ? There are basically two types of cracks in a house. The more common ones are called Shrinkage cracks. These are formed locally within concrete when it was gaining strength ( curing ) . These can be hidden by plaster and paint. These cracks are not deep into the walls . These are not major concern. Foundation cracks on the other hand are long running deeper cracks into the breadth of the walls. They are caused because either the foundation has settled by different amounts under different walls, leading to generation of bending moments and forces that create cracks. These appear as typical cracks in foundation walls and walls just above the basement.
- A vertical running or diagonal running crack in a foundation is a clear indication of foundation crack. The crack may also be branched , like a river and its tributaries. These are points that could not withstand stresses.
- If the house has stair like cracks ( in a zig-zag pattern ) , these are foundation cracks. The wider they are, the more problematic it is. These type of cracks show in brickwork and foundations that are made with blocks.
- Other than these, the places near the ceilings may also show cracks that may be because of quick settlement of soil beneath the foundation.
Based on this personal inspection, you can decide whether to call a specialist team that will do inspection based on Standard and Civil Engineering codes. After this, they can comment on the safety of the house, how much will it cost for repair work, life of repair work etc. As a general rule, the more number of foundation walls have cracked, the more money will be required to support them.
You can also ask a friend, colleague etc who has some knowledge of construction, or a civil engineering student to look at the cracks. They can also propose an estimate of the renovation work required.
Take quotes from more than one company and then get the foundation repaired quickly.