You might be walking by your house and notice cracks forming on the outside. Uh-oh — what now? If there are foundational cracks in your home, this can be a warning sign of expensive repairs or renovations in the future.
But not all hope is lost. You can fix foundation cracks in your house by doing some DIY projects and contacting reputable professionals who will be able to repair your home in no time.
Fixing Foundation Cracks from the Outside
What are the most common things appraisers look for? You need to make sure your house has a durable and strong foundation before anything else.
Foundational cracks are a very common problem with a home’s structural integrity. There are common causes of broken foundations:
- Movement — Upward and downward movement of the foundation settling can lead to cracks or disturbances.
- Rotation – Foundation walls can move inwards and outwards due to excess rotation.
- Bulging — If a part of the block foundation protrudes from the rest of the wall, this can lead to structural issues.
All of these issues can occur in any type of home. There are signs of foundational problems homeowners should keep an eye out for:
- Out-of-balance or unlevel flooring
- Stuck, open, or rubbing windows and doors
- Wide cracks at door frames
- Seepage through the walls
- Shrinkage of the foundation
- Gaps between the molding and floor covering
If you notice these signs, what now? The best thing to do is find out easy DIY methods to help remedy the symptoms, fix the issue, or buy you time before you call a professional.
In this case, begin by evaluating the foundational cracks. Figure out the type of material that is cracking, where the crack originates, water leaks, other foundational issues, and how big the crack is in width and length.
Homeowners can prevent and mitigate foundational issues by doing the following:
- Create a 6” gap between the outdoor soil and the home’s foundation
- Maintain gutter and downspout health and integrity
- Install irrigation systems
- Ensure tree branches do not hang over the house
- Utilize high-quality soil under the concrete foundation
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How to Fix an Outside Foundation Crack
There are different strengths of foundational cracks. If you find the crack can be remedied using DIY methods, then you can do your own foundation crack repair.
However, in some cases, the foundation crack is too severe to be permanently fixed with at-home methods. In this case, finding a professional is the easiest solution to help get your house back on stable ground — literally.
There are a few mitigation and remedial tactics that help you figure out how to move forward with your home repair:
1. Monitor a new crack
If you just noticed a crack in your foundation, the most immediate thing to do is monitor the crack to see how it progresses. If the crack is thinner than ⅛”, this means that it will not usually lead to further issues in the home. In this case, you can use a crack sealer to fix the small gap.
If the crack continually gets bigger in the upcoming weeks and months, expansion can lead to an unstable crack. We recommend using grout and putty to fill out and seal the crack.
2. Determine the crack width
For cracks that are bigger than ⅛” in width, you will have to use repair methods to keep out unwanted particles, debris, dirt, soil, smells, or moisture. Use a caulk that works with concrete walls to fill the crack before it worsens.
3. Analyze the location of the crack
There are different meanings for gaps or small cracks in varying locations around the home. If a horizontal crack emerges where the corner of the house’s foundation connects to the floor of the basement, this requires sealing. The good news is that this does not indicate a structural concern.
In this case, homeowners should find a concrete repair kit to seal the crack or utilize an epoxy injection.
4. Figure out if there is water coming through the vertical cracks
Water coming through a foundational leak is a big issue that can lead to mold and mildew formation. Divert the water away from the foundation by removing soil, plants, gutters, and downspouts from the edge of your home.
5. Know when to call a professional
If a crack is more than ½ inch wide, it is best to call a professional to get a second opinion and inspect the foundation. If you do not care for cracks before they worsen over time, it can lead to a completely-destroyed foundation. Contact a professional ASAP to get started with your repair work.
6. Identify the wall’s structure
Lastly, the final way to determine how to fix your foundation is to see if the crack is accompanied by bulges or bumps. If the bulge is connected to a crack, this can lead to major structural concerns.
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Fixing Foundation Cracks By Yourself
There are a few methods of fixing foundation cracks from the outside that can help you get your house back in shape in no time:
1. Use an Epoxy Sealer
The first ‘band-aid’ for foundational cracks is to use epoxy to repair cracks in the wall. Use an epoxy sealer with a cartridge to inject the sealant into the broken area. Before you inject the sealant, remove any loose debris, concrete, or paint using a durable wire brush.
2. Block the Injection Spaces
The second step is to block the injection ports by spacing out 3” nails along the crack. Use a ruler to evenly space the injection ports along the crack, edges, and sides.
3. Use the Sealer
Use epoxy crack sealer and scrape it on a flat surface with a clean putty knife until it turns into a dark gray color.
4. Attach the Port
The next step is to spread sealer on the plastic injection port, press the portion to the wall, and press down firmly. Then, repeat his process for the remaining injection ports.
5. Spread the Sealer
Mix the epoxy sealer and spread the sealant along the entire crack. Make sure you spread the sealer to about ⅛” or 1” on both sides of the crack and cover all of the injection ports.
6. Inject the Epoxy
One of the final steps of fixing foundation cracks is to inject the epoxy into the crack using the syringe. Make sure you let the sealer rest for 5-10 hours before using the epoxy. Use the caulk gun to then dispense the epoxy into the large crack.
7. Seal the ports
Seal the injection ports by inserting the tip of the cartridges into the wall ports. Sealing the injection ports can help waterproof the walls, roof, and flooring.
8. Remove the injection ports
The last step is to remove the remaining pieces of the injection ports that are sticking out of the foundation wall.
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Getting a Qualified Professional to Fix the Damage
For some situations, it is best to get a qualified professional to assess, analyze, and fix the damage of your foundation. Fixing foundation cracks can range from minor repairs to more severe repairs, depending on the types of foundation cracks.
Foundation walls can sometimes succumb to hairline cracks, wall cracks, stair-step cracks, non-structural cracks, broken basement walls, structural problems, and foundation issues.
In this case, it is necessary that you find a reputable professional who can do the hard fixes for you. Foundation repair typically costs between $5,000 and $35,000, depending on the types of foundation problems. Minor cracks can cost as little as $200, whereas foundational repairs can cost as much as $80,000.
The best thing to do if you need a professional is to analyze the contractor’s rates and see which business is best for your unique needs and area code. The usual contractor rates fluctuate between $70 and $120 per hour, depending on the location and details of the repair. We recommend using a structural engineer.
Furthermore, creating structural reports can cost upwards of $1,500 for documenting the work that needs to be done, the severity of the problem, and the details of repair costs. In addition, site preparation, including ground assessment, costs between $500 and $3,000.
Check out our home inspection checklist to make sure that you are prepared before taking care of any foundational repairs.
Homeowners need to figure out the best way to fix foundation cracks from the outside of their homes. By using DIY methods and professionals, you can quickly repair foundation cracks. Taking simple steps, like getting an at-home warranty and overseeing the landscaping details, can help property owners maintain the integrity of their homes.