Cracked foundations can result from various factors and have different consequences. Cracks in the foundation are a common site in most homes, and a large percentage of them are harmless to the structural integrity of the house. Some of the factors that cause concrete foundations to crack includes:
· Drying shrinkage. As with all materials that harden when they dry out, concrete also forms small cracks as it dries.
· Rebar corrosion. If the rebar is exposed to elements such as water and air, it might corrode and expand. This causes the concrete around it to crack.
· Settlement. If the ground was inadequately compacted during construction, the extra weight of the structure might cause it to compact further. The movement in the underlying ground causes the foundation to shift and form cracks. Cracking from the settlement is considered dangerous and should be inspected by a professional.
How does a cracked foundation affect my house?
Ignoring most of the cracked foundations is not necessarily dangerous as most of the concrete cracks won’t damage your home. However, if the crack on the foundation is more than ¼ inch wide, then you should immediately consult a structural engineer as the foundation could be weakened, and it might lead to the collapse of the structure.
Other smaller foundation cracks could also cause the following problems.
· Insect infestation. Many crawling insects such as ants and cockroaches like to hide and reproduce in concrete cracks.
· Gas intrusion. Testing for natural gases such as methane is rarely done during surveys. Therefore, in case the construction work happens to disturb any natural gas pocket near your house, the gas could leak into the house through the cracked foundation.
· Damp and mold. The cracks might also be an entry point for water and moisture that accumulates underground. The problem can get worse during rainy days. Furthermore, if the cracks occur in an underground basement, it could lead to flooding.