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Tuesday, 03 June 2014 10:26

Repairing Cracks in Residential Foundations - Nip the Problem in the Bud

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The foundation is the most important structural component of any construction as it offers support and stability to the structure that rises above it. As such, it should be inspected regularly for damage and maintained in the best possible condition.

Concrete residential foundations show signs of wear due to exposure to weather elements such as sun, rain and snow. The other causes include plant root extensions that break into concrete or poor water drainage. The damage manifests itself in the form of tiny holes or gaping cracks. It may seem insignificant at first, but it is necessary to pay attention to them at the earliest to prevent serious structural damage.

Warning Signs

Here are some indicators of a damaged residential foundation:

 A crack on exterior and interior surfaces is the most conspicuous sign of a damaged residential foundation. Cracks also develop on walls and floor tiles.

 The floor tends to slope or appears slightly sunk. To add, it starts separating from the adjacent walls.

 You may notice a cracked or displaced molding.

 Doors and windows are misaligned and do not open and close with ease.

 Doors and windows start separating from the walls and frames they are fitted to.

Repairing Cracks - Small and Large

Restructuring the foundation is one of the available solutions to remedy a damaged foundation. However, there are other simpler and cheaper ways to deal with this ugly problem.

The repair work starts with assessing the size of the crack. The methods of sealing a fissure in the foundation differ according to its size. The smallest cracks are approximately 2-3 mm wide. Cracks develop due the loosening of concrete compound. Concrete flakes, dirt and debris accumulate in these gaps. This buildup needs to be cleaned in order to allow the patching compound or caulk to adhere well. One can use a screwdriver or a wire brush to clean out the cracks.

A concrete caulk or a patching compound is used to fill in the cracks. Many add a latex additive to the compound as it allows the latter to expand with changes in surrounding temperature. Both are readily available at hardware stores. When it comes to filling larger cracks, sand is used as an additional ingredient. The mixture should be spread across the length and breadth of the crack either using a small putty knife or a caulking gun for a neater job. The mixture usually spreads and levels out on its own. If it doesn't, you can smooth it out manually. The cracks should be allowed to dry thoroughly and the surfaces should be unused during this time. Sealing the cracks will prevent the concrete from getting stained. One can use heavy-duty water-based polyurethane for the purpose.

Timely Action is the Key

Owning a house is a big responsibility primarily because of the maintenance aspect. If you want the best results with less money, you should act as soon as you notice any cracks in the concrete. Undertaking repair work at the right time also helps because cracks are easier to heal while they are small in size. When the damage is serious, it is best to call in a professional to handle the case.

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