If your foundation has cracks, you might assume that sealing the cracks, perhaps with some caulk or new concrete, will keep water out of your basement or crawlspace. This may work for a time, but if you do not also address the underlying cause of the cracks, you will just get new cracks—and therefore more water—in a few months' time. So what are some common underlying causes of foundation cracks and how can you address them? Take a look.
If water is accumulating in the soil around your home, then that soil will be putting excessive pressure on your foundation, which can lead to cracks over time. This may be the case if you live in a really wet area, if your home is set at the bottom of a hill, or if the soil in your area simply does not drain well. There's not much you can do about your home's location after the fact, but you can make some changes that will encourage better drainage around your home. Consider having a landscaping company dig some new ditches to drain water away, or have French drains installed around your home's perimeter to collect water.
You can also help relieve water pressure around your home by extending your gutter downspouts. Having them empty a few feet away from your foundation will keep the area immediately around your foundation dry.
The concrete that forms the base of the foundation may be heaving, or in other words, it may be shifting upwards. As it does so, cracks will probably form in your foundation walls. Upheaval can happen when you have a few dry years followed by a long period of wetness that causes the soil beneath the foundation to expand. The soils beneath the foundation should be prepared properly prior to pouring the foundation in order to prevent upheaval, but sometimes, builders do not take the necessary precautions.
Heaving can also be caused by a plumbing leak beneath the home. Take a look at your water bills. If they have increased in recent months, you may have a leak in the main line leading into your home that is causing water to accumulate beneath the foundation.
To fix a heaving foundation, a foundation repair company may need to partially excavate beneath your home and stabilize the soil. Until they do so, your foundation walls may continue to develop new cracks.
For more information, contact a foundation repair company.