Foundation Cracks and Groundwater Issues


A foundation crack can lead to water or structural damage in a home or business. Discovering a problem with the foundation of a building can be an unsettling situation, but Team Newman is here with some helpful information so you can be educated about what to do with a foundation crack. 


Vertical cracks are the most common – As a home settles, it is typical for vertical cracks to develop. Vertical cracks are found most often in basement walls and are typically the easiest type of foundation crack to fix. The main issue that comes with vertical cracks is how they allow for water to penetrate the foundation. However, a foundation waterproofing injection can solve the issue and prevent interior water damage.


Diagonal crack may point to bigger issues – If a foundation crack has an angle from 30-75 degrees, it is considered a diagonal crack. These can be caused from the foundation settling in an uneven manner. If water does not drain properly from one side of the house, it can cause the soil to compact more on one side and create a diagonal foundation crack. Along with fixing the crack, additional steps may need to be considered to ensure the cause of the uneven foundation settling is addressed. Landscaping and drainage issues often need to be addressed. A diagonal crack can also require a structural fix to ensure the integrity of the foundation.


Horizontal crack can cause issues with structural integrity – This is the most serious type of foundation crack. Pressure on the foundation wall can cause it to bow inwards. This can lead to the failure of the foundation and collapse of the property. It is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed right away. Fixing a horizontal crack is often a major project. It can involve installing anchors or piers to prevent any further bowing to prevent the foundation from failing.


Fix it when you have the chance – When a crack is discovered, it is best to seal it right away. If a crack is left unattended, it can grow and lead to a more costly repair. A horizontal foundation crack may require that the property be evacuated until it can be fixed. Many vertical cracks can be sealed with a waterproofing injection. Horizontal and diagonal cracks may need a structural fix if recommended by a structural engineer. 


Be on the lookout for signs of a structural issue – Water or added humidity in a basement or crawl space is a common sign that there is a foundation crack allowing for water penetration. Pungent or musty odors are also an indication that water is entering the property through a slow leak or foundation crack. Cracks in plaster walls and doors that no longer open easily are a sign that the foundation is settling in an uneven matter. These signs are a good reason to have your home and foundation inspected. 


Water damage from foundation cracks may not be covered by insurance – Many homeowners are not protected from foundation cracks and the ensuing water damage. Because the water is coming from outside the home, many insurance carriers will deny coverage. It is always best to have an understanding of your liabilities or gap in insurance coverage. Often, a flood insurance policy can protect homeowners from water damage due to an outside source. However, it is important to cover the topic with your specific insurance company. 


Groundwater issues


In addition to foundation cracks, groundwater issues can develop multiple times a year. They are common when the snow melts and the groundwater becomes saturated. They can also develop from irrigation issues or nearby flooding.


Many homes are built with defenses against groundwater. Whether it is a protective coating around the foundation, a drainage system or sump pumps, these measures can go a long way in defending a home from groundwater. 


Make sure pump systems stay operational and drains remain clear. Without being able to work properly, these issues can prevent them from working. It is a good idea to test sump pumps and make sure they continue to work. 


What to do if groundwater becomes an issue? The first step is to remediate any damage from the groundwater inside the home to prevent microbial growth. Afterwards, it may be necessary to consult with a structural engineer to develop a solution for groundwater issues. The amount of groundwater is impacted by multiple factors, including the source and current weather conditions. Not all solutions will be the same and often require the help of an expert to find the most appropriate defense.

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