With a wet climate, shallow foundations, and very mixed soil types, North Carolina has more than its fair share of foundation cracks. But good foundation crack repair can be hard to find, and this is especially true when you don’t know how it works or what sets apart a good job from a bad one. That’s why at PowerLift Foundation Repair, we’re providing this complete guide to foundation cracks—and how they should (and shouldn’t) be fixed.
To start with, let’s look at exactly what foundation cracks are and how they’re caused. That will help us understand the issue much better. Foundation cracks may appear in the concrete slab of a foundation itself, but they may also appear in many other places. Interior or exterior walls may crack (especially near doors), masonry may start to pull apart with gaps between the bricks, and floors may start to slant. All of these symptoms are caused by the same thing: settling.
Settling happens when the weight of a house pushes it down deeper into a soft underlayer, like soil, gravel or clay. This settling rarely happens uniformly across an entire foundation; it is most common in concrete slab or pier style foundations that don’t reach deep down into the earth, but it can also happen to houses with basements in some circumstances.
The only solution to settling and the cracks that it causes is to raise the house up and level out the foundation. This is done by shoring it up. It’s important to understand that there is a difference between properly shoring up a house and simply putting the
equivalent of a shim under it. A shim—a concrete block, for example—will just continue to sink into the ground and the settling will continue in short order.
Instead, new piers have to be sunk under the house. In order to successfully fix the settling, they need to go deep enough to hit bedrock. Concrete pads and “cable lock” configurations rarely manage this. Instead, steel shoring piers are needed. Once in place, they can stop settling long-term.
There is a myth among homeowners that this kind of process is expensive. The truth is that the cost is not much higher than the shim method and, unlike it, a steel pier should be a permanent or long-term fix. That means that you only have to pay for foundation repair once, instead of over and over every few years.
Until your house’s foundation is properly shored up, fixing the cracks themselves won’t help—they will just reappear once again. After the piers are installed, however, cracks can be mended and the house will be as good as new. If your North Carolina home needs help, call or contact us at PowerLift Foundation Repair!