There is a myriad of symptoms that are common in and around foundations in Aurora that indicate damage. We’ll discuss these below, as well as the probable cause of each.
Foundation cracks often form during the concrete’s natural settling process, but some can indicate severe structural damage. The easiest way to tell the difference is by looking at where they form, so it will be best to explain what the different foundation cracks mean based on their location.
Hairline Floor Cracks or Vertical Wall Cracks
Hairline cracks that form on your crawlspace or basement floor or in a vertical orientation on your concrete block wall are most often from settling. These typically occur within the first few years after new construction, and they’re present in virtually every home. As long as the cracks don’t widen to more than ⅛” or have one side protruding past the other, they can simply be sealed with epoxy to prevent water from seeping into your under-home area.
Horizontal Wall Cracks
Gaps in your foundation wall that run horizontally are significantly more hazardous and generally indicate structural problems. They frequently occur in Aurora when the expansive soil exerts excessive hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls. The concrete flexes slightly but cracks when it can no longer bear the additional stress. This kind of damage requires immediate structural repair.
Stair-step cracks are also common in Aurora because of the risk of differential settling. When an area of your foundation loses support from the shrinking soil below, it cracks away from your house and settles into the ground. The weak seams between concrete blocks in your basement wall give way and break in a step pattern. These gaps are structural in nature and should be addressed by a foundation repair company as soon as they are identified.
Bowing Foundation Walls
Hydrostatic pressure is a severe issue in Aurora because of the clay and bentonite in the soil. When the ground first begins putting inward pressure on the concrete, it bows slightly before eventually giving out and forming a horizontal crack. Therefore, inward bowing of your foundation wall indicates a high risk of structural damage and should be addressed as quickly as possible.
Uneven Basement Floor
As we mentioned above, hairline cracks in your slab that are level from side to side are typically harmless and form because of the normal settling of your foundation into the earth. However, if a crack in your crawlspace or basement floor widens or one side of the gap rises above the other, you’re likely suffering from differential settling that is causing a section of your floor to sink below the rest of your foundation. You may also notice a sloping floor under your home, which points to the same issue.
Moist or Wet Basement of Crawlspace
Another widespread problem in Aurora is water intrusion and moisture build-up in crawlspaces and basements. Expansive soil contributes to the issue, as it holds runoff against your concrete for long periods, and the rapidly melting snow in the winters makes the problem worse. Many homeowners who experience active water seepage find puddles on the floor in their crawlspace or basement, water-damaged building materials, sagging insulation, water trickling in through foundation cracks, and wet spots or water stains on the concrete.
Water vapor is equally as damaging, but it can be more challenging to identify. Typical symptoms of water vapor wicking through the pores in your concrete include musty odors under your home, mold growth, insect or rodent infestation, damp air when you enter the space beneath your house, and efflorescence, which is a white, powdery deposit of minerals that accumulates on your concrete walls. Some property owners notice symptoms of water intrusion or moisture build-up in their living space as well if the air from under their home seeps into the upper floors. Mold spores traveling into your living area can cause non-seasonal allergy symptoms. Humidity making its way into your house can make temperatures feel more extreme, often leading to increased utility bills as you and your family try to compensate for the temperature changes.