You may notice a variety of symptoms under and throughout your home if your concrete foundation is suffering from any of the above underlying problems. We’ll discuss the most common signs of an issue below, as well as the typical cause of each.
Foundation cracks appear under most homes and can indicate severe structural damage or routine concrete settlement. You can often identify if the gap presents a problem based on where you find it and how large it is.
Slab or Basement Floor Cracks
If you find a thin fissure on your slab’s surface or on your crawlspace or basement floor, chances are it’s a result of normal concrete movement during the settling period. These settling cracks remain thin and level across the surface, and the best course of action is to have a concrete contractor apply a polyurethane or epoxy sealant to them to keep water out of your home. Broader floor cracks or those with one side pushing up above the other are more likely from problems with differential settling. A structural engineer should inspect these, and stabilization is often required.
Vertical Wall Cracks
Cracks in a vertical position on the side of your slab or on your concrete block wall usually form in response to natural settlement as well. They rarely suggest structural problems, so most foundation repair companies will simply seal them to keep your basement dry.
Horizontal Wall Cracks
Cracks that run parallel to the ground are significantly more dangerous, as they indicate that the hydrostatic pressure from the soil outside is bearing too much weight on your foundation. Unfortunately, these cracks are prevalent in Bremerton because of the clay in the ground, and they usually require costly repairs.
Stair-Step Wall Cracks
Fissures that form in the shape of stair steps on your concrete block wall are also indicative of structural damage. These typically suggest that a section of your foundation is sinking more rapidly than the rest. The differential settlement occurring under your home could have resulted from unevenly drying soil or earthquakes. Either way, the repair cost is typically relatively high.
Bowing Foundation Walls
Excessive hydrostatic pressure from Bremerton’s clay soil is a widespread issue that often leads to horizontal structural cracks in the foundation walls. Some homeowners are fortunate enough to notice inward bowing of the concrete walls before a fissure forms. The walls can flex slightly before they give way to the stress. Bowing walls are a clear sign of mounting soil pressure and should be treated immediately before a crack develops.
Moist or Wet Basement or Crawlspace
The risk of water intrusion in Bremerton is very high because of the absorbent soil. As a result, many homeowners in the area experience symptoms related to water and water vapor accumulating under their homes. If liquid water is leaking through cracks in your foundation, you may find standing water under your home, puddles or wet spots on the floor following rainfall, and water damage to items in storage, furniture, or construction material if you have a finished basement. Moisture build-up usually occurs when water soaks through the concrete’s pores and evaporates into the air under your house. Symptoms include efflorescence on the walls, moist air under your home, mold growth, musty odors, and frequent problems with insect or rodent infestation. Humid air and mold spores can move up into your living area, making temperatures feel more extreme and potentially causing allergic reactions. As such, uncomfortable air in your living space, above-average heating or cooling bills, and unexplained allergic reactions can all suggest a water or moisture issue in your crawlspace or basement.