Literally, your foundation is what supports the entire house. For this reason, you need to ensure that your foundation is sound. In the best case scenario, cracks in your foundation will look very bad. In the worst case scenario, they can sometimes lead to the ultimate loss of the structural integrity, and this will mean very expensive repairs. Inspect your foundation once in a while and check if there are any cracks which should be fixed. The sooner you repair cracks on your foundation before they grow, the cheaper and easier the repairs are going to be. These are the steps to follow along with the materials and needs for repairing the cracks.
Step 1: Conduct an inspection
Foundation cracks may occur due to various reasons. You should inspect the foundation of your home to repair the cracks and to address whatever reasons those cracks in your foundation are happening. Over time, the soil around your foundation settles. With time, water may start infiltrating the walls of the foundation and due to temperature changes, the concrete contracts and expands. The stress of all these factors can weaken the concrete of the foundation and once the cracks begin, they can often continue to become bigger. If not addressed, they can potentially grow into a very big problem.
More often than not, the cause of the foundation cracks can be determined by the cracks that have occurred. Horizontal cracks are often as a result of settling soil. The extent of the settling soil movement determines whether the cracks are wide or thin.
Excessive moisture especially around a home foundation is another common cause of cracks in the foundation. Cracks also result from contractions and expansion of the concrete of the foundation. These cracks often are diagonal or vertical and are hairline thin.
Step 2: Preparing the foundation crack for repair
If the cracks you intend to repair are wider even than a hairline, you should start by clearing out cracked or broken bits of the concrete, debris and dust and any other loose material. Still fired brush and a flat old screwdriver are the tools you need to do that. Use a chisel and hammer to widen the cracks and to undercut the edges of the cracks to enable patch adhesion. This will create more area where the patch can adhere to the crack so that it doesn’t slip out. Use a wire brush to clean out dust and debris and then use water from the garden hose to rinse the crack. Use a towel to pat the area.
When brushing out dust, ensure that you are wearing a dust mask. Also, wear safety gloves and glasses when you are using the chisel and hammer.
A can containing compressed air or an air compressor can also be used to blow out dust and particles from the crack.
Step 3: Repairing hairline cracks
You can use vinyl concrete patching compound to repair thin hairline cracks. If recommended, particularly by the manufacturer, you can apply a primer/additive or concrete bonding adhesive to create the strongest possible bond between the patching material and old surface. Work the liquid around the edges of the crack and into the cracks using inexpensive or an old paintbrush. Discard the brush immediately after you are done with it or wash it with water and soap.
Apply the vinyl patching compound in various levels using a towel or putty knife. For every layer, mix the exact amount needed and press it with some force to in order to force the first layer into a crack. You should allow each layer to dry.
Cement mixture can also be used to patch the thin cracks provided the cracks can allow sand in. Take one part cement then mix in a bucket with 3 parts sand and enough water so as to make a relatively stiff paste. Take more water and mix with just a small amount of cement in a different container. The mixture should make you cement paint.
Step 4: Repairing larger cracks
If the cracks are wide, you can fill them with latex concrete caulk, silicone, or Polyurethane. Using a caulking gun, force the caulk to go into the crack and it should cover the entire length of the crack. Allow the caulk to dry. After it has dried, check if it has not filled up the entire depth and length of the crack. That would mean it has contracted. So, apply it again.
If you don’t feel safe and confident doing the job, call a pro for foundation repair in New Orleans, Louisiana.