5 Reasons You Might Find Foundation Cracks in Atlanta
1. Soil Saturation
Foundation cracks in Atlanta can be caused by soil saturation. In simple terms, soil saturation = wet ground. Your basement walls are supported by footings. The footings are at the base of the walls, and hold up your house. When the soil under the footings becomes over saturated, the footings “settle”, causing the walls to crack. Over saturation can also cause the earth next to your foundation to expand in volume. Many foundations aren’t built to withstand that extra pressure. The excess weight of the soil can force the walls to push inward. This is identified by diagonal cracks coming off corners. The leading causes for over saturation are improper grading, bad gutters or the need for underground sump pump and downspout extensions.
2. Stress Points
Anytime you core through the wall for installation of sewer, electric and gas lines, it weakens the concrete, which can result in cracking. Foundation cracks in Atlanta are also commonly found angling off corners of basement windows. These areas are usually the first place we look when conducting a foundation analysis.
3. Concrete Shrinkage
The science of pouring concrete involves many factors and variables. Since water is used when concrete is mixed, there is an inherent expansion and subsequent contraction of the concrete when it dries. Many factors can affect the drying process, including the type of aggregate, mix of the concrete and humidity levels.
On the other hand, not enough moisture in the soil can also cause foundation cracks in Atlanta. When the soil is desiccated, in other words, when moisture is drawn from the soil, usually as the result of a drought, the soil itself will shrink and cause foundation walls to shift outward and footings to settle. Such soil desiccation occurs when trees, shrubs and other plantings near the foundation send root systems deeper into the ground in search of moisture, drawing it from the soil in areas that normally remain untouched.
In life, timing is everything. Same holds true for concrete. Imagine your builder ran short on concrete when pouring your foundation – and the next ready mix truck didn’t arrive until the first batch started to harden. Your foundation would no longer be monolithic (one piece) at that point. A cold joint would naturally form, allowing water to easily seep through.
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