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How Will I Know If My Home's Foundation Walls Are Failing?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Symptoms of failing foundation walls in a home look different depending whether they are constructed of concrete block or poured concrete. Concrete block walls typically display horizontal cracking across the center length as it begins to bow inward near mid-height. As the problem worsens, stair-step cracking at the corners can be observed. Continued inward pressure exerted on the concrete block wall can also result in horizontal shearing at a mortar joint, where the bottom row of block is held in place by the concrete floor slab as the next course of block and wall above slides in.

Vertical shearing may also be observed when the end of a wall is supported or held in place by an adjoining perpendicular wall. The end of the wall remains stable as the rest of the wall cracks and moves inward. Poured concrete walls will typically display single, diagonal cracks extending upward from the bottom corners of the wall toward the top center. Further, unlike a block wall that bows in near mid-height, the top of a poured wall tends to lean in. In finished basements, where foundation walls may not be exposed, other signs may alert you to a structural problem. As failing basement walls move inward, ceiling panels and ceiling drywall may begin to buckle.

Drywall on finished, abutting walls can also buckle between the wall studs. In extreme cases, horizontal cracking may even be seen in the home's exterior brick veneer. As you can tell, foundation cracks are no mere small problem. They can result in serious damage to your homes structure, which is why its best to have the professionals at A-1 come in and inspect your home and do any foundation repairs you may need. Contact us today for more information.


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