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Reasons a new foundation can form cracks

Joseph Coupal - Sunday, February 14, 2010
  • The natural drying, hardening, and curing process of concrete creates vertical cracks on some basement walls as the substance dries and hardens - Depending on conditions during the installation of the foundation (temperature of the air, the density of the particulates, the temperature of the concrete, the humidity, and various other factors) concrete curing can take up to ten years. However, curing cracks typically occur in years 1-3. Many of these cracks will not pose a significant structural concern, but all foundation cracks should be monitored and taken seriously.
  • The concrete foundation is subject to severe stress when it’s first put in - To save time and money, foundations are usually back filled before the concrete has time to harden and settle. The impact upon the walls from the sudden pressure of back fill, -combined with impacts from rocks striking the outer foundation wall as the area is filled, can easily damage the wall. Until the construction is complete, the foundation is not protected from the temperature changes from the outside. This forces the concrete to expand and contract with all temperature changes.
  • Vibrating Rods - When concrete is mixed, vibrating rods are inserted that shake air bubbles in the mix to the top. If this is done improperly or too quickly, large air bubbles become part of the concrete in your foundation. These bubbles make poured concrete foundations weaker. To make matters worse, these air pockets expand and cool at different rates than the cement. This causes further deterioration and cracking of the cement.
  • Bad Mix - If too much water is mixed into the concrete, the concrete is weakened and much more subject to early flaking and spalling.

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