Structural and nonstructural crack repair are two methods used to repair cracks in buildings and infrastructure. Structural crack repair is used when a crack is causing or has the potential to cause structural damage, whereas nonstructural crack repair is used when the crack is not affecting the integrity of the structure. Today, we at DuraTech Texas would like to discuss structural and nonstructural cracks in the foundation.
Structural Foundation Crack Repair
Structural crack repair involves repairing the crack so that the structure can support its intended loads. This may involve adding additional support such as beams or columns, or applying a strengthening material such as fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). The repair method used will depend on the severity of the crack and the type of structure being repaired. Structural crack repair is typically more expensive and time-consuming than nonstructural crack repair.
Nonstructural Foundation Crack Repair
Nonstructural crack repair involves repairing the crack for cosmetic purposes or to prevent the crack from getting worse. This may involve filling the crack with an epoxy or polyurethane injection material or applying a surface sealant. Nonstructural crack repair is generally less expensive and quicker than structural crack repair. It’s important to note that while nonstructural crack repair is less expensive, it may not always be the best long-term solution. If a nonstructural crack is left untreated, it could potentially become a structural crack and require more extensive and expensive repairs in the future. It’s always best to consult with a structural engineer or contractor to determine the best course of action for repairing cracks in buildings and infrastructure.
Structural Foundation Cracks
It is termed a structural crack as it poses a risk to your home’s structural soundness when a crack occurs in the foundation. These cracks are triggered by the following:
Differential Settlement: Some areas may settle more quickly than others as a house settles into the soil beneath it, resulting in sloping floors, bowing walls, sticking windows/doors, and mainly cracks. This type of settlement is known as differential settlement.
Hydrostatic Pressure: It can create hydrostatic pressure when water penetrates the soil surrounding a foundation, which can cause cracks in the walls if the water is not properly drained away.
Frost-Heave: As it leads to wall cracks due to the up-and-down motion, freezing soil around a foundation can cause the ground to rise and fall as it thaws.
Additionally, foundation cracks can also develop due to various other reasons, such as expansive soils, soil incapable of providing sufficient support to the foundation, formation of voids underneath the foundation, poorly compacted soil, and incorrect grading that leads to water accumulation in the vicinity of the foundation.
Non-Structural Foundation Cracks
Since they permit water to infiltrate the property, cracks in a foundation that do not endanger a home’s structural stability are known as non-structural cracks or “waterproofing cracks”. Typically, these cracks appear in areas such as beneath I-beams, around windows, and in wall corners. Non-structural cracks in a foundation can be caused by the following:
Concrete Shrinkage: The concrete may shrink and develop hairline cracks when a poured foundation dries rapidly.
Aging: With time, due to the aging process, a home’s foundation may develop cracks. Measuring less than 1/10 of an inch in width, these cracks are typically small.