Can You Fix Foundation Problems Yourself?

fixing cracked wall

The words “foundation repair” strike fear into the hearts of many Hamilton homeowners. The idea that there is something wrong with your home’s foundation can bring to mind images of crumbling walls and huge repair bills. And while foundation repair can be pricey, it’s often not as expensive as you might think – especially if the problem is caught early on. Still, you may be wondering if foundation repair is something that you can do yourself.

The answer? It depends.

Here are a few tips to help you decide if your foundation issue can be solved through the DIY route or whether it’s time to call a foundation repair professional.

Hairline cracks are no big deal

Especially if you have a new home, you will likely notice hairline cracks on basement walls forming within the first year of construction. These cracks can be typically found near windows and doors and in corners, and they occur because of normal “settling” as the concrete shrinks slightly.

As long as they are only hairline cracks, they are nothing to worry about, and you can fix them by simply applying a coat of paint that is suitable for masonry.

New foundation cracks

If you notice a new crack that is bigger than hairline but still not more than 1/8th of an inch, it is still probably because of settling and nothing to worry about. But before you reach for the crack sealer, you’ll want to be sure. Monitor the crack by making a pencil mark at each end or using a tape measure.

Monitor the crack for several months, and if it does not continue to expand and it does not have moisture seeping through it, then go ahead and seal it with grout repair and a putty knife.

Cracks that are wider than 1/8th of an inch but less than ¼ of an inch are likely not a problem but should be filled will concrete crack filler to keep out moisture.

Basement wall cracks larger than ¼ inch

If you notice a crack larger than ¼ inch, it may still not pose a major issue, but it is time to have a professional come out and look. The fix for these types of cracks may still be relatively simple, but you’ll want to make sure that there isn’t a bigger problem with your foundation.

Direction of the crack

Vertical and diagonal cracks are more common and less indicative of trouble than horizontal cracks. Horizontal cracks are usually caused by hydrostatic pressure and could indicate structural problems. If you notice horizontal cracks in a stair-step pattern, it’s time to call in the pros.

A bulging foundation

If there is a bulge in the foundation along with the crack, it indicates that you have a structural problem and professional foundation reinforcement is needed. Call a foundation repair contractor right away. Remember that a bulge may be hard to see, so you may need to use a level to determine if there is a bulge.

When you’re just not sure

If you are uncomfortable with DIY, or you just really aren’t sure if a crack is a problem, it’s always a good idea to call a professional to make sure. If the issue is minor, a reputable company is not going to overcharge you for a repair.

Contact Conterra Foundation and Repair today

If you have issues with the foundation in your Hamilton home, you can always count on the Conterra Foundation & Repair professionals. Call us today.