Foundations will shift and settle over time and cracks will form. Many times minor cracks do not cause any really problems to the structural integrity of the structure. It is essential, however, to stop the cracks from spreading and becoming problematic in the future. It can be relatively simple to fix foundation problem that does not require an engineer or contractor to be hired.
If there are cracks that larger than ¼ inch wide or they form a spider web pattern with an excessive number of cracks consult with a structural engineer to determine if the foundation needs extensive repair. If the cracks within the foundation are small then a simple do it yourself fix can be done to correct the problems. When determining how to repair concrete foundation cracks make sure to pick a product that has a little elasticity or give so that as the foundation continues to shift and settle the crack does not reappear.
5 Steps to Repair Concrete Foundation Crack
There are 5 basic steps that should be taken when repairing a concrete foundation crack.
Clean the Area
Clean the area around the crack and make sure all loose chips are removed. This can generally be done by using a sturdy wire brush and a little elbow grease. Scrub the area around the crack and then wipe away any dust that has accumulated. If the crack is wider than 1/8 inch a small chisel and sledge hammer should be used to chip away any loose matter.
Mix the Concrete
The concrete should be about the consistency of a thin paste. A good tip is the mix the dry mix with latex instead of water to add elasticity and adhesion to the mixture. If there is a large area that needs to be patched, mix the paste in small batches so that it does not dry out before drying out.
Mist and Trowel
Be sure to mist the crack with a little water before using a trowel to put the paste into the crack. By wetting the crack before patching the crack will not gather moisture which will cause the patch to crack. It will not form a solid bond and be long lasting.
Scrape Away Excess Paste
Using the trowel, scrape away all excess paste from the wall. This will create a smooth finish and if done correctly will not show that a patch has been done. You can adjust the finish of the paste to match the finish on the wall.
Clean Up Quickly
Make sure that any excess paste that has fallen on the floor or on the wall is quickly removed. Also clean the tools and buckets quickly. The paste will dry fast and is difficult to get off tools once dry.
Many home improvement stores and hardware stores will have compound mixes specifically for fixing cracks in foundations. Ask the professionals that are on hand at those stores for advice as to which compound works best for your situation. Follow mixing instructions on the bag correctly to ensure that the compound will adhere correctly to the cracks.