Homeowners often wonder how to fix a cracked slab foundation on their property. This is a vital consideration, as foundation damage gets worse the longer it’s ignored. Cracked slabs can also mean moisture seeping into your home, risking framing rot, mildewed carpets, and mold growth.
First, consider that you can address minor cracks in a slab foundation yourself. Second, remember that it’s best to contact a professional for major cracks and leaks. He or she can access the slab underside and perform large-scale repairs. Check out some tips for addressing a cracked foundation, and then contact a foundation repair contractor as needed.
For how to fix a cracked slab foundation, you first need to access the crack. This typically involves pulling up carpeting or other flooring covering the damaged area. Use caution during the process, as you don’t want to damage that flooring! Roll carpeting back as you loosen it or set floor planks aside so you can refasten them after foundation crack repairs.
To address the slab, use an epoxy filler kit for concrete floors and walls. These should come with injection ports and a plunger gun. Ensure the crack is dry. Then, clean it out with a wire brush, removing as much debris as possible. Use a shop vacuum to clear out residual dust and debris.
Next, tap some finishing nails into the crack, spaced about a foot apart and only slightly inserted. Then, mix the epoxy as directed on the package. Use a scrap piece of wood or cardboard to dispose of it after repairs.
Your next step is to attach the injection ports to the nails. Spread some epoxy on a port base and slide it over the nail. Don’t plug up the hole on the bottom of the port! Install the remaining ports in the same manner.
Then, use a putty knife to spread the epoxy along the crack surface and push it into the crack. Next, use the plunger gun to inject epoxy into the injector ports. Keep pushing epoxy into one port until you see it oozing out the port next to it. Follow the package instructions for plugging up the injection ports.
Lastly, let the epoxy cure for five days and then cut away the top of the ports. You can then sand down the epoxy if needed. Once the epoxy is dry completely, reinstall the flooring you’ve removed.
Now that we’ve discussed epoxy to fix cracks, let’s go over the other methods to increase structural integrity for your concrete slab foundation.
The most common method used for repairing slab foundations is mudjacking. This process involves injecting pressurized concrete beneath the slab to raise it back up and level it out when you have a sinking foundation. Mudjacking or house leveling can be used to correct both minor and major foundation cracks caused by sinking or settling soil and can be done relatively quickly and inexpensively.
In more serious cases, steel piers may need to be employed for concrete slabs. Steel piers are driven deep into the ground beneath the foundation until they reach solid ground or bedrock, where they provide a stable base from which the house can rest on. The weight of the house is then transferred onto these piers, improving the structural stability of the structure, and preventing further movement of the slab foundation.
If necessary, a combination of mudjacking and steel piering can be used for complex repairs where one method is not enough on its own. In any case, it is important that repairs are carried out correctly by experienced professionals to ensure the long-term stability of your home’s foundation.
Smaller cracks are often normal in slab foundations. These often form as the concrete continues to cure over time. Additionally, shifting soil can allow the concrete to lift or settle, which might create hairline cracks. Also, concrete expands as it absorbs moisture and then shrinks as it dries, cracking in the process.
While small, hairline cracks aren’t typically serious, larger cracks might indicate the need for a pro! Epoxy injections won’t fill larger cracks or correct their cause. In some cases, large cracks might indicate a structure that’s settled so far that it’s out of level. This risks interior and exterior wall cracks, roof damage, and even plumbing issues.
In turn, it’s vital that you call a foundation repair contractor to address anything larger than a hairline crack. Most contractors will use one of two repair methods.
Slab jacking or house leveling involves digging excavation around the damaged area. Next, he or she injects specialty grout or slurry mixtures underneath the damaged spot. That slurry floats the home back into a level position and then dries.
Underpinning attaches piers or pins to the damaged foundation. These pins provide support for the structure and keep it in position. In some cases, a contractor might use hydraulic equipment to life the home to a level position.
Many slab foundations don’t have floor joists or other subflooring materials above them. In turn, moisture seeping through a crack often affects carpeting and other floorings. You might notice mildew forming or musty smells along the floors. Also, that moisture can damage grout so that floor tiles loosen and slip out of position.
A sinking slab foundation also pulls on solid surfaces inside and outside the home. These surfaces include walls, ceilings, the roof, a chimney stack, interior floors, and porches. As a result, cracks soon form along all these surfaces! You might also notice door and window frames that look crooked and uneven. Doors and windows might also stick, so you struggle to open them.
Lastly, don’t overlook uneven surfaces throughout your property. Floors shouldn’t slope inside your home! Uneven floor planks or hardwood that pulls away from the floor can indicate a sinking home and foundation damage. A foundation repair expert can also inspect your property and note other damage indicators and needed fixes.
Kansas City Foundation Repair Specialists is happy to help explain how to fix a cracked slab foundation. Hopefully, this information is useful for your property. However, for larger cracks and other damage, call our Kansas City foundation repair contractors. We’ll perform a free inspection and prepare a price quote for needed fixes. To find out more, give us a call today.