It’s your biggest investment, your comfort zone, your shelter. You’ve decorated it how you want it to look, and you’ve probably shelled out a whole lot of money to make it yours. But now your basement, garage, and other concrete floors are cracked. Should you worry? What’s causing this blatant disrespect to your beloved home? And what can you do about it?
While concrete floors can be both functional and beautiful, they’re unfortunately prone to unsightly cracks and pitting. If not taken care of soon enough, some cracks can lead to severe structural problems, including total collapse. But not all cracks are created equally; some might be minor and pose no threat to your home or your safety. Before you crack open your ancient phone book to call your local foundation expert, it’s important to know what could be causing your cracked floor in the first place.
Why is Your Floor Cracking?
- Foundation shift. Your home will continue to settle on its foundation for years, or even decades, after it’s been built, and this is totally normal. But a foundation shift is different from home settlement, and is often caused by soil movement. The amount of soil movement beneath your home will determine the severity of your cracked floor.
- Soil movement. Many homes in the United States are built on clay or other expansive soils. In wet seasons, rainwater will saturate the soil beneath and around your home, causing it to expand and push against your foundation. In dry seasons, that soil now contracts away from your foundation. Your cracked floor is an end result of this expansion and contraction.
- Tree roots. Even if there aren’t any trees or bushes planted directly next to your home, their roots are often so strong and deep that they can push up against the underside of your foundation, causing your floors to crack.
- Soil saturation. As previously mentioned, soil movement can play a big role in causing your cracked floor. Soil saturation is the main reason for soil’s dynamic properties. Excess water from clogged gutters or plumbing leaks can saturate your soil, forcing it to move and crack your floors. Likewise, heavy rains and lawns that slope towards your home can overly saturate your soil, increasing your risk of a cracked floor.
- Substandard concrete mix or otherwise poor craftsmanship. When your concrete floor was first poured, it was a combination of cement and water. If the proper proportions of cement and water weren’t followed, you may have received a substandard concrete mix. According to the Concrete Network, water is added to cement to make it easier to install, but it also greatly reduces the concrete’s strength. As the water evaporates, the concrete itself actually shrinks. Wetter concrete mix will result in greater shrinkage, which creates forces within the concrete that literally pull the slab apart.
- Expansion and contraction. Concrete tends to expand on hot, humid days, and contract on colder days, which will often cause your floors to crack.
Whatever’s causing your cracked floor, the important thing to keep in mind is that floor cracks are often a symptom of a larger underlying problem. Simply put, cracks and pits in your concrete floor are also cracks and pits in your foundation.
What can you do about your cracked floor?
Repairing floor cracks can improve your home’s value, so even if they’re minor, it’s a good idea to repair them. But how do you know the difference between a minor crack and a structural one? Generally speaking, cracks that are wider than a credit card and running through the depth of your concrete are probably structural. They could be a sign of a much more serious problem, such as foundation failure. If you’re worried that your cracks are structural, I advise you to contact a structural engineer or foundation expert to diagnose your situation.
But what do you do about hairline cracks that aren’t structural? Unfortunately, there’s no solid answer. But the Concrete Network provides some factors that you’ll want to look for in making your decision about how to repair your cracked floor, and how soon you need to do it:
- Is the crack static, or is it gradually growing? If the crack is widening, it may continue to do so if not repaired. While the crack might not be structural now, failure to repair it could cause it to become a structural crack.
- Does the crack present a tripping hazard?
- Is the crack wide enough to allow moisture seepage?
- Does the crack trap dirt, creating a maintenance or sanitation issue?
- Is the crack an eyesore, located in a high-visibility area?
StrongHold™ Has the Solution!
StrongHold™’s carbon fiber Cracked Concrete Floor Repair Kit repairs existing cracks while simultaneously preventing future damage by strengthening the area against the tension that caused the cracks in the first place. The kit is easy to install, is very affordable, and provides a durable, long-lasting structural repair. Whether your cracks are a result of mid-floor settling, corner settling, wall settling, or another issue entirely, rely on StrongHold™ to provide the best repair. The best part is that you can install it yourself…because You’re Stronger Than You Think!
For more information about StrongHold™’s cracked floor repair solutions, check out our Products or Shop section, or email us today: STRsupport@hj3.com