Cracks in the concrete slab foundation are one of the most costly home repairs a homeowner can face. Foundation problems can also cause the walls, floors, and ceilings of a home to shift or collapse before the root of the problem is discovered. Fortunately, simple yearly maintenance and inspection of the foundation can go a long way toward preventing cracks in the concrete slab.
Causes of concrete slab foundation cracks: Lack of moisture
Dry soil is the most common cause of cracks in your home’s concrete slab foundation. This can be a recurring problem for homeowners in hot climates where dry conditions are expected every summer. If this is the case in your area, be sure to visually inspect your home’s exterior each year to head off any problems before they become too costly. Look for areas where the soil is so dry that it has pulled back from the edges of the concrete foundation. This is often an indication that the area has been dry for a long period of time.
Causes of concrete slab foundation cracks: Local seismic testing
Your home may also have foundation damage if there has been seismic testing in your area. Many cities require seismic testing when new construction or oil exploration is planned. During the process of testing, the ground receives a significant shock, which may unsettle the dirt underneath your home’s foundation. Some municipalities will offer reimbursement for damages caused during seismic testing, so contact your local government if this is the reason for cracks in your home’s concrete slab foundation.
Preventing concrete slab foundation cracks
There is an easy way to maintain your home’s Stamped Concrete slab foundation and prevent most types of damage. Keeping the soil moist is often the best way to protect your foundation from becoming brittle and cracked. Moisten the ground when you notice the soil pulling back over an inch from the edge of your concrete foundation. Be sure to also inspect the soil in the winter if you live in an area that does not get much precipitation. Many homeowners are diligent in summer, but forget that the concrete slab foundation may need extra moisture in the winter as well.
Drip-irrigation hoses work best for evenly watering the entire foundation of your home. Lay the hoses around the home’s perimeter, pressing the hose down into the opening between the foundation and the soil. Let the water run for about a half-hour every two or three days during the hot summer months. This will keep the soil damp enough to settle in and evenly support the entire concrete slab foundation of the home.