Discovering the Source of Concerning Cracks in Your Exterior Walls
Whether the exterior walls of your home or business are made of brick, stone, stucco, siding, wood, or anything else, you want them to be smooth, strong, and free of cracks. This is completely understandable because not only are cracks in exterior walls quite unsightly, but they are also somewhat frightening as they allude to some unseen yet significant issue with your structure. Sort of.
What wall cracks actually allude to is sinkhole activity, and sinkhole activity is a serious issue for your structure, but not a serious issue with your structure. Knowing that the cause of your wall cracks is sinkhole activity probably leaves you with more questions than answers, so Solid Foundations would like to address those questions with the informative answers we have and the advice you need to overcome sinkhole activity and restore the smooth and strong walls of your home or business. The questions we will answer for you are:
- “Why are there cracks in my walls?”
- “What can I do about the cracks in my walls?”
- “How can a foundation repair company fix my walls?”
Why are there cracks in my walls?
As you now know, cracks in your walls are a sign of sinkhole activity on your property. Sinkhole activity is a common problem with the limestone bedrock that lies beneath much of the state of Florida, and sinkhole activity is a problem on your property specifically when cracks in your exterior walls appear.
There are actually three different kinds of sinkholes that can emerge in Florida: solution sinkholes, cover-subsidence sinkholes, and cover-collapse sinkholes. Both solution sinkholes and cover-subsidence sinkholes form slowly as the upper layers of bedrock are affected, either when rainwater hollows out a depression in the surface of the bedrock that is partially exposed by a lack of vegetation and soil, or when sand above the upper layers of bedrock slides down into openings in the bedrock and lowers the land surface. However, cover-collapse sinkholes form rapidly and are the most dangerous type of sinkhole in Florida.
Cover-collapse sinkholes present peril to Florida homes and business because of how they alter the limestone bedrock. The limestone layers upon which the foundation of your building rests are porous and pretty susceptible to erosion. The acidic rainwater that falls regularly on Florida soils causes that erosion as it runs through and then beneath the limestone layers. As the rainwater erodes away the lower layers of limestone, it forms a cavern beneath the surface, and that cavern expands slowly until only a few thin upper layers keep it from opening the ground above it. The appropriate amount of pressure or even the weight of the remaining layers themselves when they are made of clay can trigger the formation of a sinkhole that swallows everything above it.
As you can imagine, these sinkholes cause major complications and devastating damage to the properties of Florida residents. However, before they are fully formed, even the sinkholes that develop quickly provide warning signs of their impending presence. The cracks in your walls are one such sign, and other signs of sinkholes that you may see in and around your property include:
- Cracks along joints, windows, and doors and in walls, floors, and ceilings
- Uneven, sloping, or sagging floors
- Doors, windows, and cabinets that are difficult to open and close
- Cracks in the concrete driveways or sidewalks
- Depressions in the streets and yards
- Water collecting in puddles
- Slumping fence posts, trees, and foundations
- An exposed or sunken area of your foundation
Whether or not you notice any of these signs along with the cracks in your walls, you should still do what you can to address the threat of sinkhole activity that the cracks indicate, and that leads us to the answer to your next question.
What can I do about the cracks in my walls?
When the exterior walls, or even the interior walls, of your home feature sizable cracks, the best thing you can do and the first thing you should do is call a foundation repair company like Solid Foundations. A sinkhole is too big of a problem for you to handle on your own, and only professionals who have plenty of experience dealing with sinkholes will be able to offer the most effective solution to the sinkhole activity.
A foundation repair company has the geotechnical knowledge to complete a thorough inspection of your property and accurately infer the type of sinkhole that is developing and how much the sinkhole has developed. Furthermore, only a professional sinkhole repair company will have the proper and most powerful tools and techniques to productively prevent any damage that would occur from the sinkhole or to masterfully minimize the extent of the damage that may have already occurred.
However, not all foundation repair companies are willing to deal with sinkholes. Therefore, in order to know which foundation repair companies can actually help you with your sinkhole situation, check to see that they offer sinkhole remediation services. If they do, you know that they have dealt with sinkholes before, and if so, you can trust that they have a better grasp than anyone of how to handle the sinkhole that is encroaching upon your property.
As all of the news stories and pictures clearly reveal, sinkholes are no small thing. They can lead to life-shattering destruction and life-threatening injuries. That is why the answer to the question “What can I do about the cracks in my walls” is: call a foundation repair company.
How can a foundation repair company fix the cracks in my walls?
When you contact an experienced and professional sinkhole repair company such as Solid Foundations, they can use several different methods to eliminate your sinkhole situation, restore stability to your structure, and fix the cracks in your walls.
In order to eliminate your sinkhole situation and restore stability to your structure, a capable foundation repair company will use the methods of compaction grouting and void filling. With compaction grouting, they will stabilize the soil under your structure by adding a thick mixture of cement and grout deep into the soil with the use of a limited access drill. This mixture will permeate the voids in the soil to maximize the density of the soil and increase the load-bearing abilities of the soil. Compaction grouting also seals the top of the limestone layer so as to enable it to conquer any future complications.
With void filling, a professional foundation repair company can lift, repair, and reinforce the concrete slabs on your property that may have already been affected by the sinkhole. Void filling involves injecting high strength structural polyurethane foam beneath the concrete slabs or behind below grade concrete structures through the use of a pump that allows the foam to flood any empty spaces and steady the concrete against outside forces. This foam can cover a large area in a small amount of time and solidly bolster the concrete slab by hardening into a rock-hard, impermeable mass beneath the slab. The use of compaction grouting and void filling empowers the foundation repair company to combat the sinkhole and steady your structure with the minimal amount of disruption to your property.
In order to fix the cracks in your walls, your foundation repair company will use wall anchors to stabilize and increase the strength of your walls against external pressures. Wall anchors work to keep your walls from cracking again by being inserted deep into the soil outside of your home and then attached to your walls with an extremely strong rod. The foundation repair company can then use masonry restoration methods such as concrete patching, stone resurfacing, wall restructuring, and hole and void filling to get your walls looking as good as new again. With this complete package of comprehensive services, a foundation repair company can fix the cracks in your walls.
Which foundation repair company should fix the cracks in your walls?
About the time you notice cracks in your walls is the time when Solid Foundations can be there to solve your sinkhole problem. As a dependable family-owned and operated foundation repair company, Solid Foundations has an extensive twenty-five year history with resolving Florida sinkholes. Our sinkhole remediation skills include compaction grouting, void filling, wall repair, and masonry restoration as well as speedy response times and friendly customer service, so we have everything you need to stomp out the sinkhole activity that is plaguing your property and to enjoy flawless and functional exterior walls once again. We are also in your area, as we serve many of the major cities all across Florida. So contact Solid Foundations today to learn more about our sinkhole remediation services that can answer your questions and fix the cracks in your walls.