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Foundation Problem Signs

Stair-Step Cracks in Brick & Walls

Stair-Step Cracks in Brick & Walls

At ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing, we're experts in identifying the early warning signs of stair step cracks, understanding their root causes, and recommending effective repair solutions, all backed with a warranty for your peace of mind.

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Over 66 Years of Expertise

Stair-step cracks in brick and concrete block foundation walls act as red flags, indicating a potentially significant foundation problem. These issues can range from soil settlement to foundation movement and shouldn’t be ignored, as they can jeopardize the structural integrity of your home.

What Are Stair-Step Cracks?

These cracks, resembling a staircase, manifest as vertical lines on the mortar or bricks, with some appearing wider than others. Causes might include foundation settlement, movement within concrete foundation walls, or even wall bowing. Recognizing these early can help homeowners address the problem before it escalates.

Symptoms to Look Out For

  1. Visible movement in the wall, including hairline to severe cracks.
  2. Cracks in drywall, particularly around window and door frames.
  3. Window and door frame misalignments leading to jamming or improper closure.
  4. Misalignment between basement or upstairs walls and floors.
  5. Nail pops as indicators of wall movement due to foundation issues.
  6. Gaps appearing along the foundation joints.

A thorough diagnostic assessment, encompassing visual examination, moisture tests, and laser leveling, is essential to determine the extent and cause of these stair-step cracks. Homeowners should approach this problem with caution and lean on professional expertise for the best remedies.

Causes Behind Stair-Step Cracks

  • Expansive clay soils.
  • Differential foundation movement.
  • Fluctuations in temperature and moisture causing uneven expansion rates between bricks and mortar.
  • Hydrostatic pressure impacting the foundation wall.

Waterproofing as a Solution

To avoid further damage post-diagnosis, consider waterproofing. It provides a protective layer to foundation walls, warding off water. Key waterproofing steps include:

  • Installing a drainage system to divert water, reducing hydrostatic pressure against the foundation – a primary reason for wall failure.
  • While waterproof coatings and sealants can form barriers, they aren’t permanent solutions. It’s like the tale of the boy plugging a dam hole with his thumb; eventually, un-drained water can lead to new cracks and openings.
  • For superior protection against water damage, ensure proper drainage. The Channel ‘58 drainage system boasts unparalleled capacity, draining water twice as quickly and efficiently as competitors.

Take Action

If stair-step cracks appear in your foundation walls, don’t wait. Schedule a free inspection with us. Whether in east TN, GA, SC, NC, VA, DC, MD, DE, or PA, we’re here to guide you. Remember, early detection and understanding the signs can save you considerable time, money, and stress in the future.

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