The only sure thing in life is death and taxes…oh and cracks in concrete.
As concrete cures (hardens) it shrinks and cracks, as a result, all concrete cracks.
One of the most common forms of foundation cracks is the cracks that occur on the tops of the corners of foundations. The cracks can cause a triangular piece of concrete, sometimes called a wedge, to break loose from a foundation. It’s safe to say a majority of slab homes have cracks at the corner of the foundation, and in most cases these cracks are cosmetic in nature. Generally we note these cracks in our reports, not because of the severity of the crack, but rather because how scary the crack appears to home buyers.
Not to worry.
These common cracks result when the brick veneer expands when it is heated by the sun. As the brick veneer expands it pushes outward on the foundation. The frictional forces on the concrete surface cause the foundation to crack at the corner.
Are Foundation Corner Cracks Structural?
Most of the time, wedge cracks or corner cracks are not indicative of a structural performance issue. The most common cause is temperature changes. In the summer, the ground is cooler than the air. Because your foundation sits on the ground (and because you air condition our home) your foundation tends to stay much cooler than the air. The difference between the air temperature and the temperature of your foundation will be greatest on hot summer days.
The bricks on your home have a lot of surface area exposed to the air. The bricks are also isolated from your air-conditioned air by insulation. Bricks on the south and west sides of homes catch the hot afternoon sun. In the summer, your bricks will get hotter than the air.
Your bricks heat up and expand while your foundation does not. As the bricks expand, they slide sideways on your foundation. The movement can be just enough for the bricks to pull on the corner of your foundation and crack it loose.
Most of the time, wedge cracks just mean that you home could have used another expansion joint when it was built. Wedge cracks are often not the result of foundation movement.
Repairing Foundation Corner Cracks
Repairing wedge cracks, in most circumstances, are a matter of personal preference and not something that must be done. Remember, badly repaired foundation cracks are uglier than unrepaired cracks.
To repair a wedge crack, have a contractor mortar or epoxy the loose piece back in place. If you are going to do the repair yourself, be careful to match the concrete color. If you use epoxy be careful to avoid getting excess glue on your foundation.
Here’s a helpful DIY video if you would like to repair the wedge crack yourself.
In extreme cases, the wedge will no longer adequately support the brick veneer; when this happens, the corner will need to be repaired by a qualified general contractor or masonry specialist.
Houston Area Foundation Inspections
Imperial Pro’s affordable precision foundation inspections are our most utilized service that realtors, home buyers, sellers, investors, flippers, contractors, landlords and homeowners need the most. Imperial Pro is not in the business of foundation repair. We offer our clients the value of our unbiased industry-leading foundation inspections that our clients trust. Foundations in our area should be professionally inspected annually as part of regular home maintenance. Schedule your foundation inspection today. #lovewhereyoulive