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Got Cracks? (In your Foundation?)

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The Healthy Home Show wX Don Derry

The Healthy Home Show wX Don Derry


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Cracks in your foundation can mean serious problems have started or they are about to start. Cracks can be a sign of foundation settlement, Water intrusion and even termites or Radon gas. Protect your family and the Health of your home. Join us for an in depth talk about cracks in your foundation and how to repair and what are they a sign of.  The Healthy Home Show with Don Derry @816-505-9990 or www.kcwaterproofing.com.


1:35 Don Derry

Good morning Kansas City! This is Don Derry with The Healthy Home Show here on Blog Talk Radio. I'm so glad you got to join me today. It is Friday morning, 8:00 and it is absolutely beautiful outside. High atop of the Weatherby Lake tower here overlooking that beautiful lake. It's just a great day, the sun's out and it looks like spring might, just might, be here. You never know around Kansan City. Hey, I'm so glad you're joining me today for The Healthy Home Show. It is a great day. I'm the owner of KC Waterproofing, Foundation and Environment Solution. We are the foundation fixers, and this is my show, The Healthy Home Show, where we talk about all types of foundation repair, waterproofing, mold problems, anything to do with the health of your home and keeping your home safe and sound for you and your family. It is what The Healthy Home Show is all about. Well, for over 29 years now, I've been assessing and repairing residential and commercial foundations here in the Kansas City area. I'm a certified structural repair specialist and a certified waterproofing repair specialist through the Basement Health Association, which is a national organization that all waterproofing companies should belong to. Also, I've certified in indoor air quality, mold removal, testing Radon and my asbestos license. So, when it comes to creating a healthy home, we know all about helping you, make sure that the air that you breathe is good in your home. If there is anything I can do to help you, please give us a call at 816-505-9990.

3:27 Don Derry

Well hey, if you're home is showing signs of aging, maybe you've got doors or windows that won't open or close or how about cracks in your Sheetrock, maybe you've got water in your basement, maybe a musty smell emerging from below, well, I'm gonna give you some great information which can lead to solutions for your troubled home. Be sure to call the office at 816-505-9990, mention Blog Talk Radio and you will receive an additional discount off of any work that you need done. Also, I'd love to meet you and talk to you. If you have any recommendations or you would love to come on to the show, why don't you give me a call at 310-388-9739, that's 310-388-9739 or follow me on Twitter, follow me on Facebook. Just look me up and I'd love to be friends with you. Hey, today, we're gonna be talking about cracks. Yes, and I mean cracks in your foundation, okay, that's what I said. And you know, cracks in your home means serious problems have started or they are about to start. Cracks can be a sign of foundation settlement, cracks can be a sign of water intrusion, and cracks can even allow termites into your home and/or Radon gas. So you know, it's time to protect your family and the healthy of your home. So today, we're gonna talk about cracks in your foundation. We probably will not get to how to repair them but we're at least gonna go through the types of cracks because there are different types of cracks and you really need to know about that because there, I even read some literature about a company here in Kansas City and here's what they say: when is a crack a structural concern?

5:23 Don Derry

It says very rarely that cracks present structural threat to the integrity of your foundation. One of the major misconceptions about foundation cracks is that they are automatic red flags that indicate a more serious foundation problem. Wow. I tell you, I'm here, I've been doing this for 29 years now folks, and if you get a crack in the foundation that all of a sudden occurs, typically, it is a sign of something that is starting to happen. Now, there are you know shrinkage cracks just because concrete is, it's a hard object. It consists of primarily cement, sand, gravel and water, which means that, you know, it can crack, and it can shrink. So I'm not talking about a little tiny hairline crack in your foundation, my gosh! I'm talking about a crack that's substantial. I'm talking about different types of crack. I'm talking about you know settlement cracks, horizontal cracks, lateral cracks, block wall cracks. We're talking about the happy crack, yeah I know, we're gonna talk about the happy crack today. And also the heaving cracks. And then there is another type of horizontal crack we're gonna talk about today. So let's get started. If you'd like to talk to me, 310-388-9739 right here waiting for your call. Hey, so how's foundations or other parts of you home that are in contact with the soil, sometimes will settle? And you've heard me say this before, this occurs when the soil that is load bearing has inadequate density or moisture becomes dry, the foundation or the footing of the foundation settles and causes a foundation to move or crack.

7:21 Don Derry

So, the first type of crack I'd like to talk about is the settlement crack. The settlement crack is probably one of the biggest concern, that's why i called it number one right? So nearly always, these cracks are vertical. It typically goes straight up and down every time. The reason they occur is because the dry weather or the load bearing strata, the soil, that's underneath the home has settled or subsided and it actually allowed the foundation to drop, drop down, and that causes the settlement crack. This crack occurs at each end of the wall and usually cracks in the middle. Typically when this crack occurs, it's maybe tight at the top, wider at the bottom, it could be offset a little bit showing some differential movement, but this is a serious type of crack and this crack needs to be looked at right away. And so if you have these cracks, this is considered a settlement crack. You know, please give us a call because typically when you get one crack, where there is an action there is always a reaction. So typically, if there is one crack, there tends to be another crack. And you know, sometimes cracks comes off of the corner of the windows in the basement, that's a very common place because that's what we call a man-made opening, that opening in the foundation that you know, the foundation is a little weaker, so it tends to break in that you know least resistance place. But settlement cracks you know are very, very dangerous.

9:09 Don Derry

If drainage is poor, these cracks allow you know deep penetration by water, typically by saturated soils lower down and they will cause a very expansive movement, they'll cause the foundation to settle, they'll cause the upper structure to move. So that's a settlement crack. The other crack we're talking about today is a horizontal crack going across. And you know, once again, I looked at this little flyer about you know this other company here in Kansas City that says, you know conventional wisdom seems to be the horizontal cracks for automatically structural problems. The fact is horizontal cracks can be treated just like vertical cracks. That is absolutely insane. I don't know. Who in the world, no wonder I think they're out of business now, so that would probably make sense because they don't know what the heck they're talking about. So let's talk about that, a horizontal crack in your foundation. You go downstairs, you look at the wall and you go, oh my gosh there is a horizontal crack! Well typically, a horizontal crack is due to pressure from water on the exterior. It's due to the gutters, the down spouts, the grade on the outside that's allowing water to push up against the clay soil. When the clay soil gets wet, it expands. And when it expands, it pushes on the foundation. Now the other problem is is when it gets really dry, it pushes also. Horizontal cracks, you're gonna see a lot of times on a block wall because the blocks have a tendency to move in the middle or you know mid top part of the foundation and they'll create a straight line and a drop down to a stair stepping crack down the side.

11:04 Don Derry

So you know, horizontal cracks are definitely something that you wanna be concerned about. The wall needs to be inspected to make sure that the foundation is stable. The exterior needs to be inspected to ensure that the grade is proper around the foundation. So we just don't wanna push these off to say they're no big deal and they can just be handled you know normally because if you get a crack in the foundation, you need to have it inspected. That is the most common practice of a foundation, you know, of a home is to have that foundation inspected when you have something like that. Don't just push it off and say, oh it's just normal. So you know typically, those horizontal cracks are due to the water pressure, they may appear in the middle of the wall and then go angle off at the ends which a lot of times they'll do because you know, sometimes they can push in the middle, sometimes they're pushing at the top and we'll talk about those two. There is another type of horizontal crack, let's go and talk about that because I don't' want any confusion out there. You know, another type of horizontal crack is one that is straight across. I mean, it's straight as an arrow, looks like somebody just planned it. Because typical cracks in the foundation aren't just gonna be straight across. So when you get a crack that's exactly straight across, I mean it's you know, 3 feet up and it goes straight across the foundation. That's typically due to a piece of rebar -- sorry I need a little bit more coffee there for this morning -- but a piece of rebar can go through you know -- let's back up.

12:51 Don Derry

So when you have a horizontal crack, a crack straight across that is due to a piece of rebar that's in the foundation, what happens is when the rebar is placed in the forms, when they pour concrete wall, they put two aluminum or metal forms, one on each side, they hold those forms together with what's called a wall tie and that wall tie is what keeps the strength that holds them together while you pour all that heavy concrete inside the form and they stay there until it sets up completely. Well what ends up happening is when that wall is poured, that crack goes straight across. Well if they don't tie the rebar to the middle of the wall because rebar in most __13:37__ documents when it talks about concrete placement, it needs to be at least 2-1/2 to 3 inches embedded into the concrete so that it's protected. Because concrete is porous, concrete is like a sponge. So it actually pulls water in, all the kind, that's why we waterproof walls from the exterior when they are brand new. So what ends up happening is if water gets in their and the rebar when the concrete was placed, it pushes it out towards the edge so it's like within an inch or so of the edge of the concrete inside the foundation or outside the foundation. And what ends up happening is water attacks that rebar, it actually creates rust and causes corrosion. And when it causes corrosion, that rebar will rust and that rebar expands and pops, and when I talk about popping, the skin of the concrete literally pops and it makes it crack that looks like it's straight across the foundation. Now that is typically not a structural issue.

14:51 Don Derry

It's something that, you know, the concrete has to be chipped off, it needs to be cleaned up, but it's not a structural issue. It's just because of the corrosion that happens on the rebar, the expansion, the oxidation, that happens because that rebar is too close to the skin of the concrete. It should be deeper inside of the concrete. So that's the other horizontal crack okay. So then you get lateral cracks. Now lateral cracks happen a lot and we'll see this a lot during after an extreme dry period when we start going into a really rainy season. The soil, you know, when it's dry, it pulls away from the foundation while when soil gets wet, it expands and when it expands, it pushes on the wall and this creates lateral cracks and lateral cracks occur because of the soil pressure. What happens during that soil pressure is that the poured walls will have a tendency to have a diagonal crack. Usually, you know, you can take say a 40-foot foundation wall in front of your house and you can go in 10 feet on each side, draw a line down at an angel and that would be your diagonal cracks. And then what's happening is with the poured foundation wall, typically a poured wall will bow at the top, it'll lean at the top because that's the weak spot. So you'll see the two diagonal lateral cracks on each side and you'll see the middle starting to move inward. And I mean, literally they can bow inward. I mean concrete is an amazing thing and when you see the different things that it can be stressed to, you know, because of the soil pressure and the way that the house is tied together at the top, it's absolutely amazing.

16:49 Don Derry

So when you get a lateral crack, typically you get you know, it's a little bit wider crack, it's gonna be always at a diagonal, it's gonna be offset a little bit representing that that wall has you know started to move inward and it's gonna show that that wall is actually pushing in at the top and bowing inward and that's very common in the Kansas City area especially with the clay soil that we have here in Kansas City. Well then we talk about cracks in block walls. So a block foundation, we have a lot of those in the Prairie Village area, lot of those over in some of the midtown area. But there are still a lot of block walls that were built back in the 50s and block walls have a tendency of having no steal inside of the wall. So when I say that is, there is no rebar that will split inside the hallow parts of the block. So, when the block gets pressure due to soil on the outside of it, it has a tendency of bowing or pushing inward. Now block walls will typically get that horizontal crack going straight across and then as you go towards each end, it will actually stair-step down so it'll just drop down side-to-side, and that's very common for a block foundation wall to stair-step on each side and that's probably, I mean, you can take it to a text book every time a block wall will do the same thing and it's just, it's really due to the water pressure. And that's why we talk so much on The Healthy Home Show about foundation maintenance and you know the whole first part of this year I've talked about how to maintain your foundation, what to do to make sure that you have a solid healthy foundation all the time and that's part of it.

18:45 Don Derry

So you gotta be very careful about that and making sure that the foundation, the grade on the outside, the gutters, the down spouts, you know, everything is good. That's why quit planting all the trees right up next to your house where you can't maintain the soil and you can't add anymore soil and quite adding mulch right up next to the house when mulch doesn't drain water, you gotta have dirt. So you know, when you look at your landscaping plan or you look at future plans and what you wanna do with the foundation or around your house, be sure to think about some of those things. So we'll talk about the happy crack. I know, that sounds kinda funny, but the happy crack is a crack that some people will see in a poured foundation wall that are usually around porches or a big porch on a house. Because what happens is on the outside of a foundation wall, you have these two arms, three arms and they're concrete arms that if you took your hand and you held your elbow, or you took your left hand and you put it underneath your elbow of your right hand and you just held your right hand out there at a slight angle, it would be considered, it kind of a cantilever out there. So what ends up happening is they pour these arms from the foundation wall, the big wall, out to these little arms that stick out from the wall, at about 3 feet most of the time and they're at an angle, and that's what you pour your porch on top of and that supports your porch for a while until the porch of the soil settles underneath which happens all the time.

20:41 Don Derry

And those cantilever arms, they actually start to give and they start to move, they start to settle. And when they settle, they will typically rotate back inward to the house and they will crack the wall, and like I said, it looks like a happy crack or a sad crack sometimes depending on what the angle of the crack goes. But it will crack across and it will either go down or will go up, depending on what the pressure is. And this is what we call the happy or sad crack on the foundation, but typically that's due to a porch that is settling or you know that type of thing that's happening. So we're gonna talk about how to fix some of these things. I mean, that's part of these episodes that we'll go through, you know, kind of talk about the cracks and we'll talk about how to fix the certain types of cracks and what needs to be done and this is all to give you the education so that you can be an informed homeowner or building owner and make right decisions. So be sure to give us a call at KC Waterproofing, The Foundation Fixers at 816-505-9990. If you mention the Healthy Home Show on Blog Talk Radio, you get a special discount so be sure to mention the radio show. And pass it on to your friends, this is great information. I'm not trying to sell anything, you know you're a big person you can buy if you want and buy if you don't want. But basically, what I'm trying to do is educate you so that you are an informed homeowner and that's what I have done, that's why I teach, that's why I do the things that I do, is to help people with information. So when we talk about the next one, number 6, these are heaving cracks.

22:41 Don Derry

Heaving cracks are caused because of soil pressure, pushing upward and a lot of times, this is misdiagnosed by inexperienced foundation people which happens all the time in Kansas City, I cannot even believe it. But what happening is when the soil underneath the house is overly saturated by maybe a plumbing leak, maybe by a waterline break, maybe by some little drip that you didn't know about, improper drainage on the outside of the house, I mean a variety of different things, when that happens, that creates moisture underneath the foundation and when we have excess moisture under the foundation, what starts to happen is that soil will start to expand. And when you don't put gutters on the house, you don't have proper drainage around the outside, water not shedding away from the house, do not burry the down spouts, I have already talked about that that is probably the worst thing you can do. There are only certain circumstances where you ever wanna burry the down spouts because they clog up folks, they don't work over a long period of time and if you just want something to do to maintain and to work on all the time, then by George, burry them away, but I don't recommend it. But when you get a heaving crack, typically that crack is gonna be smaller at the bottom and it's gonna be wider at the top and that's gonna be your difference and a lot of times, people look at this as a settlement crack and it's not. It's due to the foundation that's heaving and people will pay a lot of extra money to fix a foundation when it's not really due to settlement, it's due to expansive soil.

24:49 Don Derry

Usually that is handled by removing water, by you know some pump drainage systems, those type of things. Those are the main types of cracks that you know, I have identified on here and obviously there are much more. One of the ones that I wanted to talk about because it gets misdiagnosed a lot, is when you look at the outside of a brick home and typically on the outside of a brick home, you find a little diagonal crack down at the bottom of the corners and it usually comes off at an angle on both sides and sheers off right on the corner. If you drive around and you look at any brick home in the Metropolitan area, you can almost all the time find these type of cracks. And everybody, these are not structural cracks. They're not because your foundation is failing. They're simply due to the heat transfer from the brick to the concrete and it happens all the time, especially in the summer months when the brick heats up, the concrete is cool, the basement is cool, that differentiation between the two temperatures causes that corner to break off. So that corner is not a structural issue so please don't get excited about that. I try, you know, to really help people to be very cautious about that. You know but really, when we talk about foundation cracks, they result from soil expansion, settling, shifting or movement under the foundation walls. They, you know, we talked about today, wall cracks they can occur horizontally, they can be vertically, and they can be diagonally. And each type of crack is an indicator of a different type of stress.

26:39 Don Derry

And you know, it can also, they can allow water in, they can allow Radon gas in, they can allow insects in to your basement __26:47__ space. So there's all types of things that can happen because of that and that's why you know repairing the foundation crack can help prevent leaks and seepage, it can protect against flooding your basement, it can help prevent some of the more serous foundation problems, it can prevent insects, it helps you know to reduce Radon gas from entering, it also helps to reduce you know, humidity and moisture levels in your foundation and in your home. And there's all kinds of different ways we can talk about you know how to fix a foundation crack and we're not gonna have enough time to do that today, but what I would like to do is talk a little bit about the rain, because the rain is gonna happen. You guys know as well as I do that rain is gonna start again and we're gonna start to experience that in Kansas City. And my goal is to help you prevent your basement from flooding or help something else from happening but you know, the nice thing about it is if you do need anything, as far as fixing a crack or you've got water in the basement or you're concern about some cracks in the foundation, I encourage you to give me a call at 816-505-9990.

28:20 Don Derry

We're gonna end today with "Feels Like Rain" because I think we're gonna get some rain here in Kansas City at some point. It's been my pleasure to be with you today on The Healthy Home Show. I hope you tell your friends about it, it's every Friday at 8 a.m. We will not have a show next week, next Friday. I will be gone so I'm not gonna do my show next Friday, but we'll pick that show up on the following Friday and that Friday is gonna be on, we'll pick you back up on the actually May 1st. So I look forward to seeing you on the May 1st on The Healthy Home Show on Blog Talk Radio. This is Don Derry signing off from Weatherby Lake this morning on a beautiful Friday. Have a great weekend! Happy Easter to everybody and happy Good Friday today. Call me if I can help 816-505-9990.