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Dealing With Stem Wall Cracks Northford, CT

Dealing With Stem Wall Cracks Northford, CT 

Have you noticed wall cracks in your stem wall? These cracks can seem scary. You may even begin to question the integrity of your foundation. But this isn’t the time to panic. It’s time to find a solution and ensure your foundation’s integrity. 

Defining Stem Walls

Stem walls are a part of the foundation that are raised above grade. They were common as they were considered cheaper to construct than slab-on-grade foundations or basements. This is because constructing stem walls requires less cement. These walls rise to between 18 inches to 2 feet above the ground. Below grade, these walls can go to about a foot and a half to provide support. The underground section of the stem wall is referred to as the footing. When a subfloor is attached to the stem wall, the space is often referred to as a crawlspace. 

Wall Cracks in Stem Walls 

Stem walls are basically a type of raised foundation. The walls are therefore vulnerable to many of the problems experienced by foundation walls in other types of foundations. This includes the development of wall cracks.

The two main causes of cracks in stem walls are: 

  • Settlement – homes don’t stay in the same position after completion. They shift continually. This is known as settling. This movement is natural. However, when the soils around the f oundation are expansive, they will shrink and cause more rapid settlement. This will result in wall cracks. 
  • Foundation heaving – this occurs when the soils around the foundation soak up a lot of water and expand. The expanding soil pushes the foundation upward. While this is less common, it does happen and does result in cracks in the stem walls. 

Stem wall cracks don’t occur suddenly. They develop over time. Cracks in your foundation therefore may not be the first sign of trouble. You may notice other signs of foundation issues such as: 

  • Cracks in drywall 
  • Ceiling cracks 
  • Concrete slab cracks 
  • Cracks in your chimney 
  • Leaning of your chimney 
  • Uneven or sloping floors 
  • Sticking doors and windows 
  • Windows and doors not fitting into their frames 
  • Stucco cracks 
  • Water leaks 
  • Mold and mildew infestations 

Repairing Stem Wall Cracks 

Repairing cracks in stem walls is not a DIY job. The stem wall is your foundation. A lot of care andfoundation-repair-killingworth-ct-budget-dry-waterproofing-3 consideration goes into repair to ensure that it is done right. Hiring a professional will ensure the safety of the structure as well as your own personal safety during the repair process. 

Repairing the actual cracks often involves the application of a gravity-fed epoxy. Holes are drilled into the walls and the epoxy is applied. Because the epoxy is gravity fed, it will flow through the cracks. This works to seal the cracks. 

Because the cracks are a point of weakness in the walls, reinforcement of the wall is required. In many instances, carbon fiber staples are used. These work to hold the crack together and prevent further movement. Epoxy may be applied thereafter. 

Crack repair should also include the installation of supports for the foundation to prevent movement. These may take the form of push piers or helical piers. 

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