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Common Causes of Cracks in Concrete Walls

When many people think of concrete, they first conjure images of its rigidity and strength. However, concrete can also be prone to stresses that can cause damage that leads to cracks. In concrete walls, cracks can cause considerable problems that can undermine the strength and integrity of the walls. It can also lead to leaking, especially in subterranean walls that are continuously exposed to moisture.  

Often, one or more factors are responsible for cracking in concrete walls. Unfortunately, concrete cracking can’t be prevented in most cases. However, concrete cracks can be remedied through concrete wall leak repair. Concrete crack repair doesn’t require specific skills or experience as long as you have a quality crack sealer and a little extra time. Keep reading to learn about a few of the causes responsible for the majority of concrete wall cracks. 

Drying Shrinkage

The drying phase is critical to the eventual integrity of concrete structures, and that’s also true for concrete walls. Concrete bonds and sets through a process called hydration. When water and cement come into contact in the concrete mix, a chemical reaction results in the creation of substances that cause the concrete to set. When the water in the concrete evaporates too quickly, the result can be cracking as the concrete shrinks at varying rates. 

Thermal Expansion and Contraction

Another common cause of concrete wall cracking is thermal expansion and contraction. Concrete, like other solid materials, expands when it warms and contracts as it cools. That constant expansion and contraction can cause cracks over time, as concrete is not a flexible substance. 

Foundational Settlement

Concrete walls depend on the subgrade foundation upon which they sit. Soil in some areas can be dynamic, which means it changes and shifts often in response to environmental forces, water movement, and subterranean factors. When the foundation of a concrete wall shifts, there’s nothing left to support the great weight of the wall. Concrete is brittle when exposed to those forces, which means that cracks can develop easily. 

Applied Forces

Cracks can also develop based on the applied forces placed upon the wall. For example, walls that bear the load of supporting other parts of the structure can crack as a result. Hydrostatic pressure or use of heavy equipment near the wall can also generate enough force to crack concrete. 

Though there’s little that can be done to mitigate the forces that cause concrete cracks, concrete wall leak repair is easy to accomplish with a quality leak sealer and a little effort. As cracks develop, they can be repaired by even a moderately handy homeowner so that they don’t lead to substantial leaks in the future. 

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