When to Call in the Experts If You See Cracks in Your Slab
Your home may be your castle, but it's only going to be as strong as the foundation that it's built on. This is why home builders pay so much attention to the concrete slab, to ensure that it is properly designed and laid and will counter the various forces that mother nature exerts on a daily basis. While a concrete slab is the best all-round surface upon which to build a typical house, it's not completely fail safe and from time to time you may need to conduct repairs. What should you be on the lookout for?
A Fact of Life
Some people throw their hands up in horror whenever they notice a crack in or around their home. It's as if they believe this should never happen, but in truth it's just going to be a fact of life. Many of the cracks that you may see in your walls, and to a certain extent, in the slab, are just a result of settlement or the natural movement of the ground beneath. They're not necessarily a cause for concern.
What Can Go Wrong
Sometimes, sizeable variations in daily temperature (as can be quite commonplace in Australia) can cause cracks to develop through expansion and contraction. Sometimes, it can be the buildup of forces that create weakness, which in turn can manifest a crack as time goes by. Most properties across the country will have some type of issue with the foundation due to changes in soil and climate.
What to Look Out For
When should you be paying more attention to this type of development? If you notice that doors no longer seem to be opening properly, or your windows jam for no apparent reason, this could signify a more significant shift. You may also notice some cracks in the mortar, or if you have a basement in the home, you may notice water appearing on the floor.
You can start off by ensuring that the area around your home is properly tended. Don't allow large amounts of mud and dirt to pile up against the structure and ensure that all downpipes are unclogged. Also, you can ensure that the soil around the perimeter is not overly dry.
Calling in the Experts
If the cracks that you're noticing are relatively small, you can probably fix these yourself using an epoxy to fill in the gaps. However, if you're especially worried about the size or number of cracks that have appeared, you should call in a concreting expert to see what can be done. In some cases, it may be necessary to drill holes in the slab and insert cement or sand to stabilise it, or even place special piers to give full support.