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How a Coin Can Determine if Foundation Repair is Needed

Posted on October 08, 2013

Cracks in the foundation of their home may be a cause for concern to homeowners, especially when it comes to costly repairs or having to vacate the place because of them. But how to know whether your foundation problem is something you should worry about now, or you just have to keep an eye on it to see how it progresses?

Experts rely on a very simple trick to determine how fast a foundation problem needs to be addressed. The rule of thumb is that if the crack in the foundation is 2 mm in width, it needs immediate attention, anything lower must be monitored, and anything higher requires extreme measures because the structure is becoming unstable and can be dangerous.

This is all fine and dandy, but how can you, the homeowner, determine whether you need to call in a professional when you don’t have the appropriate instruments? The answer is in your pocket, mixed in with your spare coins. With a US nickel, which is 2mm thick, you can figure out quickly and easily whether you need professional foundation repair right away. Simply try to slide the nickel into the crack, and if it fits, call the experts.

measure crack1Foundation problems rarely give warning signs until it is too late, so it is a good idea to do this test periodically and to have your foundation checked at least once a year if you suspect any issues. If you find a crack that is less than 2 mm, the professionals will install a special device which will be checked annually to determine if it has grown larger or has not shown any change. This will help them find the best course of action to repair the foundation of your home before it is too late.

Keep in mind that not all cracks in your home’s foundation are a cause for alarm. Concrete, the material from which a foundation is manufactured, tends to react to shifts and ground movement by cracking, and sometimes these cracks will show on the surface. Cracks that are 0.1 to 0.3 mm in width are considered insignificant when measuring the degree of damage present, and pose no effect on the structure of the building. Cracks that are 0.3 to 1 mm in width are not dangerous, but can cause a negative impact on the aesthetic appearance of the building, and should be fixed.

Once a crack measures between 1 and 2 mm, it is time to start contacting a foundation repair specialist, since these types of cracks are large enough to absorb moisture and will accelerate the natural weathering of the building. Any width beyond 2 mm is a potential risk, as the stability of the building is affected, which can endanger life and property, unless it is repaired.

So remember, cracks should be a source of worry if a nickel can fit in them, but all cracks should be evaluated by a professional to determine how fast they are growing and find the best way to repair them.

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