Cracked Ceiling Repair

Ceiling Cracks Offer Important Clues about Your Foundation

Ceiling cracks plague many homes in Plano, Texas, and the surrounding Dallas area. At best, they look unsightly. But at worst, they could flag an issue with your home’s foundation. So what’s really causing those cracks in your ceiling? And perhaps most importantly, what should you do about them?

Types of Ceiling Cracks

It’s important to educate yourself about the different types of cracks and their causes to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Knowing the difference between the types of ceiling cracks can save your home. First, it’s important to realize that all homes will move over time. This movement results from several factors, which we discuss later in this blog. However, cracks usually occur as the byproduct of one of two things:  natural aging or structural damage. Here are some of the most common cracks and what they can reveal.

“Spider Web” Cracks

These cracks have a center point and then spread out in different directions. The good news: these cracks are a regular part of settling and can occur in ceilings, walls, even floors. However, when it comes to spider web cracks, size matters. If the cracks are small, there isn’t much to get anxious about. On the other hand, if they are more than 1/16 inch wide, there could be a more significant structural problem.

Matching Vertical Cracks

Those cracks which run across the length of a ceiling and then continue down a wall along the same line point to structural damage, likely connected to a weak wall stud or something that was knocked loose in the settling of the home over time. Once again, size is relevant here.

Cracks along the Edges

Cracks along the edges of walls are usually the result of normal settling. You don’t have to be hyper-vigilant about these, but as a precaution, it’s a smart idea to mark where they start and finish so that you can monitor any growth. It’s those cracks that run across the entire length of the ceiling that can signal trouble. In these extreme cases, one or more foundation repair services may be necessary to avoid further damage and dangerous instability.

Causes of Ceiling Cracks

What causes cracks in ceilings? Now that you’re informed about the primary kinds of ceiling cracks, let’s take a look at some of the causes and how they impact your ceilings.

Moisture

One of the most common reasons is massive moisture damage from above the ceiling. Depending on which floor of your home you’re talking about, this could mean moisture has seeped into the floor above the ceiling. If it’s the upper level of your home, this may point to damage to the roof. Other sources may include plumbing leaks from the floor above. Significant changes in temperature can lead to cracks. As the air warms, building materials in your home will expand because they are exposed to excess moisture. Conversely, as the temperature drops, they will contract. Switching between hot and cold can put stress on the ceiling materials and joints, and lead to cracking.

Too Much Weight

A cracked ceiling either has another floor or attic space directly above it. So it’s entirely possible that the area above the ceiling is carrying too much weight. Prime examples are upper-level bathrooms; they need specific ceiling supports to bear the heavy weight of fixtures. Shortcuts taken during construction could lead to sagging or cracking.

Inferior Foundation

What do cracks in the ceiling mean for the future of your home’s foundation? A substandard foundation can cause a variety of structural problems, including damage to the ceiling. Remember this: the integrity of the foundation affects every component of your house. The minutest movement or settling in the foundation can alter load-bearing beams and cause small or large cracks.

Contact Align Foundation Today

Cracks in the ceiling aren’t just ugly to look at. They might also mean your home’s foundation is at risk. When in doubt, call the foundation repair experts at Align Foundation Repair. We know when a crack is a minor aesthetic problem and when it could be something more serious! If you would like a free professional evaluation of your foundation in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, contact us today and ensure a solid foundation for the future of your home.

Foundation Crack repair

How Different Soil Types Might Affect Your Dallas Home’s Foundation

No matter how solidly your home’s foundation is built, the soil variations in the Dallas area may have a lasting impact on the health of your home’s foundation. When the soil is filled with too much sand or clay, foundation issues have a habit of cropping up. Compromised soil affects the foundation, in turn affecting the home. If you suspect soil foundation trouble in your home, contact our Dallas foundation repair experts for a free evaluation and estimate. See below to learn about Texas soil types and how they may affect the future stability of your home.

Dallas: The Blackland Prairie

The Dallas region is part of Texas’s Blackland Prairie. Most of this region has relatively deep soil, which means the bedrock is far below the soil. In the western part of the Blackland Prairie, a chalk bedrock helps to support foundations. Throughout the rest of the region, that deep soil doesn’t provide any extra sturdiness to the foundations of Dallas homes. The soil in many areas of Dallas County slopes, which affects how the water runs through it and whether water will collect near your foundation.

Clay

In the Blackland Prairie, you’ll find different kinds of clay that mostly compose the soil. Clay has the ability to hold much water, which is why its consistency changes so drastically when it’s wet versus when it’s dry. Unfortunately, clay expands when it’s wet and shrinks when it’s dry, which makes it an unstable soil for home foundations.

When clay starts to crack on the surface, that means it’s extremely dry and is no longer supporting your foundation. In the worst case situation, your foundation will start to shift as it seeks out the support it lacks from the clay. Because Dallas summers are dry and hot, summer is the season during which you have to worry about the clay soil damaging your foundation the most.

Loam

Some parts of Dallas County have soil with more loam in it, which is great news for your foundation. Loam is a mixture of sand, clay, and silt, and these three combine to create a stable soil that doesn’t experience much expansion or shrinkage due to water levels. As long as you don’t end up with a layer of clay on top of your loam soil, it will support your foundation beautifully. Keep in mind, though, that in the Dallas area, most loam soil mixes with clay, which reduces some of its sturdiest properties.

Sand

In a few Dallas County areas, you’ll find sandy soil, though even in these areas it’s still mixed with some clay. When sand is packed tightly, it creates a sturdy foundation that drains water away from your house quite well. Unfortunately, too much water can disturb even tightly packed sand, washing away key foundation support from beneath your home and causing foundation issues.

Be on the Lookout for Cracks

Due to the soil conditions of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, we advise homeowners to periodically “eyeball” their home interior and exterior for any signs of cracking. A crack does not necessarily indicate the origin of the problem, as the weakest point in the soil may not be directly underneath the crack. This is why it’s essential to bring in a foundation repair expert to pinpoint the specific problem areas.

Aside from direct repair, potential remedies may include a customized drainage solution to prevent future runoff water from collecting near the foundation.

Schedule a Free Estimate in Dallas-Fort Worth

Some foundation issues show up through visible cracks in your foundations. Other times, the changes are subtler. Pay attention to whether your interior doors are sticking or refusing to latch. Look for cracks in the walls, and pay attention to how well your windows are opening.

With so much clay in your soil, you have to keep an eye out for foundation issues in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, so you can call a professional before the problem gets out of hand.

Even the sturdiest foundation is heavily dependent on the soil it rests on. Our foundation repair services are diverse in order to address specific needs. Give us a call today to learn more about how soil and foundations affect each other, or for a free inspection and estimate.