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John Maxoutopoulis

Cracks in Your Concrete? Why They're Dangerous and What to do About Them

When you take a walk around your block, do you see many cracked sidewalks and driveways? What about concrete porches with cracks? Even if they're minor cracks, they may pose a danger to the property and to the homeowner. If those cracks are in concrete on your own property, it's important to understand how they can affect you now and down the road.

All Cracks Aren't Bad

The truth is that concrete will always crack. Just because you spot a crack in the concrete on your property, that doesn't mean you're headed for financial disasters. In fact, even reinforced concrete may crack. The rebar needs time to settle, but, before that happens, the concrete can crack. Many times, the cracks are so small or narrow that you'll have a hard time seeing it at all. If you have to get close to see it, the crack most likely doesn't pose a risk to your property.

The point to consider is the gap that the crack creates between the two sides of the concrete. If the gap is less than a quarter of an inch, it's probably not going to pose a problem. However, once you see a gap larger than that, it may be time to take a closer look. In this case, look at each side to see if the concrete has moved at all. If there has been movement and the concrete is a part of the home, such as a basement floor, it may be in your best interests to contact a restoration company. Movement can indicate a larger problem with the home's foundation.

Fixing Cracked Concrete

How cracked concrete is repaired will vary on the severity of the crack, the location and purpose of the concrete, and whether the crack indicates a larger problem. For instance, a restoration company may be able to simply coat an outdoor slab of patio concrete with an epoxy sealant. This can protect the concrete against damage caused by unpleasant weather and other factors, so additional cracks won't form.

However, if the crack is in a basement floor, you will definitely need a professional to examine the foundation and determine what actions need to be taken. If the concrete floor is older, additional cracks may soon form. In that case, it will probably be advisable to have a new floor poured now rather than later. Additional repairs may also be necessary.

Before you do act, check your homeowner's insurance policy to see how your coverage extends in this area. You may be able to file a claim that will help you offset the costs. It may also be a good idea to ask if the new flooring will be covered by a warranty, as well as any foundation work that needs to be done. When a significant crack does appear, acting to repair it soon can help you avoid a worsening condition that may cost you even more money down the road. If you're unsure, it's better to ask a professional than take the chance that one crack won't turn into a larger problem.

John Maxoutopoulis

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