Like many Toronto-area homes, commercial properties can also suffer from cracks and water leaks in their foundations. This includes a wide range of structures such as schools, airports, shopping centres, churches, hospitals, factories, warehouses and restaurants etc.
When these types of commercial properties suffer from foundation cracks and other issues the most common types of repairs include the installation of steel piers, drilled piers, helical piers, commercial concrete pilings, wall anchoring solutions, push pier systems and custom-engineered specified designs.
Common Commercial Foundation Issues
Most foundation problems are the result of soil-related issues. These include things such as soil shrinkage, over-saturated soil, flooding, frequent temperature changes, the structure’s weight, plumbing leaks, poor drainage systems and gutter downspouts, loose soil and poor construction.
If you believe your commercial property has a foundation problem its a good idea to inspect the inside and outside of the building for signs such as: wall, slab or ceiling cracks; uneven or sloping floors; leaning or bowing walls; sticking windows and doors; chipping, flaking,crumbling, or sinking foundation; a shifting or moving foundation.
Unfortunately, cracks in the foundation can still occur even after preventative measures and leak-detection systems have been implemented. You may keep your gutters free and clear, have a sump pump installed and have properly graded the property from the foundation but still suffer from cracks.
Common Types Of Commercial Foundation Cracks
There are two common types of commercial foundation cracks which can be categorized as horizontal/vertical, and shrinkage. With shrinkage, the cracks are usually found in buildings with poured concrete while horizontal/vertical cracks are typically caused by water or soil pressure. Foundation cracks can cause serious damage and both block and poured concrete foundations can crack since mortar and concrete shrink when they dry.
Most cracks originate in 90-degree corners of a structure and if you find any it’s recommended that you monitor them by measuring the width of a crack. If you notice the crack widening at one end it’s likely getting worse and if you find any cracks that measure half-an-inch or wider in width then you should seek professional help from a qualified contractor.
On the bright side, some cracks are just aesthetic in nature and don’t need to be treated. Angular cracks can often be found in the upper section of brick walls which have been directly laid on concrete foundations. Cracks can form in the upper levels of commercial buildings above doors, archways and windows and can be signs of settlement but are often just relief joints.
The size of the cracks can change when the temperature varies and you might be able to control them by using a humidifier in the winters and a dehumidifier during the summers. Hairline cracks are quite common in basement floors and usually only need to be inspected if they reach half-an-inch or more in width. They can often be filled in with urethane caulk or hydraulic cement.
Nusite Group Commercial Contractors
Nusite Group has been serving Toronto and the surrounding GTA for over 30 years. We specialize in commercial waterproofing and foundation repairs. Contact us today for a free on-site estimate and inspection.