Cinder Block Wall Repair - Why It Might Be Needed

May 30, 2023

Cinder block walls remain popular for many reasons. The low cost attracts many people, and they are easy to install. When problems develop, however, a person needs to leave the repairs to the professionals. A person with little experience in these repairs may do more harm to the wall rather than fix it. Whether this wall is part of an independent structure or is used as the foundation for a building, it is best to call a professional to handle the repairs. Owners who do so find they save money and have peace of mind because they know the work was done correctly and the wall will remain standing for some time to come.

How Long Should a Cinder Block Wall Last?

People often assume a cinder block wall will last forever. The blocks are extremely resilient and hold up in extreme weather. They won't decay or deform and mold growth is never an issue. When properly cared for, cinder block walls may last a century or more. Very few materials hold up that long.

However, cinder block walls deteriorate with time. Exposure to the elements is one reason they do so. Sun exposure, for example, leads to the blocks drying out over time. They begin to expand and contract as temperatures change, which brings about cracking and the breakdown of the structural composition. A professional will know when a wall repair will suffice and when the wall must be replaced.

Common Problems with Block Walls

Many things may go wrong with a block wall. Some problems are minor, while others are extensive and put the entire wall and anything built upon it at risk. A professional will be able to determine the extent of the problem and how best to fix it. Their training and experience are invaluable when making this determination. What might they find with a block wall?

Bulging Walls

Bulging is a sign that water pressure has damaged the wall. The water may be the result of heavy rain in the area or overwatering. When the soil around the wall remains wet, the weight of the soil weakens the cinder block wall. If the area around the wall isn't properly graded, water may seep into the wall and lead to this problem. The first step involves grading the soil around the wall so the problem does not recur. Once this has been done, the wall can be repaired.

This problem needs to be addressed immediately. The bulging walls affect the structural integrity and may bring about dangerous cracking. A professional will determine the best way to address the problem. This repair may involve the installation of an I-beam system or the use of carbon-fiber mesh. They must examine the wall and the surrounding area to determine what steps should be taken to fix the existing problem and prevent it from happening again.

Diagonal Cracks

Diagonal cracks in a cinder block wall or interior drywall suggest the wall has settled in an unbalanced way or moved vertically. Both issues are causes for concern. Frost heaves are one reason for diagonal cracks, and cracks near the foundation corners suggest this may be the problem. Water and frost combined can lead to the foundation of a building or wall lifting and causing a crack of this type.

However, the crack may be the result of improper drainage, and the earth may settle deeper if the ground is extremely dry. The ground could shift and lead to cracks if the wall is located near an area of heavy traffic. Earthquakes are another cause of diagonal cracks in cinder block walls. A professional wall repair team will determine the cause of the crack and how best to fix it.

Vertical Cracks in Cinder Block Walls

Vertical cracks appear in block walls due to expansion and shrinkage. They aren't very common and may extend up and down or take a slightly diagonal bent. Most cinder block walls have a few cracks of this type, and they are rarely a structural concern.

The problem with vertical cracks is they allow water into the wall during heavy rains. A professional can easily fix these cracks with the help of epoxy or urethane. They drill small holes into the wall and insert this material. They then use a sealing material to ensure the crack is protected from additional damage. In most cases, this is enough to fix the problem permanently.

Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal cracks are the most concerning cracks for several reasons. Horizontal cracks are a sign the wall is in danger of collapsing. If there is anything constructed on the wall, it will collapse as well. The only way to know the age of the crack and its seriousness is to work with a block wall expert.

These cracks typically appear as a result of excessive water pressure. However, they may also be a sign of soil movement that has compromised the integrity of the wall. If the crack is seen alongside a bulging wall, do not delay. The structural integrity is severely compromised and any person or thing near the wall is in danger.

The crack might also be a result of hydrostatic pressure caused by rain that freezes. Repairing the damage caused by this crack needs to be the top priority, which is why you need a block wall repair specialist immediately.

A Wall That Leans

Call for help when a cinder block wall leans or tilts to one side. Moisture underneath or around the wall may be leading to this issue. The problem may be the result of tree roots, vibrations, or heavy rain. Once the wall begins to lean, it may damage surrounding items. The wall might also fall over completely and break or harm things in its path when it comes down.

A specialist may be able to repair the wall without taking it down. The contractor must first identify the cause of the problem and correct it. Once this has been done, they may use anchors or helical tiebacks to make the repairs.

This task is not one the average person should attempt on their own. A mistake when stabilizing the wall could lead to it leaning further or collapsing. The owner then becomes responsible for any damage done when the wall comes down. The masonry specialist will take steps to ensure this does not happen, using rebar if needed to reinforce the wall.

Compacted Bricks

Excessive water pressure leads to compacted bricks. Water attempts to move through the wall, leading to the compaction. When viewing the wall, the owner will notice this wall looks uneven. Bricks look as if they are popping out of the wall in different areas. The wall may also look as if is bowing and the mortar may appear cracked in places. When one brick compacts, other blocks will soon follow. The entire wall is compromised.

A masonry expert will examine the wall to find the source of the problem. They first address the source before repairing the affected blocks. In some cases, the blocks must be replaced. In addition, if the block wall serves as the foundation of a structure, push piers may be needed to underpin the foundation and provide it with additional support.

Accidental Damage

Some walls are more prone to damage than others. For example, a block wall situated near a busy road may be damaged when a car goes off this road. A person cannot prepare for this type of situation, as no maintenance will prevent the damage caused by an unexpected event of this type. Fortunately, the person responsible for this accident will often be financially responsible for any damage they caused or their insurer will cover the cost.

Call a masonry expert for help right away in this situation. Leaving the matter unresolved could lead to additional damage to the wall that the responsible party will not need to cover. The owner must act in a timely manner to ensure all repairs or a replacement will remain the driver's responsibility.

Always leave block wall repair to the experts. These walls are made up of individual pieces. Attempting to fix the wall could lead to more damage because it is hard to know how deep the damage is. In many cases, the whole wall must be repaired or reinforced.

Any mistakes made during the repair process could put humans and other structures at risk. The homeowner's insurance policy may not cover this damage, as the repairs were not handled properly. The homeowner then bears the expense of paying for any damage that was caused.

Turning to a masonry expert actually saves the homeowner money. Doing so also provides them with peace of mind. They know the work was done correctly, and they don't need to worry about additional problems with the wall. Make the call today. Owners who do so find they feel better once they know the problem they are facing and how it will be corrected. They can make a plan to get the work done quickly and correctly with this information.

Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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