How to Identify and Manage Structural Damage
Are you observing new cracks on your walls? To the naked eye, these cracks would feel normal and obvious. Some of them would actually be minor and could be tackled with helical wires or just be ignored.
But wide cracks are a sign of genuine structural damage.
How to identify structural damage?
The assessment of structural damage in a building is based on several factors like the type of crack, it’s width, foundation or settlement.
They type of crack could vary from negligible, very slight, slight, moderate, severe, and very severe. Depending on the crack, repair techniques can be decided by you with help of the engineers.
Here are a few indicators of structural cracks-
- Sloping floors
- Slanted doors
- Uneven roof
- Sticking doors or windows
- Frames of door and window pulling away
- Horizontal cracks along the walls
- Vertical cracks getting wider at the bottom
Another way to identify cracks is through motion magnification where small vibrations within a large building are recorded and depending on their frequency instability is accessed.
The motion magnification way gives insight into the smallest crack or structural damage in a building that appears fixed to the eyes.
Managing structural damages
Before you start managing or repairing the damage, the most factor is to analyse the type of damage.
While hairline cracks less than 0.1mm and differential settlement less than 3cm can be ignored, the differential settlement exceeding a width of 13mm indicates that the overall stability of the building is in danger.
This kind of severe crack indicates that the foundation needs repairing. Two of the easiest ways to repair the foundation are-
In underpinning, the foundation is excavated from beneath and extra concrete is poured into it. This method is comparatively difficult than mini-piling.
In this method, piles are driven or bored through the weak soil to a stronger level where the structure can be safe and secure.
Securing the foundation is vital, but when the damage isn’t in the foundation you may consider-
- Resealing the door and window frames
- Filling the cracks with helical wires
- Replacing sagging roof
- Using epoxy injections
- Dealing with damaged drains
- Getting rid of extra trees or shrubs
While cracks are not detrimental to the building quality, it’s important to address them or take proactive measures to keep them from reaching the structural stage.
In the end, if you observe recurring damages then consult an expert and carry out an inspection of the interior and exterior of the building.