Types of foundation cracks

Posted Mar 31, 2021 in Foundation Crack Repair, Waterproofing

Block wall crack

Dis­cov­er­ing a crack in the foun­da­tion of your home can be unset­tling, as this could rep­re­sent exten­sive dam­age to your home’s foun­da­tion, which could mean cost­ly repairs. How­ev­er, if you have dis­cov­ered a crack in your foun­da­tion you may be won­der­ing if all foun­da­tion cracks are the same, or if cer­tain cracks should be more cause for con­cern than oth­ers. The fact is that look­ing at the crack can tell you a lot about the dam­age to your foun­da­tion includ­ing what may have caused it and how severe the prob­lem is. To help you get a bet­ter under­stand­ing of foun­da­tion dam­age, here is a quick overview of the most com­mon types of foun­da­tion cracks.

Ver­ti­cal cracks

Of the foun­da­tion cracks you are like­ly to encounter, ver­ti­cal cracks are gen­er­al­ly the most com­mon and least severe type of crack you will come across. Ver­ti­cal cracks are cracks that go straight up and down, or maybe on a slight diag­o­nal of with­in 30 degrees of ver­ti­cal, and are a com­mon occur­rence in many hous­es. These types of cracks are usu­al­ly the result of your foun­da­tion set­tling, and it is thus­ly not uncom­mon even for new hous­es to have this type of foun­da­tion dam­age as a home’s foun­da­tion can set­tle great­ly in the first few years. For­tu­nate­ly, this type of crack is usu­al­ly the eas­i­est and least expen­sive to have sealed. Gen­er­al­ly, a ure­thane or epoxy mate­r­i­al will be inject­ed into the crack, ensur­ing that it is sealed and does reopen or grow as your foun­da­tion con­tin­ues to settle.

Diag­o­nal cracks

Anoth­er com­mon type of crack that you may encounter is a diag­o­nal crack that runs along your foun­da­tion or base­ment wall at a 30 – 75 degree angle. This type of crack may be a thin hair­line crack, but will like­ly be wider at one end than the oth­er. Diag­o­nal foun­da­tion cracks are caused by dif­fer­en­tial set­tling of a foun­da­tion, which is where one side of a home’s foun­da­tion set­tles low­er than the rest of the foun­da­tion. This type of uneven ten­sion then caus­es diag­o­nal crack­ing. Dif­fer­en­tial set­tling can be the result of the house being built on a hill, or due to the expan­sion or con­trac­tion of the soil under a por­tion of the home. This type of crack can be more cost­ly to repair than a ver­ti­cal crack since it may be nec­es­sary to address the cause of the dif­fer­en­tial set­tle­ment after the crack is sealed. How­ev­er, the solu­tion may be as sim­ple as installing new gut­ters so that rain­wa­ter directs away from a sec­tion of your prop­er­ly that reg­u­lar­ly becomes flood­ed, as this water could be caus­ing the soil under a por­tion of your foun­da­tion to shift.

Hor­i­zon­tal cracks

Foun­da­tion cracks that run side­ways (hor­i­zon­tal­ly) are the most seri­ous type of crack to look out for, as they can sig­nal seri­ous dam­age to your home’s foun­da­tion and struc­tur­al integri­ty. While these cracks are some­times seen in homes with poured con­crete foun­da­tions, they are most com­mon in homes with con­crete block or brick foun­da­tions. Sev­er­al things can cause this type of foun­da­tion dam­age includ­ing soil pres­sure out­side of your foun­da­tion, and hydro­sta­t­ic pres­sure that can cause your base­ment walls to bow. If you dis­cov­er this type of foun­da­tion dam­age it is impor­tant that you have it repaired as soon as pos­si­ble before the struc­tur­al integri­ty of your home becomes com­pro­mised. This type of crack­ing will require the most exten­sive repairs, which will like­ly include rein­forc­ing your foun­da­tion in order to secure it and pre­vent fur­ther damage.

Know­ing what types of crack­ing you may dis­cov­er in your home can help you to deter­mine the sever­i­ty of the dam­age to your foun­da­tion. Ulti­mate­ly, how­ev­er, any cracks you dis­cov­er in your home’s foun­da­tion should be tak­en seri­ous­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly inspect­ed and repaired so that you can ensure the struc­tur­al integri­ty of your home. Con­tact us to learn more about what you need to know if you encounter cracks in your home’s foundation.

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  • We con­tract­ed Fam­i­ly Water­proof­ing Solu­tions for exte­ri­or wall seal­ing and foun­da­tion crack repair ser­vices. Ken was very thor­ough in explain­ing the work that would be done, and his crew did a great job. This busi­ness was a plea­sure to work with.

    Stacie T.
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