How Worried Should A Homeowner or Business Owner Be About Foundation Cracks

Foundation Cracks

Owning a home is a significant financial and emotional investment for anyone. When problems occur in your home, they are often accompanied by feelings of helplessness and anxiety. This is especially true when it comes to the building’s foundation, where significant cracks can lead to expensive repairs and damage throughout your home.

While foundation cracks are scary, they are not always a cause for concern. Let’s take a look at the many types of foundation cracks, including key differences between problematic and normal foundation cracks, when to worry, and reasons for foundation crack repair.

Why Do Cracks in Foundation Occur?

Common reasons for foundation cracks include exposure to rain and weather, building age and deterioration, excessive backfilling, heavy machinery impact, deteriorating soil conditions, changing settlement conditions, and the use of incorrect or poor-quality building materials.

Normal Foundation Cracks vs Worrisome Foundation Cracks

Cracks in buildings can occur for many reasons, some of which are much more serious than others. The seriousness of a crack depends on numerous factors, including the location, the size, and the number of cracks. While vertical and diagonal cracks are not always a problem, horizontal cracks are definitely a cause for concern.

It’s important to analyze cracks in combination with other structural issues and to check for cracks in other parts of the house. Generally speaking, foundation cracks are more problematic when they occur in patterns, and they are associated with specific geotechnical issues such as slope creep. You must also look at how cracks change and develop over time. Worrisome cracks often grow more quickly.

While not all cracks are problematic, due to the potential for disaster, it’s always important to undergo a professional inspection.

Types of Foundation Cracks

There are many types of foundation cracks, which are often categorized based on their shape and pattern. From horizontal foundation cracks to diagonal and vertical foundation cracks, the appearance of cracks tells you a lot about the underlying cause.

“Staircase”Foundation Cracks

Staircase cracks are typically seen on masonry foundation walls. This occurs because the points at which the blocks are bonded are typically the weakest points in the foundation. Therefore,  this is typically the first sign the foundation is settling.

The cracks have a staircase appearance because of the nature of brick foundations. The bricks or blocks are arranged in a staggered pattern which  gives the wall its strength. So, when cracks occur in the wall, they follow the points of weakness in the foundation wall.

If you notice step cracks on a foundation wall, you’re probably dealing with foundation failure. This usually occurs when a large amount of pressure from expanding soil is exerted on the foundation wall. 

Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Horizontal cracks often indicate underlying structural problems. These cracks usually show up when ground forces strain your building from within, but they can also be the result of heavy impact, frost heave, or excessive backfilling.

Diagonal Foundation Cracks

Diagonal cracks are often not dangerous, but you should always get them checked out. These cracks indicate a differential between horizontal and vertical settlement tension. Diagonal cracks around a door frame are fairly common.

Vertical Foundation Cracks

Vertical cracks are usually not a cause for concern, although there are some exceptions. These cracks are often due to pressure from significant rain events. Most of the time, correct drainage and sealant is all that is needed.

Foundation Crack Repair

Once you have identified foundation cracks in your home, it’s important to get them repaired. While not all cracks are dangerous, they may create additional structural problems. There are many ways to fix foundation cracks, depending on the shape, pattern, and location of the cracks. From drainage and sealant to landscaping and construction, foundation crack repair should always be carried out by experts. 

Cracks can be a sign that you need house foundation repair. Horizontal cracks represent the most worrisome pattern, but all cracks should be checked out by the professionals. 

Due to the potential impact of foundation cracks, it’s important to assess the damage and fix problems before they get out of control. At Moisture Loc, we offer a professional foundation repair service for all residential and commercial buildings. Contact our team today for expert advice on how to permanently stabilize your home or building’s foundation.