The short answer to the question, are cracks in foundation normal, is; yes, they are. But that is not what you really want to know. What you want to know is whether you need to be worried about the cracks you see in your foundation. Depending on the type of crack you could either be dealing with a serious issue that needs immediate attention or a benign symptom that can easily be treated.
In order to know if you foundation is in desperate need of repair keep reading this article to learn about the different types of foundation cracks and what they mean. Foundation Crack Repair is here to help!
Types Of Foundation Cracks
Below are the different types of foundation cracks, what they mean and what to do if you encounter them.
If you see horizontal cracks in your foundation you have a serious problem. You don’t want to ignore this type of crack because they can lead to foundation failure. Here are some causes of horizontal cracks:
- Hydrostatic Pressure: One of the most common causes of horizontal cracks is hydrostatic pressure, which results from water accumulating in the soil around the foundation. This pressure can push against the foundation, causing it to crack.
- Settlement: Over time, the soil beneath the foundation can settle, leading to horizontal cracks. This can be due to poor soil compaction, inadequate foundation design, or geological factors.
- Expansive Soils: Some soils expand when they absorb moisture and shrink when they dry out. This expansion and contraction can exert pressure on the foundation, leading to horizontal cracks.
- Tree Roots: Tree roots seeking water and nutrients can exert pressure on foundations, leading to cracks.
- Poor Construction: In some cases, horizontal cracks may result from subpar construction or poor workmanship.
- Earthquakes or Seismic Activity: In regions prone to earthquakes, horizontal cracks can be a result of ground movement.
You may see horizontal cracks in your basement walls. These cracks commonly happen due to unbalanced soil and hydrostatic water pressure pushing against your foundation. Your foundation may lean inward, and water can leak from the crack. Horizontal cracks can occur in both concrete blocks and poured foundations.
Call the experts at Foundation Crack Repair today to have us evaluate the situations. The good news about horizontal cracks is that they can be permanently repaired with life time warranties that can be transferred to new homeowners in the future.
Vertical & Diagonal Cracks
Vertical and diagonal cracks are not always a cause for alarm, they often indicate a less serious issue but could lead to problems down the line if not monitored. Here are some causes of vertical and diagonal cracks:
- Settlement: Vertical cracks are often caused by the foundation settling over time due to factors like soil compaction, changes in soil moisture, or natural settling.
- Shrinkage: In concrete foundations, vertical cracks can result from the natural drying and shrinking of the concrete during the curing process.
- Overloading: Vertical cracks may occur when a foundation is subjected to excessive weight or uneven distribution of weight, often due to added floors or structural modifications.
Concrete Settling: Settling in the concrete foundation is quite common in new construction. Since concrete shrinks while it cures this can cause vertical and diagonal cracks. Typically if concrete settling is the cause of the crack it will be located in the middle section of the wall, the corner of a window or by a door opening. These types of vertical/diagonal cracks are perfectly normal as long as the crack is 1/8 of an inch or less.
A More Serious Issue: If the vertical or diagonal crack is located close to the corner of a wall and is wider than the 1/8 of an inch this is probably due to overloading which is a structural hazard. This is something you will need a professional foundation crack specialist to evaluate.
Stair Step Cracks
Any form of masonry is prone to stair-step cracks. When you see this type of a crack it could be a serious threat since they typically appear along mortar joints, which are vital to your foundation. Here are the two main causes of stair-step cracks:
- Foundation settlement or sinking in one area
- Moisture related problems outside your foundation
Similar to vertical and diagonal cracks, if you can fit a quarter in the crack you need professional help ASAP. While it is common to see hairline cracks along the mortar joints anything bigger than 1/8 of an inch is a serious problem. The constant pressure from the surrounding soils can make the cracks grow faster, so it’s better to take care of this issue the second you notice it.
Foundation Slab Cracks
A poured concrete slab is prone to develop cracks over time. If you know what the cause of the crack is you will have a better understanding of what steps you need to take. Here are three common reasons for foundation slab cracks:
- Concrete Curing: This is the most common reason and doesn’t pose a structural threat.
- Slab Settlement: If the crack is caused due to a settlement issue, this is a problem. If the supporting ground was not properly compacted or there were poor soil conditions the crack reflects a problem with the structural integrity
- Frost Heave: Sometimes during freezing weather if the water underneath the slab freezes it will cause the concrete to buckle and crack.
Follow the same rule of thumb for all other foundation cracks. If the crack is larger than a hairline or rapidly grows in size, call a foundation crack expert today.
Get In Touch
If you are a homeowner or commercial property owner on Long Island, NY and have a crack in your foundation, use this article as a guide to determine the severity of the issue. If you see a horizontal crack or any other crack that is wider than 1/8th of an Inch make sure you call Foundation Crack Repair.