Foundation Problems: Not All Foundation Cracks are Made Equal

Man fixing house damage

Discovering that your home’s foundation has cracks could be distressing since this could mean expensive repairs. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. What you need to know about your home’s foundation is that as it cures, the concrete slightly and naturally shrinks. In places where it can’t evenly shrink, it will crack, so it’s fairly common for block and concrete foundations to have a couple of cracks.

It is, however, imperative that you determine which kinds of cracks your home’s foundation has to prevent further damage. Concrete foundation contractors list the most common types of cracks to help you figure out what to do next if you spot these on your home’s foundation.

Hairline foundation cracks

These are typically found in between concrete blocks in the foundation’s mortar and are not a cause for concern.

Foundation cracks in L-shaped sections

These sections are where the foundation steps down to the contour of a hillside, while these cracks are usually due to shrinkage, particularly if they taper down to hairline cracks. These won’t really affect the structural integrity of your foundation, but you should have them plugged to prevent water damage to your crawl space or basement.

Stair-step foundation cracks

These are usually seen in joints or corners and requires professional inspection, especially if you see a stair-step crack that’s wider than ¼ inch or if the wall’s significantly bulging out. Moisture issues like a clogged gutter or something else is most likely putting significant stress on that portion of your wall.

Horizontal foundation cracks

This is the most serious type of foundation crack you’ll come across. It might be caused by expanding soil when it’s damp and shrinking soil when it’s dry, or soil that’s immensely saturated with water that froze and then expanded, which in turn pushed against and broke your foundation. Depending on the severity of the issue, you might need to have a new foundation built.

Knowing the different types of foundation cracks you might encounter in your house could help you figure out the damage they caused or could cause. Whether you see hairline cracks or hue horizontal ones, it’s best that you have your home’s foundation inspected by a professional to prevent further damage and ensure that your home’s foundation is structurally sound.