Types of Foundation Cracks and How to Fix Them

Diagnosing Cracks in Your Foundation

Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems…or maybe it is.

Cracks in your foundation come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It is not unusual for foundation cracks to form within the first year of new construction, often near windows, corners of the walls or floors or in the longer sections of your foundation. Most are due to foundation settling and are usually not a cause for concern. If cracks become bigger or allow water to seep through, call an expert right away or fill out the form to the right before the damage becomes worse.

Is This Foundation Crack Normal or Dangerous?

If you are unsure about your foundation cracks, monitor them to see if they are increasing in size. Simply use a pencil to mark off and date the ends of each crack. Within a period of time, you will be able to tell if the crack is due to natural settling or if it indicates a more serious problem. Tracking them will also help foundation repair experts determine how they were formed and the best way to fix them.

Hairline Foundation Cracks

Hairline cracks typically develop within the first month and most foundations cracks appear within the first year. In most cases, the common wall cracks pose no structural concerns of foundation failure. The biggest problem they cause is water leakage.

Most foundation cracks will run vertically or at an angle. It is often caused by shrinkage of the concrete as it cures. Settlement cracks are also nearly always vertical. Such non-structural foundation cracks can be easily repaired by low-pressure injection.

Vertical and Diagonal Foundation Cracks

Usually, a diagonal or vertical crack in the foundation wall is the result of settling in the concrete foundation and is quite common in new construction. Because concrete shrinks while it cures, these cracks are called shrinkage cracks. They usually run vertically or diagonally, are often located in the middle section of walls and are less than 1/8 in wide.

Frequently you will find vertical cracks in block foundations. If the crack is located closer to a corner and is wider than 1/8 in, it is probably not due to shrinkage but indicates a more serious foundation issue. If your vertical foundation crack is wider than 1/8 of an inch, contact Imperial Pro Inspection to get it inspected as it may be a cause for concern.

Repairing Vertical or Diagonal Cracks

Vertical and diagonal cracks in your home’s foundation are most often a sign of foundation settlement and not necessarily a sign of structural damage. If the crack seems even when you run your finger across it, it probably isn’t a sign of a major problem.

Sometimes unknowing homeowners and lazy contractors will try to repair the crack by chiseling out an inverted V-groove into the crack and then fill it with hydraulic cement. While the new cement will fill the hole, it doesn’t bond with the original cement. Usually, within a couple of years, the concrete wall will fluctuate with changes in temperature and moisture and cause the plug to leak again.

If you have small cracks and/or water seepage, you can contact a qualified concrete contractor or a qualified foundation repair expert to repair a diagonal or vertical crack. NEVER allow a foundation company to begin foundation repair without first having your foundation evaluated by a licensed engineer.

Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Horizontal cracks often indicate a more serious problem. They are caused by hydrostatic (water) pressure from the outside of the walls and can lead to a failure in the foundation. Most foundations are designed to handle the pressure of water and soil.  Additional pressure due to heavy rains or flooding can create serious horizontal cracks that need to be repaired as soon as possible.

Repairing Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal cracks on foundation walls often indicate serious problems that may eventually lead to complete foundation wall failure. If the soil around your home is not properly graded and drained, water will eventually saturate the ground around the foundation walls and increase the hydrostatic (water) pressure which may exceed the weight-bearing capacity of the walls and cause them to crack or bow. Properties with clay soils that expand and contract significantly are particularly vulnerable to lateral pressure on their walls.

One method used for crack repair is epoxy ejections.  Epoxy injection is a system that welds the crack back together.  This method claims to restore to the original strength and loading of the original concrete. 

Houston Area Foundation Inspections

Imperial Pro’s affordable precision foundation inspections are our most utilized service that realtors, home buyers, sellers, investors, flippers, contractors, landlords and homeowners need the most. Imperial Pro is not in the business of foundation repair. We offer our clients the value of our unbiased industry-leading foundation inspections that our clients trust. Foundations in our area should be professionally inspected annually as part of regular home maintenance. Schedule your foundation inspection today. #lovewhereyoulive

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