Normal Foundation Cracks & Cracks that Need Repairs
Cracks in your foundation can be a scary thing, especially if they seem to have appeared suddenly. However, not all cracks in your foundation are bad. Some cracking in your foundation is surprisingly normal. Throughout this post we’ll walk you through types of normal foundation cracks, as well as the types of cracks that need repairs.
Normal Foundation Cracks
Vertical Foundation Cracks
The most common type of foundation cracks we see are vertical foundation cracks. Vertical cracks can appear in foundations during the concrete curing process. When cracks appear shortly after a foundation is poured, it’s likely that the cracks formed due to shrinkage. As moisture leaves concrete during the drying process, the concrete shrinks and can sometimes cause small cracks to appear.
Vertical cracks can also appear due to normal foundation settlement. As long as the crack isn’t larger than 1/8 of an inch in width, vertical cracks are considered normal for poured foundations.
Diagonal Foundation Cracks
Diagonal cracks can also appear during the concrete curing process, or due to normal settling. As long as the crack does not change directions, or appear to “stair-step,” and does not exceed a width of 1/8 of an inch, these types of cracks usually aren’t dangerous to your foundation.
Foundation Cracks that Need Repairs
Horizontal Foundation Cracks
If you have cracks in your foundation that are horizontal, contact a professional. Horizontal cracks are a sign that your foundation is failing. Horizontal cracks are caused by hydrostatic (water) pressure from the outside of your home. This can mean that the soil around your home wasn’t graded properly and water drains down the side of your foundation.
Most foundations are built to withstand normal amounts of pressure. However, your home may be more susceptible to horizontal cracking if you live at the bottom of a slope or in a flood zone.
Cracks that appear in a stair-stepped pattern are also a cause for concern. Similar to horizontal cracks, stair-stepped cracks are caused by an ineffective drainage system that allows water to build up on the outside of the foundation. This could be caused by leaking gutters, or another fault in your exterior drainage system.
Should you notice horizontal cracks or stair-stepped cracks in your foundation, contact a professional foundation repair company as soon as possible. Simply filling the cracks will not be enough to repair these types of foundation issues.