Foundation Cracks – What You Need to Know

Poor drainage is one of the reasons foundations crack. Some structural problems may be insignificant and some may be serious. More than half of the homes in the United States are built on soils with some clay content. A foundation with a movement of 40 to 60mm, 50mm is about 2 inches. There are a number of reasons why foundations fail.

When are foundation cracks serious?

The seriousness of a crack depends on a number of factors, such as the location, size and number of cracks. The older a home gets, the more likely it is to have cracks in its foundation.

Problems with doors and windows and leaks in basement walls can be caused by cracked foundations. Sometimes foundation cracks are a warning sign of other structural issues in a home.

98% of the homes in the United States are built out of concrete, masonry blocks or brick, which tend to crack when there is movement. There is more soil movement in areas with expansive soils. In areas with a lot of clay, some foundations will shift up and down as much as an inch or two inches a year.

Understanding cracks: What you should know

  • Causes of cracks
  • Types of cracks
  • How to analysis cracks
  • Maintenance and prevention
  • Know the “Bottom Line”

Reasons for foundations cracking or failing

Many foundations crack and become damaged. There is a partial list of reasons.

From the roots pushing up, the soil under the foundation can be drawn out of it’s hydration due to transpiration. Read aboutspiration.

If there is differential settlement, cracking can occur.

Expansive soil. heaving or lifting the soils may cause them to crack the foundation. More about the soils.

One of the most common causes concrete repairs of foundation cracks and damage is poor drainage.

When plumbing leaks occur, either from water lines or sewer lines, and the water migrates around or under a foundation, then cracking can occur. The damage may be worse if the leak has been going on for a long time.

The foundation leans slightly.

Poor soil quality. The foundation may fall down if the soil is not properlycompacted. The soils do not support the weight of the house.

The sinking of the ground in small or large areas is caused by water being pumped from underground sources.

The loads that the foundation is carrying will cause cracks if the foundation is not properly sized.

If a home has a second story added and the original footings are not designed for a two story building, cracks may appear.

Enhancing. There was no reinforcement in the foundation.

The frost is heaving. If the ground is frozen below the depth of the basement walls, the foundation may be damaged. You can read about frost heaving.

Technical issues. Cracks can develop when a foundation is exposed to an earthquake, sink hole, or slide.

There may be a foundation problem.

There are a number of signs that a homeowner or buyer may want to be aware of that could indicate a foundation issue.

The inside and outside of the home can alert you to the foundation. There are cracks in the foundation.

Walk around and look for the following:

  • Sagging or wavy roof (Read more)
  • Cracks in brick siding
  • Stucco cracks
  • Are there cracks at door and window corners
  • Gaps at doors and window, racked or distorted
  • Self-closing or opening doors
  • Rubbing or sticking doors and windows
  • Cracked or lose floor tile
  • Cracks in the concrete slab or garage floor
  • Sloped or un-level floors
  • Creaking floors (Read more)
  • Cracks in walls and ceilings
  • Bowing or leaning foundation walls
  • Chimney leaning away from house

How to evaluate and analyze cracks

If there are yellow or red flags of a possible foundation issue, it’s a good idea to get more information on what you saw and why.

After learning more about the cause of a foundation crack, you will be able to determine if it is normal or not, and if you want to watch the cracks over time.

It is wise to look at the big picture when there is cracks in the foundation. There are a number of warning signs that there may be foundation issues.

The living room or the back half of the house are where the issues are located. Patterns are more important than an individual crack or occurrence when you consider the importance of your observations.

For they are more difficult to deal with than other issues. They like slope creeping.

One of the most destructive issues that can affect the foundation of your home is drainage issues, and they are often the easiest and cheapest to fix.

Professional advice

A buyer or homeowner may want a second opinion on their foundation or cracks, but they don’t know who to ask. One professional may refer you to another professional based on what they have observed or their skill level, because there are different levels of knowledge about foundations.

You should make sure that the person you consult with is qualified. General Contractors, home inspectors, foundation engineers, and structural engineers are some of the people you may want to speak with.

  • Maintenance and prevention

Most homes lack ideal drainage and the drainage that was originally good when the home was first built has been changed by homeowners If the trees near the foundation have grown and are causing damage to the foundation, you should look into it.

If the yard drain is free flowing, you should check it. There are places where water may stand next to the foundation if the covers to the drain are undamaged. If the house has gutter and downspouts that are working properly and not discharging water near the foundation, then it is a good house. Is the patio sloped away from the house?

It’s cheaper to have a good maintenance and prevention program than it is to fix a home.

Bottom Line

Many home foundations have cracks and they are generally not serious, but just looking at them will not tell you if a home has serious structural issues. The big picture must be looked at to determine the seriousness of foundation cracks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.