Is My Foundation Crack Serious?

Severe stair-step foundation crack

If you’ve noticed a foundation crack that you could’ve sworn wasn’t there before, it can be easy to feel concerned and to even lose sleep over it. But there are different kinds of cracks that can occur in your foundation wall, some that are cause for concern and require repair, while others may have no effect on your foundation and home. We’re here to help you understand the different kinds of basement wall cracks and crawlspace wall cracks that you may encounter, so that you can make the best and most informed decisions possible.

What Types of Foundation Cracks Are There?

Here are the kinds of cracks you may encounter when looking at your foundation walls…

  • Vertical cracks
    • If you should notice a large vertical crack or cracks, it may be due to soil settlement. As soil settles, it can create additional pressure on a wall, eventually creating a crack which can allow water to seep through. These should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid further damage both to your foundation wall and the inside of your level.
  • Horizontal Cracks
    • If you’re seeing horizontal cracks in your foundation wall, it means your foundation wall may be experiencing heavy soil pressure created by a lot of water in the soil. This hydrostatic pressure may eventually cause your foundation wall to bow and buckle. If left alone, the integrity of that wall will further degrade until there is the danger of even a cave-in. These kinds of cracks should be repaired as soon as possible after detection.
  • Stair Step Cracks
    • Sometimes it’s the mortar joints of your foundation wall’s concrete blocks, these create a stair-step pattern that’s quite noticeable. This kind of crack can be caused by either soil pressure or from soil settlement. If you should spot these, it means your foundation will need repair.

What Can Cause These Cracks in Your Foundation Walls

Just as there are a variety of basement cracks and crawlspace cracks that you may find, there are a variety of causes that can lead to these cracks. Some are more serious than others and understanding the cause can help you confidently know the degree of urgency that you should have your foundation repaired.

  • Soil Settlement
    • This can occur when the soil beneath your foundation wall begins to settle, compress, or erode because of repeated, heavy rains. Water leaks can also gradually cause this to happen. You’ll likely see a vertical crack to indicate that this is happening.
  • Soil Pressure
    • The soil outside of your foundation can be made of a variety of soils. If your soil is capable of being very water-saturated or is made of expansive clay soil, there’s a high chance that it can lead to a lot of hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls. All of this pressure can cause your wall to bow or buckle, leading to horizontal or diagonal cracks.
  • Construction Defects
    • If your foundation has been poorly built, it can lead to a foundation wall that’s more prone to cracking and experiencing damage. This can be caused by poor reinforcement, undersized footings, or weak concrete. This should be quickly addressed if found.
  • Shrinkage of Concrete or Mortar
    • It is natural for shrinkage to happen, which may lead to very thin cracks. These cracks tend to be so thin that you can’t even fit your fingernail into them. This is no cause for worry. Cracks caused by shrinkage in the concrete or mortar won’t continue to grow, and they won’t affect how strong or stable your foundation may be.

Don’t Let a Cracked Foundation Weight on You, ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing Can Help!

No foundation problem goes away on its own. Should you spot any kind of crack that isn’t a shrinkage crack, it is important to have the foundation crack addressed as soon as possible. Fortunately, there’s a solution to all your foundation problems. With over 60 years of experience, ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing can help ensure that your foundation remains stable and strong for many years to come. From stabilizing foundation walls to repairing foundation cracks, our quality products and honest methods will help restore both your foundation as well as your peace of mind. Give us a call today to schedule your free foundation repair inspection and to receive a detailed estimate. One of our experts will be happy to explain to you how our long-lasting foundation solutions can make a difference!