It can be frustrating and even overwhelming to find a cracking foundation. Many homes experience foundation cracks over time, from new construction to century old homes. So should you be concerned?
There are different types of foundation cracks which result from different contributing factors. Each crack has its own unique correction (if necessary).
See the list below for some cracks we see on a regular basis.
Different Types of Cracks
- Vertical Cracks– Cracks that run vertically/up and down which may or may not be of structural concern. This can depend on size and width of the crack.
- Horizontal Cracks– Cracks that run horizontal/side to side. These cracks may be of structural concern and need to be evaluated.
- Diagonal Cracks– These cracks typically run from a corner down on an angle/diagonal slant. These cracks may or may not be of structural concern again depending on size and width of the crack.
- Cyclical Cracks– These cracks are flexible and can open and close with the change of seasons. They may or may not contribute to water permeation of the home.
- Progressive Cracks– These cracks will continue to progress or get larger with time. These cracks are of structural concern and should be evaluated.
- Shrinkage Cracks– Cracks that develop as the concrete cures and shrinks. These are always hairline cracks and are typically not of structural concern.
- Stair-Stepped Cracks- These are typically cracks in the mortar between your brick or CMU blocks. These cracks step up/down along the brick or cinder block creating a stair like crack. These cracks may be the result of rusty window or door lintels. However, they can also be a sign of foundation concerns.
To sum things up:
The correction that is best suited for your home is determined by the type of crack your home is experiencing. Not all cracks require an elaborate foundation repair. Some cracks are able to be injected with a variety of epoxies and urethane’s, while others may require a design developed by a licensed engineer.
At times cracks will only need be monitored to see if they progress. If this is the case for your home, a concrete crack monitor can be purchased and installed. This process will document if the crack continues to expand over the course of six months to a year. Whether or not there is expansion will impact what type of repairs should be implemented, if any. There are multiple brands and models of crack monitors available, your engineer should be able to provide a recommendation.
If you see cracking in your foundation walls or brick veneer, it’s always best to have it evaluated. This step allows you to determine if it is something that needs to be addressed or monitored. The most qualified person to assess the situation and recommend the best approach moving forward is a licensed structural engineer. Regardless of the type of crack you are experiencing, you want to be confident the installed repair is the appropriate fix for your project the first time. Hire an engineer to determine the best solution before hiring a contractor to complete the repair.