It can be frustrating to find cracks in the foundation of your home, whether it is a new construction, a home you are looking to purchase, a home you have recently purchased or a home you have owned for many years. So should you be concerned?
As it turns out there are different types of foundation cracks which result from different contributing factors and each is corrected (if necessary) in its own unique fashion.
See the list below for some cracks we see on a regular basis.
- Vertical Cracks– Cracks that run vertically/up and down which may or may not be of structural concern, depending on size and width of the crack.
- Horizontal Cracks– Cracks that run horizontal/side to side. These cracks are of structural concern and it is highly recommended these cracks always be evaluated.
- Diagonal Cracks– These cracks run typically from a corner down on an angle/diagonal slant and may or may not be of structural concern, depending on size and width of the crack.
- Cyclical Cracks– These cracks are flexible and can open and close with the change of seasons and may or may not contribute to water permeation of the home.
- Progressive Cracks– These cracks will continue to progress or get larger with time and are considered a structural concern and it is recommended they 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 cinder blocks, that step up/down along the brick or cinder block creating a stair like crack. These can be caused by expansion and contraction of a rusty window or door lintels, or can be a sign of foundation concerns.
As mentioned above, the type of crack your foundation is diagnosed with will dictate what correction will be recommended for your unique situation. Not all cracks require an elaborate design plan for foundation repair, some are able to be injected with a variety of epoxies and urethane’s, while others may require a design developed by a licensed engineer. Please keep in mind that whatever the recommended correction is you want to be confident it is the appropriate fix for your project the first time, some repairs may not be able to be reversed once installed or applied.
If cracks in your home are recommended to be monitored, a concrete crack monitor can be purchased and installed to see 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, one option is the CRACKMON 4020A Concrete Crack Monitor.
Most home foundations are constructed of either poured concrete or a combination of cinder block and concrete. Regardless of what construction type your foundation is, if you see cracking its always best to have it evaluated to ensure that it isn’t 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.
*Crackmon 4020A Crack Monitor Image taken from www.buildera.com