We have been receiving a great deal of calls regarding foundation cracks and what the next step should be. As a result we thought this might be a good opportunity to do a quick refresh on the different types of foundation cracks we see on a regular basis.
There are many different factors to blame for foundation cracks. Because of this it is important to enlist the expertise of a licensed structural engineer to evaluate the stability of your home’s foundation. He/she will determine what type of crack you have and why it is occurring. Not all cracks require an elaborate design plan. Some cracks may simply need injected. Others may require a design developed by a licensed engineer. It all just depends on the type of crack and its contributing factors.
Frequent Types of Cracks Seen
- Vertical Cracks– Cracks that run vertically/up and down. These may or may not be of structural concern it depends on size and width of the crack.
- Horizontal Cracks– Cracks that run horizontal/side to side. These cracks are of structural concern. These cracks should be evaluated.
- Diagonal Cracks– These cracks run typically from a corner down on an angle/diagonal slant. These may or may not be of structural concern it depends on size and width of the crack.
- Cyclical Cracks– These cracks are flexible. This means they and can open and close with the change of seasons. These may or may not contribute to water permeation of the home.
- Progressive Cracks– These cracks expand over time. These cracks are of structural concern. These cracks 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 cinder blocks. They step up/down along the brick or cinder block creating a stair like crack. Multiple factors can contribute to these. These cracks should be evaluated.
You should always have foundation cracks evaluated prior to implementing any correction. The most qualified person to do this is a licensed structural engineer.
You want to be confident the implemented correction is the appropriate fix for your foundation the first time around.
The photos of the home below are from a project where the cracks were of structural concern. The cracks were progressive in nature. This home experienced settling that required a design from a structural engineer. This design included the installation of helical piers, counterforts, steel dowels, and injections.
*Designs for corrections depicted below- developed by the designing engineer of Buyers Protection Group.