The Homeowners Guide to Foundation Cracks

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The troubles with being a homeowner are the often expensive repairs that arise – inevitably in most cases.

As handy as we may think we are around the house, sometimes things are best left to the experts.

But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a little research to find out!

That’s why we’ve put together this brief guide on some main questions we get about foundation cracks from homeowners so you can determine whether it’s something to be left until next year or if you should get the FM Interlock team in right away for a professional inspection.

A basement wall showing different types of foundation cracks

1) Vertical Cracks

My foundation has a vertical crack in it, should I be worried?

Fear not, this is still a foundation issue you should have an expert come in and repair, but it shouldn’t be a major issue that requires extensive work and money to solve.

A vertical crack is one that runs straight up and down. If this is the type of crack you are seeing in your foundation, a good thing to note is that this is not a major structural problem. Most foundations see cracks like this and the main concern is it allowing water to seep in. Fixing these cracks is usually simple and inexpensive, done by using epoxy or polyurethane crack injection repair.

2) Diagonal Cracks

I have noticed a crack running diagonally on my foundation, what is this going to cost me?

Although this type of foundation crack can definitely require attention to fix than a vertical crack, in some cases it can certainly be an easier fix. This is one you definitely want to get an expert in to inspect immediately.

This type of crack runs from 30 to 75 degrees from vertical on the wall. These can occur in new or old homes and are caused by a change in the ground conditions under the foundation footing. Often times, we see this when a house is built on a hill or from excessive rain or drought. In these cases, a thorough inspection is required as this can be fixed like a vertical crack, but future movement needs to be considered.

3) Horizontal Cracks

There is a horizontal crack in my foundation, is this something I can fix by myself?

If you are seeing a horizontal crack in your foundation, this is the most serious issue you can have and you should get in contact with a professional immediately.

There are various reasons this can happen, which all lead back to the backfill against that wall of the foundation being done improperly. Excessive pressure against the foundation causes it to bow inwards. The solution will be determined by a foundation expert and, in these cases, a structural engineer.

4) Step Cracks

I have a block foundation with cracks running through the mortar, what problems will this lead to?

F.M. Interlock Inc has found these cracks to range in complication, sometimes being an easy fix and sometimes when left untreated, lead to a more severe structural problem.

These are commonly seen in brick or concrete block foundations. You can see the crack either running along the mortar between the brick or block or through the block completely. This is a similar to a diagonal crack, as it is caused by differential settling of the house.

This gives you a basic understanding of the most common foundation cracks homeowners encounter. Sometimes this is an easy and inexpensive fix, but if it is a more serious structural problem it’s never a foundation repair situation you want to put off.

Even with this knowledge, sometimes it is hard to tell what type of foundation crack you have and it’s always better to be safe. Call a foundation repair expert who can come diagnose your unique problem and ensure that you take the right steps towards repairing your home.

Yellow mini bulldozer working with earth, moving soil and doing landscaping works