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Types of Foundation Cracks and What They Mean

Your home’s foundation is critical to the overall integrity of your home. It’s what holds everything else up. So it can be disconcerting, to say the least, to discover one or more foundation cracks. But should you panic if you do?

No. Don’t panic, but do take steps to figure out what the problem is. As foundation repair and basement waterproofing specialists, we can help. We think an educated homeowner makes the best decisions, so today we’re going to look at types of foundation cracks and what they mean.

But first, let’s look at what causes foundation cracks.

Causes of Foundation Cracks

There are several common causes of foundation leaks. Many of them have to do with the soil, water, and the weather. They include:

  • Hydrostatic Pressure. When soil is saturated after heavy rains or snow melt, the water causes pressure to build up on the exterior of your foundation walls. This can cause the water to seek an outlet by seeping into the foundation.
  • Drainage Issues. If water is allowed to collect at the foundation exterior, it can soak into the concrete slab or cinder block walls.
  • Plumbing Leaks. When a pipe is leaking, or the sewer line is leaking near a foundation wall, the water seeps into the foundation.
  • Earthquakes. While relatively rare in the Mid-Atlantic, earthquakes do happen, and can crack your foundation.

When saturated soil and water seepage is causing your foundation cracks, you will need to have basement waterproofing done. This will ensure you resolve the source of the problem before fixing the crack or cracks themselves. If you don’t take care of the cause of the problem, the cracks will come back.

Vertical Foundation Cracks

Large vertical cracks are bad news. They are typically due to soil settlement, and can grow longer and wider. Vertical foundation cracks will let in water and pests if you don’t get them repaired.

Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Horizontal cracks are an indication of serious pressure from the saturated soil outside. Walls with horizontal cracks can eventually bow and collapse. Horizontal foundation cracks require immediate repair.

Stair Step Cracks

If you have concrete block or cinder block foundation walls, you may see stair step cracks. This cracking is again due to pressure from saturated soil, and the cracks occur along the mortar joints between the individual blocks. These cracks need to be repaired.

Hairline Cracks

Hairline cracks in your foundation walls or concrete floor are usually nothing to worry about. They are narrow – too small to insert your fingernail. These are usually due to shrinkage of concrete or mortar. Shrinkage cracks don’t change in size, and don’t affect the integrity of your foundation.

Schedule an Inspection

The first step in addressing foundation cracks is for our foundation repair experts to perform an inspection at your home or business. Then we can tell you exactly what we need to do to restore and maintain the value of your property. We will leave you safe and dry, with greater peace of mind. Just call us at (888) 768-2583 or fill out the contact form and our office will contact you to schedule a free inspection.

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