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4 Types of Foundation Cracks & What They Mean

4 Types of Foundation Cracks & What They Mean - Image 1

Cracks in your basement or the foundation around your house can be a big issue, but how they appear after they form can make the difference when it comes to how severe the issue really is. In many cases, repairs will need to be made, which is why you’ll need to have a professional at hand to help you. 

NV Waterproofing & Foundation Repair has operated for over thirty years, providing top-notch services in lasting residential foundation repair, basement waterproofing, and crawl space restoration. Our team is fully-trained and highly experienced in these services, fixing and protecting thousands of homes from water and flood damage.

Here are four major types of cracks you may see in your foundation: 

1. Shrinkage

Shrinkage cracks are the type of cracks in your foundation that are of the least concern. They are hairline cracks that often come from the initial curing during the first month or two after the foundation has been poured. The shrinkage cracks form as the concrete dries out.

More often than not, they don’t change in size and they don’t indicate an immediate problem for your foundation. To be safe, check them every now and then and have a professional in residential foundation repair contact on hand. 

2. Vertical

As the name suggests, vertical foundation cracks appear going up and down, though sometimes at a slight angle. They usually form from shrinkage cracks and are normally of little concern. In fact, according to experienced home inspectors, almost all homes have vertical cracks in their foundation.

Vertical cracks form when the soil shifts or is compressed in one part of the foundation wall, creating settlement or sinking in one or more areas. This causes tension, a force that concrete is much less resistant to than compression, which then produces vertical cracks. 

3. Stair-Step

Stair-step cracks are a combination of horizontal and vertical cracks, appearing on your foundation wall in the pattern of a sidelong view of a staircase. These kinds of cracks usually occur due to a differential settlement of the house, where a portion of the foundation is straight and another part shifts up or down.

The consequences of these depend on where the cracks have formed. If they follow along the mortar joints between the cinder blocks that make up your foundation wall, then they simply need to be refilled.  However, in other areas, these could be an indication of a significant settlement that needs to be addressed.  

4. Horizontal

Finally, we leave the most serious type of foundation crack for last. The appearance of even one horizontal crack on your foundation wall means that your foundation wall is starting to bow inwards.

This is usually because the backfilled soil on the exterior of your foundation is starting to become overly-compressed against the wall. Another reason could be that heavy rain, followed by a strong freeze, creates a great amount of hydrostatic pressure against the foundation.  In either or both cases combined, the lateral pressure applied by the soil on the foundation wall exceeds the capacity of the wall to maintain its form without bowing.

Bowing foundation walls are serious because they are likely to lead to structural failure at some point, which will then cause your home to collapse. Therefore, as soon as you see a horizontal crack forming along your foundation wall, you should contact a residential foundation repair expert. 

NV Waterproofing & Foundation Repair: Quality Residential Foundation Repair

Keep an eye on the condition of your foundation, as it is vital to maintaining the structural integrity of your home, and thus safe for you and your loved ones. At NV Waterproofing & Foundation Repair, we have worked for over thirty years helping numerous homeowners protect and prevent their homes from floods, water damage, and foundation collapse. 

Our certified residential foundation repair specialists and waterproofing technicians are fully trained and have years of experience in the field. We provide thorough evaluations of your foundation’s condition and will offer you the best possible solutions according to your needs. Contact us at 1-855-649-7594 for more information and to get a free estimate on one of our house-saving services today.