Understanding the Risks: Types of Foundation Cracks and Ensuring Home Safety

By:    |   Published March 1, 2024

Foundation cracks are a common concern for homeowners, signaling potential risks to a property’s structural integrity and safety. This blog post delves into the “types of foundation cracks,” their causes, implications, and underscores the necessity of professional evaluations, particularly by experts like EverDry Toledo, to mitigate long-term damage and ensure home safety.

Common Types of Foundation Cracks

Vertical Cracks: Often the result of natural settling, vertical cracks run up and down or slightly diagonal. Though considered less severe, they should not be ignored due to the risk of water ingress.

Diagonal Cracks: These cracks, which run at angles, can indicate differential settling of the foundation—a condition that may point to more serious issues. Differential settling can be due to uneven soil pressure or changes in moisture content beneath the home, necessitating a thorough assessment and targeted repairs.

Horizontal Cracks: Horizontal cracks are particularly concerning, as they often signal severe structural threats caused by external pressures, such as soil pressure or hydrostatic pressure. These cracks require urgent professional attention to prevent significant damage to the home’s structural integrity.

This segment sets the stage for understanding foundation cracks and their potential impact on a home. Recognizing the type of crack is the first step in diagnosing foundation issues and planning appropriate repairs.

Causes Behind Foundation Cracks

Understanding the root causes of foundation cracks is crucial for effective diagnosis and repair. Various factors can contribute to the development of foundation cracks, including:

  • Soil Conditions: The expansion and contraction of expansive soils due to moisture changes can exert uneven pressure on the foundation, leading to cracks. Similarly, soil that is too dry can shrink, causing the foundation to settle and crack.
  • Aging: Over time, natural settling occurs, which can lead to the formation of cracks, especially in older homes. This is a normal process but requires monitoring to ensure cracks do not widen or lead to water ingress.
  • Improper Soil Compaction: Soil that has not been properly compacted before construction can lead to differential settling, where parts of the foundation sink at different rates, causing diagonal or even horizontal cracks.
  • Drainage Issues: Poor drainage can lead to water pooling around the foundation, which can weaken the soil and foundation materials, leading to cracks. Proper gutter and downspout installation are essential to direct water away from the foundation.
  • Construction and Design Flaws: Faults in the foundation’s design or construction can lead to structural weaknesses, making cracks more likely to appear under stress or as the building settles.
  • Environmental Factors: Frost heave, earthquakes, and sinkholes can exert unexpected forces on the foundation, leading to cracking. Homes built on hillsides may also experience soil creep, which can gradually cause foundation shifts and cracks.

Addressing these causes requires a comprehensive approach, from improving drainage to correcting soil issues, to ensure the long-term stability of the foundation.

Structural vs. Non-Structural Cracks

The distinction between structural and non-structural cracks is crucial for homeowners to understand, as it informs the severity of the damage and the urgency of repair needs.

Structural Cracks: These cracks compromise the integrity of the foundation and the building’s structure. They are often wider than 1/6 inch, may grow over time, and can appear in various forms, including horizontal cracks, large diagonal cracks, and stair-step cracks in masonry. Structural cracks result from significant settlement, soil pressure, or construction flaws and require immediate professional attention to prevent further damage to the home.

Non-Structural Cracks: Typically less than 1/10 inch wide, non-structural cracks do not threaten the building’s structural integrity but can still allow water to enter, leading to potential moisture issues. These cracks are often caused by shrinkage during the curing process of concrete or minor settling. While they may not require extensive repairs, sealing them can prevent water damage and maintain the foundation’s barrier against moisture.

Understanding the type of crack is essential for determining the best course of action. Non-structural cracks can often be sealed by homeowners or with minimal professional help, while structural cracks necessitate a thorough evaluation and repair strategy by foundation repair specialists like EverDry Toledo.

Our expertise ensures that not only the symptoms (cracks) are addressed but also the underlying causes, preventing future issues.

Immediate Steps and The Importance of Professional Evaluation

Upon discovering cracks in your foundation, it’s crucial to act swiftly to assess their severity and determine the necessary steps for repair. Here at EverDry Toledo, we recommend the following immediate actions:

  1. Document the Cracks: Take clear photos and make notes on their locations, lengths, and widths. This will help in monitoring any changes over time and will be valuable information for our specialists.
  2. Monitor for Changes: Keep an eye on the cracks to see if they widen or lengthen. Use a pencil to mark the ends of the cracks and date these marks to track progression.
  3. Check for Water Ingress: Look for signs of moisture, leaks, or water damage in your basement or crawl space. Water ingress through cracks can lead to mold, mildew, and further structural damage.
  4. Seek Professional Evaluation: This is where we, EverDry Toledo, come in. Contacting us for a professional evaluation is the best step towards ensuring your home’s safety and integrity. Our experts can distinguish between structural and non-structural cracks, identify underlying causes, and recommend appropriate repair methods.

Why a Professional Evaluation is Crucial

  • Accurate Diagnosis: Our specialists have the expertise to accurately diagnose the severity of foundation cracks and the potential risks they pose to your home’s structure.
  • Tailored Repair Solutions: We provide repair solutions that are not only aimed at addressing the visible cracks but also at tackling the root causes of the problem to prevent recurrence.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that experienced professionals are assessing and repairing your foundation cracks can give you peace of mind that your home remains safe and secure.

At EverDry Toledo, we understand the importance of maintaining a strong and stable foundation for your home. Foundation cracks, whether structural or non-structural, can lead to significant problems if not addressed promptly and effectively. By choosing professional evaluation and repair, you’re taking a critical step towards protecting your home from long-term damage.

Long-Term Solutions and Repair Methods for Foundation Cracks

At EverDry Toledo, we are committed to not just repairing foundation cracks, but ensuring they don’t pose future risks to your home. Our approach involves comprehensive solutions tailored to address both the symptoms and the underlying causes of foundation damage.

Here’s an overview of our long-term repair methods:

  1. Foundation Crack Injections: For non-structural cracks, we often use epoxy and urethane injections. This method effectively seals the crack against water ingress, protecting your basement and crawl spaces from moisture-related issues.
  2. Structural Repairs: Structural cracks require more robust solutions. Depending on the crack’s cause and severity, we may employ various techniques, including underpinning, to stabilize the foundation. Underpinning involves extending the foundation to more stable soil layers, providing long-term stability to your home.
  3. Waterproofing Solutions: To prevent future cracks and water damage, comprehensive waterproofing is often necessary. This can include interior and exterior waterproofing measures, such as improving drainage around the foundation and installing sump pumps or backwater valves to manage water levels effectively.
  4. Soil Stabilization: In cases where soil conditions contribute to foundation issues, soil stabilization techniques may be employed. This can involve the injection of special polymers into the soil to increase its strength and reduce its compressibility, mitigating the risk of future settling and cracking.
  5. Regular Maintenance and Monitoring: Beyond immediate repairs, we emphasize the importance of ongoing maintenance and monitoring. We provide guidance on maintaining proper drainage, monitoring for new cracks, and when to schedule follow-up evaluations to ensure the continued stability of your foundation.

Why Choose EverDry Toledo for Your Foundation Repairs?

  • Expertise: Our team of specialists has extensive experience in diagnosing and repairing all types of foundation cracks, ensuring high-quality, lasting solutions.
  • Customized Solutions: We understand that every home and foundation issue is unique. That’s why we offer customized repair plans tailored to the specific needs of your home.
  • Commitment to Quality: We use only the best materials and techniques in our repairs, ensuring that once fixed, your foundation is secure for years to come.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your foundation has been assessed and repaired by professionals can provide unparalleled peace of mind regarding your home’s safety and value.

At EverDry Toledo, we believe in taking a proactive approach to foundation cracks. By addressing issues early and employing long-term solutions, we help protect your home from further damage, ensuring it remains a safe, stable, and valuable asset for years to come.

Schedule Your FREE 20-Point Inspection

The best way to keep your basement dry is with professional waterproofing. EverDry Toledo can help with a FREE 20-point basement inspection! We’ll help you find out if your home is at risk for water damage and which solutions will best serve you.

Contact us online to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (419) 469-5833 and schedule your inspection today!

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