The joys of homeownership are as endless as our house “to do” lists. With so many visible distractions, like peeling exterior paint and leaking roofs, most homeowners don’t find or even think about, foundation cracks until long after they’ve first appeared. And once foundation cracks start, they only get worse and, in many cases, need the attention of a professional. This is especially true of cinder block foundation walls.
Foundation cracks are cause for alarm because they allow water to leak into your basement. This water pressure pushes in causing the weakened wall to shift, thereby working the cracks open even more. Foundation cracks can also be a sign that parts of your house are sinking unevenly. Both are very serious!
The key to keeping foundation cracks under control is to stay one step ahead of them. Below are some helpful tips for finding and identifying three kinds of foundation cracks so you can catch them before it’s too late.
Where To Find Foundation Cracks
Foundation cracks most often form where pipes enter walls, at windows, near-tie rods, and in long spans of the open foundation wall. Foundation cracks also commonly appear in corners, pour lines, and in-service holes.
How To Identify Foundation Cracks
There are three kinds of foundation cracks, that indicate varying degrees of significance. These are vertical (or diagonal), horizontal, and foundation floor cracks.
Vertical or Diagonal Cracks
Small cracks that feel smooth and even to the touch. They are caused by the shrinking of curing concrete and are usually just a sign of normal foundation settlement.
Found on foundation walls are indications of a very serious problem, and over time, they can result in complete foundation wall failure.
Foundation Floor Cracks
can lead to serious flooding and allow harmful radon gases into your home. (Need we say more?)
What To Do About Your Foundation Cracks
For Horizontal or Foundation Floor cracks, call a professional immediately!
Benign Vertical or Horizontal cracks should be monitored regularly if you suspect that they are spreading, widening, or moving.
To keep tabs on cracks, mark the ends off with a pencil and draw a few alignment lines across the crack at various points. Be sure to date the marks so you can clearly see how quickly the cracks may be shifting. If your lines are crooked after a period of time, it’s best to call a professional.