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7 Types of Foundation Cracks: What do They Mean?

Today – Types of Foundation Cracks and what they mean

If you are like most people, foundation cracks can make you a little nervous. 

Foundation can mean several things. This could mean masonry, concrete, or brick. 

When you see a foundation crack your mind may immediately run to repairs and that you have structural damage. You may also think that your property value has dropped as well. However, keep in mind that not all foundation cracks are something to fret about. You must know the different types of cracks so you know how to make decisions for your home. 

Types of Foundation Cracks

Understanding Different Types of Settlements 

When you are understanding different types of foundation cracks, you must understand the different types of settlement.  This is important because different types of settlement can be more dangerous than others. There are two different categories of settlements. 

 

  1. Uniform Settlement

This is where each point of the structure will sink into the ground at the same time.This also occurs at the same capacity as well. Uniform settlement happens when all buildings are on the same type of soil. There is no damage to the structure when the foundation will settle uniformly. However, damage may occur around attached buildings, utility lines, and/or drainage systems. 

 

  1. Differential Settlement 

This is the opposite of the settlement mentioned above. This occurs when different points settle at different times. There are some stable points and some settling points. This type of settling is usually what causes dangerous cracks or structural problems. 

 

If you have a home that is resting on the same type of soil, you should not have to worry about a differential settlement. However, generally, you will notice that homes settle on many different types of soils. This means that the structure of the home will differ from one area to the net. If a building is made like this and settles it may cause sloping and leaning chimneys. Framework issues are also common. Not to mention, this may cause windows and doors not to close and open properly. It is important to understand the different types of cracks that can occur in the foundation. Find out more at Helitech Online. 

 

1. Vertical Cracks 

These cracks are normal and nothing to worry about. These cracks are vertical and can also be at a thirty-degree angle. If they are below thirty degrees, it is normal and nothing to worry about. These types of cracks are very common and are seen in almost all households. They happen when the concrete has tension and usually this occurs within the first few years after construction. If you do not like them in your home, you can fix them fairly easy. 

To fix them you should get epoxy or polyurethane injection. This will help mend the crack. These two materials are used because they are durable, waterproof, and lightweight. They are very good at permanently sealing any cracks in the foundation. 

You should also help protect the foundation from future vertical cracks. You can do this by ensuring that the gutters are not clogged and that drain spouts are taking water away from the home. You may want to purchase longer downspouts as shorter ones can cause water to pool around the home. Downspouts should ideally be at least five feet away from the home. 

 

2. Diagonal Cracks 

Diagonal cracks are a cause for a little concern. These cracks indicate that your home has a differential settlement occurring. This can lead to more serious problems in the home. These cracks occur when one part of the home is stable and the other parts are settling. This creates a crack that is between 30 and 75 degrees. When you have a differential settlement, it causes horizontal and vertical tension. This is why diagonal cracks are made. These can be hairline cracks or larger. 

You will often see these types of cracks on homes that are on a hill or where soil conditions change rapidly. This could change due to drought or rain conditions. To repair these cracks, simply follow the same instructions as vertical cracks. Keep in mind that it takes a lot more material to prevent any future movement. 

 

3. Horizontal Cracks 

These are cracks that you do not want to see. There are different types of horizontal cracks, however, all of them are something you do not want to see. If you see horizontal cracks this means that you likely have dangerous structural problems. These cracks occur when the force from the ground is too much for a wall to handle. The wall will then bow inward and you will see the horizontal crack. If your basement is made of concrete or block, you likely have problems with this issue. 

There are other reasons a home may experience these cracks. It may be from heavy equipment left near a wall or excessive backfilling. If you notice smaller horizontal cracks that aren’t bowing, monitor them. You want to ensure that the damage is not getting worse. 

 

4. Stair-Step Cracks 

These are diagonal cracks that generally occur in brick or concrete block. These cracks will appear along a joint or near the end of a wall and climb either up or down like stairs. These are not cracks that you want to have in your home either. They are dangerous. They are especially dangerous if the cracks are 1/4 – inch apart or are bulging. Likely the problem could be clogged gutters or moisture creating pressure on the wall where the crack occurred. 

 

5. L-Shape Cracks

These cracks occur where the foundation goes down to follow the hill on which the home is built. These are known as shrinkage cracks. This is especially true if they taper down to a hairline crack. These aren’t anything to worry about and are not a structural issue. However, you should fix them to help avoid water from getting into this area. 

 

6.Map Cracks 

These will look like a spider web of cracking in the wall. Usually, these cracks occur in concrete. These are generally cosmetically unappealing and nothing to worry about, however, you should monitor these cracks. If the crack starts to spread or get wider, you should be more concerned. 

 

7.Spalling Cracks 

These are wide surface cracks. They will follow the rebars directions. In most cases, it will appear as if the concrete will be flaking off. This occurs due to excess water corroding the rebars. You will likely see this in older homes where the home’s foundation is made of natural stone or brick. 

 

Other Information on Foundation Cracks 

There is a type of crack that isn’t considered a foundation crack that people tend to worry about. These cracks are known as hairline cracks. These cracks are found between concrete blocks. These are generally nothing to worry about. These cracks will develop within the first month of building. Keep in mind that most foundation cracks will occur within the first year. 

These are very common in many households. The most common problem with hairline cracks is water leakage. These are not considered foundation cracks because they are not vertical or angled. Plus, these cracks do not occur due to shrinkage or settlement. These cracks can be repaired easily by low-pressure injection. 

 

Fixing Cracks 

Most of the time a homeowner can fix the cracks to help prevent water from leaking in and help prevent further damage. The two most commonly used items to fix foundation cracks are polyurethane injection and epoxy injection. 

When you use the polyurethane injection, it will fill the crack lengthwise and depth-wise. It expands and provides a waterproof seal that lasts so the process doesn’t have to be repeated. This material is not subject to weathering, traffic, or ultraviolet rays. 

When you fill a crack’s depth you are preventing further damage from the groundwater that is coming in. It helps prevent the water from deteriorating your foundation. Plus, this will help the staves and steel be more resistant to corrosion. 

When you inject the crack, you are preventing problems from occurring in the future. This could save you a lot of money because you are preventing further water corrosion and damage to your basement or home. 

When you use epoxy injection you are helping repair the strength of the structure. You can use both means to help repair your crack. 

 

Conclusion

Foundation cracks are something that you should monitor and always keep an eye out for. Not all foundation cracks are something that you should worry about. However, with that being said, you should always repair or seal these cracks to prevent further damage or worsening of the crack. Hairline cracks are something that occurs a lot and people often fret about; however, it is the bigger and larger cracks that you should be worrying about. It is best to know the different types of foundation cracks so that you know how to deal with them and when to get help. Diagnosing your foundation crack is the first step to fixing the problem. 

 

I do hope you have found this post on types of foundation cracks and what they mean to be useful

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