It’s important to find out which type of foundation cracks are most serious and to know when a foundation crack is serious enough to need repair in order to prevent slab foundation damage. Some cracks in foundations and exterior brick walls are much worse than others. They are sure to get wider over time. That’s why it’s wise to be proactive now.
Determining Which Type of Foundation Cracks Are Most Serious:
Take a good look at your slab foundation and determine how wide any gaps are. Even a crack that is 1/16” wide can be a problem because that’s big enough to allow moisture to enter your slab and compromise its integrity. While hairline foundation cracks are normal and can be expected to appear over time due to minor foundation movement, cracks that are larger than 1/8” should be carefully monitored.
Keep in mind that what starts off as a hairline crack will eventually get larger. Moderately sized cracks (3/16”-1/2” in width) can slowly but surely develop into severe 1” cracks. When large fractures appear, they are often accompanied by other signs of foundation issues including wall cracks, crevices in brick exteriors, and doors that don’t open and closely correctly.
About Vertical Cracks:
These fissures are wider at the bottom than at the top. Cracking that moves in a vertical direction is mainly associated with soil movement (such as expansion and contraction of soil.) These types of foundation cracks are commonly found in areas like the Dallas, Fort Worth metroplex, where houses are built on expansive clay soils. If you see very small hairline cracks, don’t’ be worried — just continue to monitor them. In the event your vertical cracks have grown larger, consult with a foundation expert.
If you see fractures of this nature, there’s good reason to be concerned. Horizontal cracks can start in one area and move to a connecting wall. In the end, they can lead to complete foundation failure. These cracks can be caused by water or soil pressure, meaning that you could have a drainage problem and/or a major issue relating to soil movement. These problems can force a wall to bow or break. Of course, it is also possible that weak brick ties will become a problem. If you see horizontal cracks in your walls or exterior brick, you need to take action. Call a professional right away. Do not ignore the signs. Horizontal cracks can lead to serious structural foundation damage and even cause a house to collapse.
These types of fissures appear on slab foundations and brick exteriors. They are typically 30-75 degrees from an upright vertical position. Fractures of this type are most often due to foundation settling. In some instances, they may be considered to be “concrete shrinkage cracks.” That means that they were the result of the concrete foundation not being mixed or cured correctly when the foundation was initially created.
Like vertical cracks, these are often associated with settling. Over a period of time, a house foundation will move, along with the soil beneath it. The best course of action is to stabilize your foundation by having foundation piers installed. These piers can be placed around your foundation or directly underneath it.
In order to determine how many foundation piers you need and where they should be installed, you’ll want to contact a foundation repair contractor or a structural engineer. An experienced professional can determine if, in fact, you have foundation problems (or drainage issues). If you do, they can offer a solid solution. If you’ve noticed foundation cracks and your house is located in the Dallas, Fort Worth metroplex, contact HD Foundations. We provide free foundation evaluations to homeowners.