Finding a crack in your home’s foundation can be one of the most worrisome things for many people. If you’ve recently discovered foundation cracks, you may be wondering whether your home has a serious problem that needs addressing. The truth is that foundation cracks happen frequently, which is why it is important to know when they are a problem and when they aren’t. Here are some things you need to know about those annoying foundation cracks.
Causes of Cracks
Foundation cracks are generally caused by these common things:
- Hydrostatic pressure, which is caused by excess water building up around the outside of your foundation. Cracks due to hydrostatic pressure are more common in flood zones or areas that receive heavy rainfall.
- Foundation settlement, which can be caused by the soil underneath your home shrinking due to a lack of moisture. All houses settle over time; however, excessive settling is not normal and indicates a problem that needs to be addressed.
- Upheaval or compression
When are Cracks a Problem?
Not all foundation cracks indicate a problem. Some other things to look for that indicate your cracks could be due to a serious issue with your home’s foundation include:
- Cracks in brick or concrete foundations that resemble stair steps
- Outer walls that appear to be pulling away from window or door frames
- Exterior walls that are bowed
- Walls that seem to “lean” into a basement
- Cracks that wrap around a corner
- Cracks that extend all the way from the top to the bottom of the foundation wall
- Chimneys that are leaning in one direction
- Sinking floors over top of a crawl space
Any cracks larger than 1/64 could allow termites to enter your home. As such, you should have a termite inspection performed, even though such a crack does not necessarily mean you have a serious problem with your foundation.
Foundation problems are much easier to correct when they are discovered early on. For this reason, you should perform regular inspections of your home’s foundation to look for cracks or other structural problems. If you do notice cracks, you should keep an eye on them to make sure they do not get bigger over time.
Keeping a journal of information about foundation cracks is recommended. Write down when the crack was discovered, where it is located, and any special characteristics about it. Measure the length and width of the crack and record this information in your journal as well. Take a picture of the crack so you will have a point of reference to help you determine whether the crack is actually getting bigger. Reference your journal each time you inspect your home’s foundation, and note any significant changes.
You can also mark the edges of the crack with a paint pen or permanent marker. That way, you can tell at a glance whether it is getting wider or longer. Stick the end of a toothpick as far into the crack as possible, and mark it with a marker at the top of the crack. This toothpick can then be used to help you determine if the crack is getting deeper over time.
When to Seek Help
If cracks in your home’s foundation seem to be getting bigger, or if you are experiencing any of the serious problems listed above, contact us. We’ll perform a complete inspection to determine the cause of your foundation cracks and come up with a solution to rectify them. Our technicians have a deep understanding of Texas soils, and have successfully performed more than 15,000 foundation repairs over the years. We guarantee results you will be happy with for years to come.