Foundation cracks are scary, and it’s natural for homeowners to assume the worst. However, foundation cracks are caused by a variety of things, including normal aging. They aren’t always serious, even though even small foundation cracks may allow water, debris, or pests into your home.
Of course, foundation cracks can also be a sign of structural failure. These foundation cracks – usually large and deep – are serious and should be inspected immediately by a foundation repair professional.
In this article, we’re going to cover the causes of foundation cracks, types, how to tell whether a crack is serious or not, repair solutions, and more.
Types of foundation cracks
There are several different kinds of foundation cracks that you might find in your California home:
- Vertical cracks – Vertical foundation cracks run up and down the foundation walls or sides. Vertical foundation cracks are pretty normal in most foundations and aren’t necessarily a sign of structural damage. Wide vertical foundation cracks may be caused by hydrostatic pressure (caused by excess moisture in the soil) pushing against the foundation.
- Diagonal Cracks – Diagonal cracks are generally caused by differential foundation settlement. If the settlement is severe, piers can be installed to lift the settled part of the foundation.
- Horizontal Cracks – Horizontal cracks in a foundation are the most serious kind of cracks. They indicate soil pressure due to temperature fluctuations (if water in the soil freezes, it can put pressure on foundation walls) or hydrostatic pressure caused by excess moisture in the soil. Horizontal foundation cracks are best fixed using carbon fiber repair methods, which help stabilize cracked foundation walls.
- Stair-Step Cracks – Stair step cracks in mortar are usually the result of foundation settlement. If they’re minor cracks that don’t go through the foundation, they can be fixed using injection techniques. However, if the foundation is cracked all the way through, pier installation may be necessary. Be sure to have these cracks looked at by a professional.
Types of Foundation Cracks and Their Repair Methods