If left unchecked, home foundation cracks can cause structural damage and be expensive to fix. Discovering a crack in the foundation of your home can be unsettling. You may wonder if the crack is an indication of further damage.

Luckily, not all cracks are the same and there are some simple guidelines to help you judge. Looking at a foundation crack can tell you a lot about potential damage including what may have caused it and how severe the problem is.

To give you a better understanding of what you’re looking for, here’s a quick overview of the most common types of foundation cracks:

Vertical Foundation Cracks

Vertical home foundation cracks are generally the most common and least severe type of crack you will come across. Appearing straight up and down, or maybe slightly diagonal, within 30 degrees of vertical. These cracks are commonly found in many houses, even younger homes. Vertical cracks are usually the result of your foundation settling over time.

Depending on the age of your home, vertical cracks may be the easiest and least expensive to have sealed. A urethane or epoxy material will be injected into the crack, ensuring that it is sealed and does reopen or grow as your foundation continues to settle.

Diagonal Foundation Cracks

Another common type of home foundation crack is a diagonal crack that runs along your foundation or basement wall. Diagonal cracks appear at an angle of 30-75 degrees and may be wider at one end than the other. Diagonal foundation cracks are caused by differential settling, where one portion of a home’s foundation settles lower than the rest.

Differential settling can be the result of erosion, poor soil conditions, inadequate construction methods, excess moisture, large tree roots or even earthquake damage. This type of crack is more serious than a vertical crack. Uneven settlement indicates an underlining problem. Even if the crack starts as a hairline, if it’s diagonal, or expands at the opposite end, it’s worth  keeping an eye on. You can contact a foundation repair specialist to pinpoint the problem leading to uneven settlement.

Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Foundation cracks that run sideways (horizontally) are the most serious type of crack. Horizontal cracks can signal serious damage to your home’s foundation and structural integrity. These cracks are most common in homes with concrete block or brick foundations. Several problems result in this type of foundational damage including excess moisture causing the ground to shrink and expand unevenly.

If you discover this type of foundation damage it is important that you have it repaired as soon as possible before the structural integrity of your home becomes compromised. This type of cracking will require the most extensive repairs. Plate jacks are one of the most popular techniques for repairing concrete foundations. Plate jacks lift and level a home foundation by pumping cement grout under a plate or beam through specialist troughs to restore the foundation.

Reinforcing your foundation is important in order to secure your home and prevent further damage. If any of the cracks in your home’s foundation make you nervous, don’t hesitate to call. Weinstein Construction can provide a through, no-obligation inspection of your home foundation.