How Serious Are Foundation Cracks?
Have you noticed foundation cracks in your home? Are you concerned that your foundation will need expensive, time-consuming repairs? Not necessarily! This article will explain when cracks in the foundation of your home are of little concern, and when it is time to call in the professionals to protect the structure of your biggest investment.
Why Find Foundation Cracks?
- Weather changes and temperature extremes
- Poor engineering with too little reinforcement or structure for the weight of the house (This would include if you added a second story to your home)
- Soil not compacted properly
- Drainage issues and plumbing leaks
- Soil type: Clay soils are infamous for causing foundation cracks
- House settlement
- Tree roots causing soil changes
As a responsible homeowner, it is important to periodically examine your foundation for cracks and other warning signs of foundation problems. However, not all cracks indicate the need to get foundation repairs. If you are unsure of what to look for, here are some tips and which cracks are more serious than normal “wear and tear”. You can also call a qualified professional like the experts at Atlas Foundation Repair to inspect your home for cracks in the foundation and other telltale signs of issues.
Vertical Foundation Cracks
These are the least severe. Vertical cracks in the foundation will go straight up and down, or at a < 30 degree angle. They are the most common type of crack you will find. They are usually caused by the foundation settling, and may be visible in new construction, especially in the first couple of years. Vertical cracks in your walls and foundation are the easiest and least expensive to fix.
Diagonal Foundation Cracks
These travel at a 30-70 degree angle. Diagonal cracks can be hairline thin, or be wider at one end. They are caused by the uneven settling of a home, when one side of the foundation settles a little lower than the other. Diagonal cracks in the foundation may be pricier to fix, and the cause of the differential settling needs to be diagnosed and addressed.
Horizontal Foundation Cracks
These are the most concerning and can indicate severe damage to your home’s foundation and structure. There are numerous possible causes, including soil pressure and an excess of moisture. If you see horizontal cracks in the foundation, it is important to call Atlas Foundation Repair to repair the damage and prevent additional damage from happening.
Other Warning Signs of Foundation Problems:
- Is your chimney leaning away from the house?
- Are any of the main walls leaning?
- Are there cracks in the walls and ceilings?
- Are the floors not level or creaking?
- Are there cracks in the garage or slab?
- Are there loose tiles?
- Are doors and windows sticking or not closing correctly?
- Are there gaps and cracks near the doors and windows?
- Are there cracks in your home’s exterior? In the stucco or bricks?
- Does the roof look wonky and uneven?
The appropriate fix for foundation cracks will depend on which of the above indicators you observe. Floor issues may dictate a different set of fixes than wall cracks. Unless you are a DIY foundation expert, it is best to trust a professional foundation repair company, such as Atlas Foundation Repair, to plan and execute the best and most affordable repairs for your home.
You may not be able to prevent foundation cracks from ever happening, but some prevention and maintenance will go a long way.
- Check for leaks in and around your home
- Keep temperatures in your home consistent
- Keep soil below the top of your slab
- Keep trees a good distance away from your foundation
- Provide adequate drainage away from the house
- Maintain moisture levels around your foundation
Do Not Ignore Foundation Cracks
Finding cracks in the foundation of your home can be scary, but is not a reason to panic. Many cracks are from normal settling of our new or aging houses. However, it is important not to ignore any cracks and inspect your home regularly for the warning signs of foundation problems and potential repair needs. Then, call a foundation expert to evaluate and execute the required repairs.
If you find foundation cracks in your home, Atlas Foundation Repair can help. Serving the Fort Worth and the surrounding areas for over 50 years, customers can trust Atlas Foundation Repair to oversee their entire project from start to finish. Contact us at 817-478-1181 to schedule a no-cost estimate.