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Why Does My Home Have Foundation Cracks?

What are some of the reasons for a home to have foundation cracks? There are many reasons you might have cracks in your foundation, from issues with your soil to defects that occurred during construction.

Learning more about why there are cracks in a foundation can help you make plans to deal with the problem more effectively. The sooner you get a handle on these issues, the sooner you can prevent more serious damage that will take more time and effort to fix.

What Are Some of the Most Common Reasons for Foundations to Get Cracks?

When trees are too close to your home and have invasive root structures, they can cause cracks. Anything larger than a small shrub planted near a house can cause problems. Another way trees can be hazardous to your foundation wall is by draining the soil and making it less stable.

If you have poor drainage from defective pipes, sprinkler systems, or blocked gutters, you’ll have to contend with excess water. Too much pressure from excess water can weaken a foundation and cause cracks.

Some foundations bear the effects of contractors cutting corners. If the soil is not compacted, it will settle prematurely, and without proper drainage, the soil will erode. The unstable ground can always easily lead to foundation wall cracks.

Clay soil is one of the most expansive types, leaving cycles of expansion when wet and contraction when dry. The movement caused by these cycles may result in cracking.

What Are Signs of More Serious Foundation Cracks?

These cracks can range from relatively minor to quite serious. However, it’s better to err on the side of caution and treat cracks as serious. Popping screws or nails are often considered fairly serious and of urgency.

Other signs of a more serious problem may include bowing or leaning walls. When either of these signs is present, a wall collapse might happen at any time. Because this situation is a threat to your family’s safety, you’ll want to consult with a professional about foundation wall repair.

How Do You Search for Cracks in Your Foundation?

A careful inspection of your home’s foundation and the walls will help you spot cracks or issues requiring your attention. If your walls lack a uniformly straight appearance, look for signs of curving, bulging, or bowing in the walls. These signs may indicate pressure on the foundation that is causing damage.

Check to see whether your soil is excessively wet or if your crawl space has standing water. The best-case scenario is to have a crawl space that stays dry. If this area is wet, you’ll need to take steps to make the problem causing moisture gets corrected.

What Are the Types of Cracks my Foundation May Have?

Horizontal cracks are among the most serious, often caused by pressure from expansive soil. Clay soil is usually the worst offender. If you have clay soil, regular monitoring is recommended to prevent further problems.

Stair step cracks are also due to moisture issues and are moderately serious. If these cracks are more than ¼” wide or you notice the foundation or walls bulging, this situation should be treated as an emergency.

Hairline cracks are usually of the least concern and may possibly have natural causes. These cracks typically form in the mortar joints if you have a concrete block or brick foundation.

If you’re concerned about the emergence of any cracks in your foundation, the experts at Falcone Crawl Space & Structural Repair can help. Contact us with your questions or concerns.