4 Kinds of House Foundation Cracks and What They Denote
What is your reaction when you see foundation cracks in your house? Many people fret when they see house foundation cracks and for a good reason! This is because you can never be too sure about what the cracks mean until you have consulted a professional foundation repair company.
It is also important to note that some house foundation cracks are nothing to worry about while others denote serious structural damage and may require a lot of skill to repair. Here are four types of foundation cracks and what they signify.
1. Vertical cracks
Vertical cracks appear as narrow, perpendicularly positioned fissures in the foundation. Some vertical cracks may also appear in a slightly inclined position (within a range of approximately 30 degrees). Vertical cracks are caused by the shrinking of concrete in the foundation. As a result, vertical cracks are also called shrinkage cracks.
Since vertical cracks result from concrete shrinkage, they are not always a sign of serious problems. This is because it is not uncommon for such cracks to form, especially when a building is still new. But you should become concerned if vertical cracks expand to more than 1/8 inch or 3 mm. If the cracks widen, you should call an expert for an inspection.
2. Diagonal cracks
Diagonal house foundation cracks form angles that range from about 30 degrees to 75 degrees relative to the foundation’s perpendicular position. Diagonal cracks may be very narrow (approximately 0.08mm) and shallow, in which case they are referred to as hairline cracks. They may also be wider and deeper.
Diagonal cracks need to be inspected and repaired by a professional foundation repair company because they indicate an unequal settling of your house’s foundation. You should particularly be more concerned if the cracks become wider or walls seem to be pulling apart because this suggests that one side of the foundation is sinking more than the other.
3. Stair step cracks
Stair step cracks are similar to diagonal cracks except for the fact that instead of having a diagonal presentation, they take the form of a staircase along the joints of a brick wall. The causes of stair step cracks are also similar to those of diagonal cracks. Therefore, you need to let an expert inspect your house if you notice stair step cracks in the foundation.
4. Horizontal cracks
Horizontal foundation cracks indicate more serious structural issues in the foundation. They are caused by issues such as increased hydrostatic pressure on the foundation. Large roots near the foundation may also exert pressure on the foundation and cause bowing and horizontal cracks.
Repair work for horizontal foundation cracks is more complex and requires more expertise and materials.
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