Let’s face it, foundation cracks are alarming. They are scary to look at, they can be expensive to repair and above all, they are signs that your structure is failing. While that may be true most of the time, some signs of foundation cracks and weaknesses may actually be all right. There may not be enough reason for you to panic just yet.
The main reason for foundation cracks apart from bad construction practices is that the earth below it is moving or there are external forces on the building from the surrounding soil causing it to move a bit, cracking it. Concrete, for the most part is not flexible in any way and will end up cracking when there is too much movement and it has to also bear the entire weight of the house on itself, this will cause the fractures that you see.
That crack may not be a problem
In some cases, settling houses settle permanently and after that initial movement, the house may be rock solid. That is why in some cases, the doors being a bit off, the floor not being perfectly level and even a few small fractures along the walls may not be that big a deal.
In other cases, the foundation may be composed of floating walls, this is designed after the area being easily susceptible to expansion and contraction with the changing weather, or from constant soil movements. It can be thought of as a buoy anchored off coast, riding the waves, but standing in one place. Floating walls help your house stay in one place by riding the extremely slow wave formation that is the soil underneath your home. Homes built like this will sway with the movements and uneven flooring or the occasional crack, especially the ones that are wide at the top and narrow down to the base show upward pressure are not something that will compromise on safety of the structure.
Downward force will cause the exact opposite reaction and the bottom will be wider than the top.
Many of the mentioned issues with foundation cracks can be easily diagnosed by a contractor or a structural engineer. While the above mentioned cracks are not a serious issue, do not make up your mind that they are not, call in the experts to check if your foundation cracks are as harmless as they seem.