A Guide to Vertical vs Horizontal Foundation Cracks

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60% of US homes are built on clay soils, leading up to 2-3 inches of seasonal movement. This can lead to severe damage over time.

There are several different types of damage your foundation can suffer. It’s important to know the differences between vertical and horizontal foundation cracks so you can get both fixed.

Read our foundation crack guide to learn what causes them, how to identify the different types, and how to repair them.

Causes of Foundation Cracks

A crack in your house’s foundation is a frightening but common issue. It helps to know some of the most common causes.

When your home is built, be sure to have a professional install the foundation. They must place it in the proper area and complete the drainage and curing process properly. Otherwise, you could end up with several foundation cracks.

Even the most expertly built home can still become damaged due to stress from the natural movement of the ground around it. This can cause a crack in a foundation slab and other issues.

Don’t worry if your new home has a few foundation cracks. Instead, analyze each one to see if it’s severe and if you need to hire a professional to fix it.

Vertical vs. Horizontal Foundation Cracks

There are several different types of foundation damage your home may suffer. Being able to tell the differences between them helps you determine the best way to remedy the problem.

Two of the most important categories to know about are vertical and horizontal cracks. They differ in causes and severity, which is why you must be able to tell them apart to keep your home’s foundation safe.

Vertical Cracks

Cracks that run up and down in a vertical position to your walls and/or foundation are usually the least serious and easiest to repair. They’re also known as shrinkage cracks because the most common cause is concrete shrinkage.

Most vertical cracks are less than 1/8 inch in width and appear in the middle of a home’s walls. These are easy to fix yourself and should be covered to prevent bugs, water damage, and other issues.

Any vertical cracks that are larger or in a different location may be a sign of a more serious issue that you’ll need a professional to help with.

When you decide if you need a professional, consider the number of cracks your foundation has.

Noticing more than one vertical crack could indicate problems with your foundation’s footing. This is a more serious issue that can lead to severe damage and should be fixed as quickly as possible.

Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal cracks that run across your foundation and/or walls are some of the most serious types your home can suffer. They indicate a severe issue with your foundation’s integrity that must be looked into.

Most horizontal cracks are caused by excessive water pressure from outside. In addition to other sources of pressure such as soil movement, it has the potential to impact your foundation’s integrity.

One of the most serious types of horizontal cracks is a horizontal crack in a foundation slab. They tend to expand and ruin the slab itself, possibly even causing it to collapse.

Horizontal cracks can lead to serious issues, including total foundation failure. That’s why they usually require professional help to repair.

There are other types of cracks to be aware of that can cause equally severe amounts of damage.

Step cracks are a combination of both vertical and horizontal foundation cracks, making them one of the most serious and potentially damaging types. Other examples include map, diagonal, and spalling cracks.

Foundation Crack Repair

Not every crack requires repair. It’s important to understand how to tell if a crack is serious enough to call in a professional to fix it.

Another helpful step is to familiarize yourself with some of the most common repair methods available today. Understanding them will help you perform the process on your own and/or know what a professional is doing to your home.

Deciding Whether You Need Repair

One of the most important things to know about foundation cracks is whether they’re serious or not. If you can fit a dime into a foundation crack, that means it’s large enough to need repair.

Another way to tell if you need a repair is if the foundation cracks you’ve noticed continue to grow over time. This indicates structural problems that should be looked into as quickly as possible.

Repair Methods

Fixing foundation cracks is a multi-step process.

The first step is to mark all the spots where you’ve noticed a crack and monitor them for a few months. Check if they grow or change during this time.

Small vertical cracks that don’t change over time can be filled in with hydraulic cement. This is a simple process that many individuals may be able to complete themselves.

Carbon fiber crack repair is one of the most common methods of fixing horizontal foundation cracks. It’s strong, affordable, and prevents your foundation from sagging inward or facing other severe forms of damage.

Other, more severe foundation cracks may require a more complex and expensive method. Protecting the safety of your home will make it worth the investment.

One of the best things you can do when you notice foundation damage is to hire a professional to help with the process. This is especially true if you have serious horizontal cracks that may put your home in grave danger.

Where to Find Foundation Repair Professionals

Seeing damage in your home’s foundation is a frightening but common sight. It’s important to understand the potential causes and different types of damage to avoid panicking and get them fixed.

While vertical cracks are a common result of a home settling, horizontal foundation cracks are a more serious issue. You’ll most likely require professional help to prevent them from causing severe damage to your home.

Choosing the best possible repair service is the best way to protect the integrity of your home. Check out our foundation repair services and contact us today for more information.