You may not be able to see most of it, but your foundation is the piece of your home that holds up the rest of the structure. Without it, your house wouldn’t be able to stand, which is why finding a crack in the foundation can be so scary.
Is your home still safe? Do you have to move out?
Before you start asking yourself these kinds of questions, take a step back. We’ve put together this guide to help you learn what to do if you find a crack in your foundation and when to call for help.
So let’s get started!
First thing’s first: stay calm.
Not every foundation crack is cause for concern. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find cracks in your foundation. Many homes have them, and they don’t do much harm.
So take a deep breath then take a closer look.
What Does the Crack Look Like?
While some foundation cracks are harmless, others can lead to serious structural problems in your home. The first thing you should do is figure out what type of crack you’re dealing with so you know the best way to proceed. If you aren’t sure what the crack in your foundation means (or are worried you’ve made the wrong diagnosis), it’s always a good idea to have a professional come and take a look.
These types of cracks are normal, and they aren’t a sign of danger.
Most of the time, vertical cracks form from rainwater running up against the foundation, so they’re shallow and easily-fixed. All you have to do is fill them with water-resistant cement (or a similar solution), and you’re good to go.
Horizontal cracks are much more foreboding than vertical ones. You should NEVER ignore a horizontal crack.
These cracks mean there is too much strain on your foundation, and if you leave them alone, you’ll put the structural integrity of your home at risk. Your home might not collapse (though that is certainly possible), but you’ll definitely find yourself facing serious and expensive repairs.
Call a professional to take care of the issue right away.
These cracks fall somewhere in between vertical and horizontal cracks. They aren’t necessarily dangerous, but you shouldn’t disregard them either.
Diagonal cracks develop when one section of your house settles faster than another. This could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a sinking foundation. Because of this, you should have a professional come and inspect the crack to be safe.
However, you can fix these cracks on your own after that with the same method (though different solutions) that you would use on vertical cracks.
You won’t find this type of crack (most likely) unless you have a brick or block foundation. As the name suggests, this crack looks like the steps of a staircase, and it often walks its way up between bricks.
Step cracks are similar to diagonal cracks, but they can be a bit more dangerous. You should make sure a professional inspects the area before doing anything else.
Did you find a crack in the floor of your basement? Unless they get really big (over 1/2 an inch wide), these types of cracks are harmless. If you don’t like how you look, you can fill them in; otherwise, you can leave them how they are.
Check Your Home for Other Signs of a Foundation Problem
If you’ve found a crack in your foundation, it might be a good idea to check the rest of your home for signs of a foundation problem to figure out how serious the issue is. Finding one or more of these signs means you need to address the foundation crack right away.
1. Doors or Windows That Stick
Your windows and doors should open and close smoothly. If they don’t that might mean your foundation’s having trouble.
Of course, having one sticking window in your house isn’t cause for concern. However, if you have several windows and doors that are all getting harder and harder to open, you should turn your attention to the foundation.
2. Gaps Around Windows
Are the windows separating from the frames or walls around them? This isn’t a good sign. If the cause is the foundation, you may notice this happening to your exterior doors as well.
3. Sagging Floor
Sagging floors (and ceilings) means the structural integrity of your home is starting to fail. The building may be beginning to fall in on itself. NEVER ignore this problem.
4. Structures Separating From the Walls (Such as Cabinets)
Solida structures that are connected to your walls, such as cabinets, sinks, counters, etc., should all stay where they are without issue. If you notice cracks forming where they connect to the wall, it might mean your house is starting to get uneven because of a sunken foundation.
5. Cracks in the Drywall
As your house settles and your foundation warps out of place, you may find small cracks forming on your interior walls. They’ll be most common around the corners of doors and windows, but they can happen anywhere.
How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost?
It’s hard to put an exact price tag on foundation repair. The cost will vary depending on a number of things, including:
- The size of your home
- The type of foundation repair needed
- Where you live
On average though, you can expect to pay about $4,000 for the job (though it can be much more expensive). Yes, it’s pricy, but you should never put it off. Avoiding foundation repairs will just make the damage worse and the fix more expensive later, and it can put the safety of you and your family at risk.
What to Do If You Find a Crack in the Foundation of Your Home
You should get in touch with a professional as soon as you find a crack in the foundation (unless you know for sure it’s harmless). This isn’t a job you can DIY your way through. Small mistakes or missed spots can turn into serious, dangerous, and expensive repairs.
Not sure who to contact?
Don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our team at Armored Basement Waterproofing will diagnose the issue and recommend the best (and safest) remedy to take care of it.Share