Knowing When a Crack in Your Home Should Be a Concern.
We’ve all heard nightmare stories of how foundation cracks or cracks in walls could signify major problems. However, not every crack is a reason for alarm. Let us explain the differences so you’ll know what they mean and when you should be concerned.
Vertical Cracks in Basement Walls
As the concrete walls or blocks cure, they begin to shrink and may result in small vertical cracks. These cracks may be barely visible while others can be a bit larger. While most vertical cracks are not usually a sign of distress, water can penetrate through if the waterproofing material on the wall’s exterior lacks the suppleness necessary to protect the crack. If the cracks are less than 1/8” wide, consider filling them with a waterproof sealant to prevent moisture from entering the basement. However, if the vertical cracks are 1/8” wide or bigger, you should have it inspected.
Horizontal Cracks in Basement Walls
Horizontal cracks along the intermediate height of basement walls sometimes occur from the pressure of exterior dirt. As long as that area of the wall is not protruding inward from stress, most likely the structural integrity isn’t compromised. However, it’s a good idea to monitor the crack and the wall for any changes.
Diagonal Cracks in Basement Walls
Diagonal cracks frequently exist in concrete basement walls, typically due to one of three reasons.
The most common type will move diagonally from the top edge of a concrete basement wall down towards a corner. When there is also an inward tilt present at the highest point of the crack, the issue is typically caused by missing anchor bolts in the framing that attaches the basement wall to the floor above, which results in the wall being shoved in from the earth.