Diagnosing Causes of Vertical Foundation Cracks

Vertical foundation cracks can mean very different things depending on the size, type, and type of material they occur in. In some cases there is very low to moderate risk, but in many cases vertical cracks can be very dangerous with great risk of collapse.

Very often vertical cracks in poured concrete wall indicate simple shrinkage, especially if they are generally of even width and intermittently spaced. This may have occurred very close to construction and usually carry a low amount of risk. However, if the crack appears to be wider at the top than the bottom, and keeps growing, then there is a great chance that the footing has broken and settled. It would be very important in this case to determine if the footing is falling further and stabilize if necessary.

If a vertical crack in a block foundation wall is of fairly even width, this could actually just be some shrinkage that happened early in construction. It could also be result of nearby blasting. Of course, if the crack keeps growing, this is always a matter of great concern. If the walls appear to be shifted in height, then this is a direct sign of a broken footing and the foundation should be stabilized. This could be very serious.

Vertical foundation cracks between two structures are very common and often low risk. Usually these have just occurred as a result of different settlement rates.

Vertical cracks near the ends of walls can also indicate the foundation footer is damaged and could be especially dangerous with risk of collapse.

Vertical Foundation Crack Repair Methods

Broken footers need to be stabilized and usually some sort of underground piering system is recommended by professionals. Steel and concrete piers are both popular. Listen closely to inspectors and repair specialists to determine what is best for you.
Where there is very low risk, as in the case of shrinkage, perhaps only cosmetic repairs are needed. However, most inspections from foundation specialists are free of charge and it wouldn’t hurt to get a professional opinion and feel confident in the foundation of your home.


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