What Do These Cracks Mean?

While concrete cracks appear to be typical, it is not recommended that they remain ignored. These cracks, typically due to drying shrinkage, thermal movement or other causes usually are minor and result in few problems. Some foundation cracks will widen over time and result in water seepage or possibly the loss of structural integrity. Foundation and slab cracks are not only an eyesore, but they may hinder the value of the home.

CRACK APPEARANCE Horizontal Crack in a foundation wall. Commonly seen in concrete block walls. Crack is usually 4 to 5 feet off the floor. These cracks weaken your walls much more than vertical ones and can lead to complete failure of the walls. These cracks may be caused by pressure against the wall that can push the walls. If you see any cracking, get a professional opinion from a foundation contractor. There are many options available for fixing bowed walls, such as steel braces or under pinning. These methods can repair your wall, add strength, stop the inward movement of your walls, and redistribute the weight on your basement walls.
POSSIBLE CAUSE Poorly designed foundation wall, improper back filling, poor drainage or a hampered drain tile system.

horizontal crack in a foundation wall

CRACK APPEARANCE Stair stepped cracks in a block foundation or in brickwork above a foundation. Cracking often begins at a window or door corner.
POSSIBLE CAUSE Foundation is either settling, heaving or displacing. Must be stabilized before masonry repair begins.

stair stepped cracks in a block foundation

CRACK APPEARANCE Hairline cracks around basement windows or in basement walls. Cracks appear not to get larger. Usually occurs weeks or months after foundation is poured.
POSSIBLE CAUSE These are likely shrinkage cracks caused by water loss when foundation was curing. Usually not a structural problem unless foundation begins to move.

hairline cracks around basement windows

CRACK APPEARANCE Interior plaster or drywall cracks above doors, windows or archways. No apparent foundation cracks.
POSSIBLE CAUSE These are most likely seasonal cracks caused by lumber shrinking and swelling. Basement structural problems may not present.

interior plaster or drywall cracks

Back to Education Station
Top Ten Problem Areas
What Do These Cracks Mean?
Do I Have a Wet Basement?
Common Basement Problems
Common Causes of Foundation Problems
Interior and Exterior Maintenance Tips
Why is it Important to Fix My Basement
Glossary of Terms