Foundation cracks forming as a result of structural deficiencies can pose a serious threat to the home’s foundation. Horizontal cracks, or cracks wider than a quarter of an inch are general signs of a structural crack. Structural cracks typically form as a result of wall movement from thermal changes, uneven loading and settling of the footing, soil pressure and/or soil shrinkage.
Vertical Cracks Causing Leaks
Most concrete foundation cracks are strictly leaking problems, especially during heavy rains and snow melt. Not only can excess water in the basement potentially damage or ruin valuable items, but chances for mold and mildew growth are significantly higher, which directly impacts a home’s indoor air quality. Basement wall cracks also have the ability to widen. While a particular crack may not necessarily be a problem at the time, that can change as soon as the next heavy rain storm arrives. After a foundation crack forms, the prospect of water seepage (whether slight or major) is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. If water leakage from a foundation crack is minimal now, the potential exists for the crack to widen, allowing further seepage into the basement.
While concrete cracks appear to be typical, it is not recommended that they remain ignored. Most homeowners best identify concrete cracks in their basement, either on the foundation wall or on the floor. They may also recognize cracks on the garage floor, patio or in-ground pool.
These cracks typically due to drying shrinkage, thermal movement or other causes usually are minor and result in few problems. More often than not, a foundation crack 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.