When you see foundation cracks, you might be tempted to ignore them. After all, your home has held up this long with a crack so it can’t be that bad, right? Unfortunately, sometimes foundation cracks can signal that big damage is beginning to happen, like bowing walls, walls pulling away from the home, and more. There are a few differences between which cracks can be safely left and which should be repaired immediately.
1. Vertical Cracks
In most cases, vertical cracks are due to settlement of the foundation. This is not the kind of settlement that we expect, but is rather due to shifting soils or other forces. The foundation will end up tilting one way or another which causes pressure on the foundation which can cause cracks. These cracks, especially vertical cracks, can let in a lot of water. This is a big problem in your basement! Vertical cracks should never be ignored because they can signal big foundation problems.
2. Horizontal Cracks
Horizontal cracks are another type of crack which needs quick action taken to assure your home’s stability. In most cases, horizontal cracks are caused by hydrostatic pressure. When soil becomes highly saturated with water, it also becomes heavier. That heavier soil pushes against the foundation which cannot take the stress and cracks. These cracks may eventually turn into bowing or leaning walls which are a serious safety and stability hazard for your home. Never wait to fix bowing or leaning walls, or even walls with horizontal cracks beginning to form.
3. Cracks Due to Settlement
During the construction of a new home, there is leeway left for natural settlement of the home. You may see small, hairline cracks which do not get bigger. These cracks are due to natural settlement, and they can be safely left alone without any consequences. You may cover them up with paint or any other covering you’d like. However, if you have any doubts about a crack, call a professional for an estimate to find out if you need to take action.
How are Foundation Cracks Resolved?
Usually, the “crack” part of the problem is not addressed until after the foundation issue is. This is because the cracks are just a symptom of a bigger foundation problem. Some common ways to resolve foundation issues like settlement and hydrostatic pressure that cause bowing walls might be underpinning techniques.
Steel push piers are a common tool used to correct foundation damage. They are driven deep into the earth, attached to the home via metal plates, and the weight from the home is shifted onto the stable plates. Slab Pier Systems uses straight steel piers and brackets that have been installed underground, the slab pier supports your foundation at a greater depth.
Do You Have Foundation Cracks?
If you see foundation cracks, there’s no need to panic. Take a moment and think about its size, direction, and if it is a new crack or has been there a long time. If you’re unsure, contact KC Waterproofing . We’re happy to assess the situation and give you an estimate of what it may cost to resolve it. Contact KC Waterproofing for a free estimate today!
To learn more about your home's foundation and repair methods that may be right for you, visit or Ultimate Guide to Your Kansas City's Home Strong Foundation.