There are several types of basement cracks, with causes ranging from concrete shrinkage to structural instablity. Knowing the difference is an important skill for any homeowner.
There are many different types of basement cracks, and just as many causes for them. Some of these cracks may be purely cosmetic, and be of little concern to the structure of your home. Others could be more dire, and it's important to know the difference. Learning how to spot and identify basement and foundation cracks before they become a problem is highly beneficial to any homeowner. This simple skill could end up saving you both money and peace of mind.
In this article, the experts here at HomePro Match explain the types of basement cracks, the level of risk associated with various types of basement cracks, and how these foundation and basement repairs are done properly and professionally.
What is a Basement Floor Crack?
Perhaps the most common type of basement crack is the basement floor crack. They appear across the basement floor, usually very thin spiderweb cracks. These cracks are typically created by natural causes, such as concrete shrinkage, natural foundation settlement, shifting soils, and groundwater. The real weight of your home rests upon the foundation walls, so cracks in the floor have no bearing on structural stability.
However, if a basement floor crack is wider than an 1/8th of an inch, it's recommended that the crack be sealed to avoid water and radon seepage.
Identifying Types of Basement Floor Cracks
Generally, there are five types of basement cracks to be aware of, each with their own implications. Though basement cracks may look harmless enough at first, a crack in your home's foundation is something to examine closely.
- Horizontal Cracks--Horizontal cracks are generally the most severe. These appear parallel to the floor, which makes them easy to identify. These cracks are most often caused by lateral pressure from shifted soils around the foundation. If not dealt with, walls could eventually collapse.
- Diagonal Cracks--These cracks are of less concern, as they are often caused by natural processes, such as concrete shrinkage over time. Diagonal cracks often begin at the corners of windows or doors, so they can be easily spotted. They can also be caused by slight shifting of the foundation. A basement repair contractor should be brought in to perform a risk assessment and perform the necessary foundation repairs.
- Vertical Cracks--Vertical cracks run up and down, pointing from floor to ceiling. These cracks can have a variety of different causes, from soil pressure, or hydrostatic pressure to foundation wall movement, or simple concrete shrinkage. Vertical cracks are most often a cause for concern when they connect with or align with other cracks.
- Foundation Floor Cracks--Floor cracks can range from just one, near a wall, to spider webbing cracks across the space. These cracks are most often from shrinkage and settlement. Though these cracks are not often a concern, they become an issue when the slab becomes unlevel, or connects with more cracks, especially ones that extend up the walls.
- Stair-Step Cracks--Cracks that appear to follow a stair-step pattern are found in cinder block foundation walls, and could indicate a shifting or wall movement. A basement repair contractor should come in to assess the cause, though these could also be natural settlement cracks that could require repair.
Vertical Crack in Foundation
How to Fix Basement and Foundation Floor Cracks
There are many DIY friendly projects in a home, but anything involving foundation repairs should be left to the professionals for your safety and peace of mind.
With causes ranging from slight, natural settlement and concrete shrinkage, to serious soil displacement, hydrostatic pressure and wall movement, it's important to call
a basement repair contractor to figure out just what is going on in order to make those important basement crack repairs.
A basement repair contractor might tell you that hairline cracks are more of a cosmetic fix, or that cracks wider than 1/8th of an inch should likely be filled and sealed to prevent water seepage. If there's significant damage, such as crumbling or bowing walls, more serious measures might have to be employed.
Here at HomePro Match, we've gathered the best local basement crack repair and foundation crack repair contractors in your area into one easy to navigate webpage. That way, you can have the peace of mind knowing that your home will be well taken care of. Many companies offer full evaluations and estimates, so that you know what to expect and how much it'll cost, down to the very last penny.
If you've noticed some concerning basement cracks in your home, reach out today!