Cracks in the foundation of your home can be a cause for concern, but how bad is it really? It depends on the type of crack and the extent of the damage. Cracks that are wider at one end, or that get bigger over time, are a major concern. Step cracks in masonry joints, horizontal cracks in your basement foundation, and cracks due to unbalanced soil or hydrostatic pressure are all serious issues. Earthquakes, subsidence pits, landslides, and slope creep can also cause foundation damage.
If you notice a crack that is wider than ¼ inch, or if the wall is bulging or sloping inward, it is important to repair it as soon as possible. Poor drainage near the foundation can also cause cracks and damage. If you're unsure about the severity of a crack, it's best to consult a structural engineer. Clogged gutters and other humidity problems can put pressure on walls and cause cracks. Control joints provide weak spots where concrete can crack without affecting strength or safety.
Leaks in pipes can also cause moisture to migrate around or under a base, resulting in cracks. It's important to be aware of the different types of foundation cracks and when they should be a cause for concern. Diagonal cracks and inward slopes of interior walls are signs that something is wrong. If you notice any of these issues, it's best to get them checked out by an expert.