If you spot vertical or diagonal hairline gaps on your foundation within the first year of construction, they are typically shrinkage cracks. As concrete dries, it shrinks and may form these small cracks less than ⅛ inches wide. Per the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), these cracks don't pose any risk to your foundation and only need cosmetic repairs.
When To Worry: If you notice that hairline cracks are expanding, it may signal that the foundation is experiencing ongoing movement and could be at risk. Call a professional for an inspection.
Horizontal cracks often indicate a problem with the foundation's structural integrity. When they appear along the foundation wall, the wall is starting to lean inward. Pressure from water-soaked soil mainly causes these fissures. The pressure is too much for the foundation to bear, leading its walls to bow.
When To Worry: Bowing foundation walls could lead to a complete structural failure of your home. When you see a horizontal gap forming along your foundation wall, contact an expert.
Stair-step cracks appear in masonry joints of a concrete block or brick foundation and follow the mortar line in a zig-zag pattern. They can signify differential settling, where different foundation parts have shifted. If the cracks are small and isolated, they do not require immediate attention.
When To Worry: If the stair-step cracks are wide, greater than a quarter, or accompanied by a tilting wall, it’s time to call a foundation contractor for inspection. Large cracks could signal a severe problem.
Signs You Need a Foundation Inspection
It's always better to be safe than sorry about foundation cracks. Here are some signs identified by the NAHB that your house has a structural issue and warrants a professional assessment:
- Large Cracks: Cracks greater than 3/16 inches wide may indicate a structural concern.
- Water Seepage: Any gap allowing water to penetrate the foundation should be inspected. Water exacerbates cracks and leads to mold problems.
- Inoperable Doors and Windows: Cracks accompanied by difficulty opening or closing doors and windows could indicate a shifting foundation.
- Sloping Floors: These may indicate foundation damage.
Call Certified Foundation Contractors
For residents in Spearman, Amarillo, TX, and neighboring areas, contact us for professional foundation crack repairs and inspections. Our certified Ram Jack specialists bring expertise to every foundation project.
After securing your foundation, you might also want a basement renovation. At Knowlton Construction, we can transform this underused area into a vibrant living space. Expect us to deliver quality work at fair pricing. Call us at (806) 644-5225 for a consultation!