A cracked foundation can stem from many issues including insufficient building materials, poor engineering, or simply because they are poorly structured. Foundation cracks are more common in older homes though environmental effects can cause problems in more recently built homes as well. There are two primary foundation types: concrete slab and pier and beam foundations. Slab foundations consist of a large slab of concrete poured over a base of gravel and rebar with a plastic moisture barrier. In contrast, pier and beam foundation consist of a concrete beam supporting exterior walls of the home and interior support piers that support the floor joists.
Walk outside of the house and look for visible cracks in the foundation. If you have a basement, look around for water seepage. Be sure to check where the wall meets the floor, as this is a common location of foundation cracks and water seepage. If you see a few hairline vertical or stair-step cracks in the concrete, don’t worry. However, if you see cracks in the mortar, this is cause for concern.
Common Signs of a Cracked Foundation
If you observe any of the following signs in your home, it is necessary to take action sooner rather than later. Contact Intech Anchoring at 734-432-5111 to get your free estimate and locate a Intech Anchoring expert near you.
Inside the house
- Check for substantial cracks in the drywall of the walls of your home.
- Close the doors and windows, if they begin to stick or jam, this can be an indication that the foundation is shifting. However, do not be worried if the doors and windows stick due to mechanical issues.
- If you have a slab foundation, pull up a rug or small section of flooring to check for cracks in the concrete. Small cracks are common in this type of foundation. However, to determine if a crack is more worrisome, take a ruler, or like object, and place it over the crack. If the crack is level, there is no reason to worry. However if one side of the crack is lower than the other, this may indicate that your foundation is beginning to sink.
- If you have a pier and beam foundation, check the crawl space beneath the home. If you see exposed dirt, check to see if it is moist. If the dirt is moist or there is a musty or mildew odor, this can be an indicator of water seepage through foundation cracks.
- If there are visible cracks in the crawl space but it appears to be very dry, this is cause for concern. This indicates that there has been a lot of moisture followed by a long dry spell which can compromise foundation strength.
Outside the House
- If you have a multi-story home, step outside and look for cracks above doors and windows on the upper floors. This indicates that there are issues with the foundation.
- Look for horizontal cracks. Horizontal cracks indicate a serious issue. These cracks are normally caused by hydrostatic pressure, a build-up of water behind the foundation. This can often cause a home to look “too big” for its foundation.
- Stair-step cracks in bricks indicate movement of the home due to foundation instability.
- Vertical cracks can indicate serious issues as well. If you see vertical cracks in the exterior of your home this often means that expansion of the soil is pushing up your foundation or the foundation is falling due to soil compaction.