Foundation Cracks: When Should I Worry?

Foundation cracks are one of the most common issues that confront all 79 million American homeowners. The good news is they’re also easy to fix. However, some cracks are more urgent than others.

Fixing small cracks before they become large fractures will protect your home from crumbling. Continue reading to find out when you should be concerned about home foundation cracks.

What Are Major Foundation Cracks?

When it comes to cracks in the foundation, it’s important to know if it’s a minor or major problem. For instance, cracks that are wider than 1/10 inch are major. Also, if the crack is wider at one end than the other and continues to grow over time, it’s a sign of a serious problem.

Other symptoms of foundation issues include stair-step cracks. These types of cracks indicate that movement has occurred between two different sections of your home. That’s never a good sign!

Why Do Houses Develop Cracks in the Foundation?

The most common cause of foundation cracks is shifting soil. This occurs when the foundation is on loose sand or gravel.

Poor drainage can also lead to serious foundation cracks. When water sits on the foundation, it can cause the soil to swell and crack your home foundation.

Trees and shrubs growing against a foundation wall can cause damage as well. If they grow too large or their roots spread out too far, they can put pressure on the foundation and cause breaks.

Other explanations include:

  • Poor installation
  • Drought conditions
  • Water intrusion
  • Seismic activity

Can a Crack in the Foundation Cause Harm to Other Areas?

If you have a crack in your foundation, it can cause problems with the entire structure of your home. The foundation is the base of your house and it supports the weight of your building. If this support is compromised, it can cause significant structural issues like:

  • Sinking or shifting floors
  • Doors and windows that won’t close properly
  • Plumbing leaks due to shifting pipes underground

Does a Cracked Foundation Mean You Have a Bad Foundation?

It depends on the type of crack, but usually not. Foundation cracks appear when the soil is saturated with water. This causes the ground around your home to expand and contract, which can cause hairline cracks.

Hairline cracks are normal and don’t require any repair work unless they get larger. If you notice an increase in the size or depth of these hairline cracks, however, it could be proof that more serious problems exist within your home’s structure.

However, cracks aren’t the sole sign of a poor foundation. In some cases, homeowners may also see vertical or horizontal movement around their house’s perimeter. This is a sure symbol of foundation problems.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a professional to investigate.

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Damaged Foundations?

Whether you’re covered by your homeowner’s insurance depends on the type of damage and how much coverage you have. If it’s a small crack, your policy likely won’t cover it at all. But if your foundation is crumbling and threatening to harm you and your family, then yes—you’ll most likely be covered.

So how do you know when to file a claim?

If the crack is because of poor construction or bad weather (like an earthquake) then there’s a chance your insurance will cover the reconstruction. However, if the cracks are caused by something like termites eating away at the structure, your insurance will not cover them.

How to Pick a Company to Repair the Cracks in Your Foundation?

Foundation crack repair is a specialized job that requires the help of a professional. This is because it takes more than just patching up the cracks.

Your contractor must scrutinize the foundation to determine what caused the cracks. They’ll also have to make sure that any repairs they make won’t cause more damage later on.

If you’re not sure who to call, here are some tips.

Make sure the company is licensed and insured. You should be able to verify this by asking for a copy of their certificate of insurance. This document should state that they carry liability coverage in case something goes wrong during their work.

Also, ask for references from people in your community who have used them before. This can help you feel more confident about the company’s ability to do a good job.

Finally, get an estimate and make sure it’s detailed enough so you know what exactly will happen during the process. Confirm that there are no hidden costs, too! This includes things like extra labor charges or other fees that aren’t included in the original quote.

How Much Will It Cost to Fix a Crack in the Foundation of a Home?

The cost of repairing a foundation crack can vary widely depending on its location, size, and severity. While the average repair cost for a small crack is about $500, large cracks can be upwards of $10,000.

Still, the price is always worth it. Repairs are more cost-effective than replacements.

These repairs are made to the surface of the concrete foundation and extend only into shallow depths. The process involves sealing off an area around the crack using epoxy grout or cement. Once dried overnight, cleanup can begin before re-finishing your concrete with sealant or paint if necessary.

And voila! No more cracked floor!

Preserve Your Home’s Value

If you’re concerned about your foundation cracks, get in touch with a qualified home inspector. They can come out and look at your home to determine what type of repairs are necessary.

However, if you’re a skilled do-it-yourselfer, explore our services section and see if any of our temporary fixes can help get your place back in order.