Types of Foundation Cracks

Something you need to pay attention to is different foundation cracks. That’s because different types of cracks can have different repercussions in your space. If you want to tackle them properly, it’s a good idea to determine which type of cracks you have.

Do you have stair-step cracks? What about vertical foundation cracks? Here’s what to know about the different types. 

Stair-Step Cracks

A stair-step crack is a type of foundation crack that looks like stairs. It typically threads through brickwork; because the bricks are laid out in a stair-step-like pattern, it’s often the pattern that’s easiest for the cracks to form.

However, don’t just write it off as “normal” cracking. Stair-step cracks are a big deal. That’s because they’re a sign your house is settling unevenly. One side is settling more quickly than the other, causing more stress on that side.

This is a serious foundation problem. If you’re seeing stair-step cracks in your crawl space, talk to a JES expert about what you can do to fix it. 

Horizontal Cracks

These cracks most commonly tend to form between bricks and grouting in a brick wall. However, they can also form in walls that don’t have any grouting and they’re usually less even.

Horizontal cracks form when the foundation can’t stand up against the force of the dirt pressing against it from outside. If you leave these cracks alone without fixing the underlying problem, they’ll turn into bowed walls. Left long enough, the walls could eventually collapse.

Clearly, it’s important to tackle these horizontal cracks as soon as possible. If you’re starting to see horizontal cracking in your walls, talk to a JES expert now for a free inspection so you can start handling the problem. 

Vertical Cracks

What if these cracks just go straight up and down? Vertical foundation cracks are typically caused by house settling.

These types of cracks tend to be more of a cause for concern if they’re not just thin, narrow cracks in the center of the wall. If it’s wider at the top or bottom, near the corners of the foundation, or near the soil line of the foundation, it’s very possible that it’s evidence of a serious problem.

If you see these vertical foundation cracks, contact a JES expert to learn more about the problem during a foundation inspection. 

Hairline Cracks

These are cracks that are narrower than one-sixteenth of an inch. They’re called “hairline” because they may look like a small hair lying on the surface of the concrete, rather than an actual crack in the foundation.

Of all the different types of cracks, this is the one with the least potential for concern. Of course, you should take it seriously because they can always get bigger.

If you’re only seeing one or two small hairline cracks, especially if they’re forming within the first year after the concrete was poured, it’s likely the cracks come from shrinking concrete. However, if you’re having other foundation problems, it’s still a good idea to talk to a professional about it.

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