Basement Cracks – Types of Cracks and If You Need to Fix Them
Or are those basement cracks just normal wear and tear? Cracks in your home can be scary. Sometimes there is an easy patch or cover-up solution. In other cases, basement cracks and other flaws can be signs of dangerous problems lurking under your feet.
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Check out these common types of cracks in Virginia homes and if you need to take action now.
1. Basement Cracks
Vertical cracks indicate pressure against the basement walls. Horizontal cracks are an emergency issue. The walls will cave in unless fixed fast. Stair step cracks through the mortar are a sign of settling. They may be normal settling, but keep a close eye on them.
2. Crawl Space Foundation Cracks
These cracks can be caused by shifting soil, cheap building practices, poor drainage, bad grading, plumbing leaks and more. As above, some of these are extremely dangerous and can implode with a bang. Failing to fix them will ensure the problem just gets worse and dampness can ruin the rest of your home.
3. Floor Cracks
Cracks in the basement floor are a sign of settling. This can be a sign your foundation can no longer hold the weight of your home. Ongoing dampness and water damage will only make it worse and impact the rest of your house. You can have these cracks inspected by a professional for the best custom solution.
4. Cracks In Drywall
These cracks in your interior walls, around doors and window frames and even on the ceiling can be a sign of faulty building practices or foundation problems. An inspection will help you assess if this is normal settling or your home needs support piers to prevent further sinking.
5. Cracked Slab
A cracked foundation slab can be caused by your house settling, concrete shrinkage and changes in the soil. This is a common problem for homeowners in Virginia where freezing and extreme weather changes cause the underlying ground to swell and shrink.
6. Cracks In Concrete Blocks
Stair step cracks in between blocks along the mortar lines show your home is not settling evenly. This problem can continue to get worse over time. It will likely show up in cracks throughout the interior of your home over time. Vertical or horizontal cracks in blocks are serious. The exterior pressure is too much for your home’s foundation. They will cause collapse.
7. Cracks In Brickwork
The pattern of your brick cracks can tell a lot about the cause. Stair step-style cracks in brickwork show uneven settling of a home. They can grow and grow and get wider and wider. This will cause other functional and aesthetic problems throughout your house. Vertical cracks suggest a high likelihood of foundation issues. Horizontal cracks are always a red flag of foundation failure. Walls will collapse and the entire home can be lost if not addressed right away.
8. Concrete Cracks
Cracks in concrete floors, garages, and cracks in basement slabs indicate the soil is no longer able to support your home. There could be poor construction work involved or excess water around the foundation of your home. Even before you notice these cracks, there may be sinking floors in your home, cracks in your inter-walls close to the corners, and more.
9. Chimney Cracks
Chimneys are amazing, even if you don’t use them for real wood fires anymore. They can be one of the best architectural features of your home. Sadly, they also put a lot of weight in one place. If your home builder took shortcuts and didn’t prepare the soil and foundation correctly, you’ll start seeing chimney cracks, and it may start leaning. This not only robs you of a lot of joy and value but can obviously become dangerous and threaten the rest of your home. Some have suggested homeowners remove chimneys or strap them in place. This can be a real shame and still doesn’t fix the underlying problem. Tackle water and foundation problems and keep your chimney and the rest of your home safe.
10. Cracked Sidewalks & Driveways
Fortunately, cracked sidewalks and driveways don’t have to mean the scary underlying issues that the above types of cracks can. However, sooner or later these things will crack and show wear. This not only looks ugly but can be a financial liability if someone trips on these cracks. They can be lifted with foam, re-leveled and resurfaced.