The foundation of your home, including any concrete walls that surround a crawl space or basement, supports your house’s entire weight. Anytime you see a crack in the concrete could be a concern.
The easiest way to ensure that this crack isn’t caused of a more serious problem is to employ a structural engineer or foundation contractor to inspect it. But here are some general guidelines that should help you understand if it’s something to worry about.
Hairline cracks are usually fine
It’s very common for hairline cracks to appear in the corner of basements, near windows or doors within a year of construction. This commonly takes place because of a normal settling process, as concrete will shrink as it cures. If these cracks remain hairline in nature, they’re nothing to be concerned about.
Monitor any new cracks to see if they expand
If the crack you notice is new and is not a hairline in nature but is still under 1/8 of an inch is most likely still only a settling crank and rarely presents issues. But the crack should be monitored, and this is easily done by making pencil marks at both ends and noting the date of each mark.
The width and length of the crank should be measured, and this should be noted on the wall. You should monitor these cranks every couple of months and also note any additional changes if the crack expands.
What to do with a crack over 1/8th of an inch
Any cracks in your foundation between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch are still usually the result of concrete shrinking as your house is settling and pose no structural danger. I would probably advise your structural engineer and seal them to prevent radon gas, moisture or soil seeping in. Even if the crack is horizontal and occurs where the foundation meets your basement floor this is still not a structural problem but sealing it is a good idea.
These types of cracks are common as they usually pour basement floors after the walls and occasionally the concrete wall and floor will not completely bond and when your house settles cracks occur. Once this remains less than a half an inch in width they remain nothing to worry about, other than potentially allowing gas, smells or moisture into your basement.
What to do if water is seeping through a crack?
If you notice your crawl space or basement is damper than usual, this is usually caused by water seepage coming through a crack. This leak will pose and risk of mildew and mold growth unless the crack is sealed. Once you seal the crack, it’s also important to keep the source of the water away from your foundation’s wall. Installing correct guttering and downspouts and adding additional soil to the yard close to your foundation is the first step. They you should increase the gradient of a slope away from your home will help water move away from the foundation.
If you encounter a crack that is wider than half an inch you should immediately consult a structural engineer as it could present as a more serious underlying problem.
So you go the foundation fixed but now you’re noticing it caused cracks in your drywall on the inside? No big deal, we’ll talk about how to find a good drywall company and how to repair any other damage inside your home later on. Be sure to keep checking back!