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Foundation problems & causes of cracks

Foundation problems are great concerns for majority of houses. The foundation problems occur due to several reasons like concrete shrinking, settling of soil, construction flaws, irregular soil, ground pressures, water pressure and lots other.

When the foundation problem is extreme, the structure will be significantly damaged. The following factors are the indication of foundation problem :-

Cracks in wall, floor and ceiling
Irregular or sloping floors
Bowed walls or floors
Doors and windows are not opened or closes perfectly
Doors, windows and garage doors getting detached from the adjacent walls
Spaces among walls and ceilings
Spaces among walls and floors
Leaks and cracks in and around the fireplace
Tilting Chimneys

Types of cracks in foundation


Vertical cracks

Vertical cracks in masonry among two structures occur due to differential settlement or thermal settlement.

Vertical cracks in masonry walls or mortar joints occur because of shrinkage or thermal movement. When the cracks remain uniform in width, irregular or straight there is less risk since these cracks are easily repairable with a professional grade crack repair kit.

Vertical cracks in poured concrete happen owing to shrinkage or thermal movement. If the cracks are uniform in width, irregular or straight there is less risk since these cracks are easily repairable with a professional grade crack repair kit.

Cracks in brick either straight or stepped specifically adjacent to the ends of wall, frequently occur because of expansion or thermal movement. When the bond courses in wall are shattered, there is possibility for collapsing of the building.

In wall, larger at bottom rather more at top – settlement under building, these cracks in masonry block wall are less harmful as compared to horizontal cracks. But these cracks are great concern when discovered in a brick wall specifically when bond courses are broken and there is possibility for collapsing.

Diagonal cracks

Diagonal cracks occur because of various reasons like frost heaves, frost lensing, shallow footing, water problems, insufficient backfill, foundation settlement, extensive clay soil, damage by a shrub/tree adjacent to the foundation wall. Most of the time, the diagonal cracks are repaired with a professional-grade crack repair (poured foundations). If there is a series of small diagonal cracks which can be extended abruptly, they can create more serious issue like sink holes, imperfect loading/header defect.

Horizontal Cracks

The horizontal cracks occur because of the following reasons :-

When the crack is situated high on the foundation wall, it is mainly occurred for cold climates or vehicle loading.

When the crack is situated mid-wall on the foundation, it is occurred because of probable vehicle loading, backfill damage or earth loading.

When the crack is situated low on the foundation wall, it is happened because of earth loading.

Most hairline cracks resulting from shrinkage on a poured foundation wall, can be resolved with a crack repair. Other cracks like large cracks or cracks in brick foundations should be repaired with the help of a professional.

Foundation problems & causes of cracks