As a homeowner, seeing a crack in your foundation can certainly be cause for concern. Here in Toronto, the harsh Winters and rainy Springs and Summers can cause havoc on our home’s foundation. Even if it hasn’t happened to you, many of us have heard horror stories of water damage and shifting foundations that can cost a pretty penny to repair. The last thing any homeowner wants to see is a crack running along their foundation. So, how can you tell if the small crack you discovered signifies a much larger problem? Read on to find out.
What Different Types of Cracks Can Signify
There are several different types of basement cracks that commonly occur within the foundation of a home, each of which can signify a different problem:
- Horizontal Cracks – A crack in your wall that extends horizontally, or looks like a stairstep, commonly signifies a more serious problem for homeowners. These cracks leave your foundation susceptible to lateral pressure and with the natural expansion of the ground around your foundation, with moisture, it can actually cause your wall to bow around the crack. A horizontal crack can eventually lead to the entire failure and snapping of the foundation walls if not cared for appropriately. This type of crack cannot be fixed by simply filling it, it will require professional attention by an experienced foundation repair company to truly repair.
- Vertical Cracks – As concrete and the foundation of your home settle it can cause vertical cracks to occur throughout your foundation. These cracks are quite common and can be easily repaired by filling the crack with filler materials to prevent further spreading. While vertical cracks can potentially be a sing of something serious, most often it is due to natural settling of your home’s foundation. If you see new vertical cracks appearing in your foundation, it is best to contact a foundation repair company to take a look at it.
- Diagonal Cracks – A diagonal crack is typically an indication of a fracture that has spread over time, so a simple filling might not fix it permanently. It is a good idea to get these types of cracks stabilized and reinforced by professionals so that further spreading does not occur.
Depending on the types of cracks that you are noticing within your foundation, you can better determine the next step that you need to take to protect your investment.
Even Minor Cracks Need to Be Monitored
Even if you have a vertical crack, you want to be sure that you monitor all cracks regularly. Expansion, bowing of walls and leaks can only cause more damage to your home and cost you more money. If water is leaking into your basement from the foundation crack it is important to get it fixed. Water can erode the foundation over time and turn a relatively minor repair into a major repair job later on. A great way to monitor your cracks is to use a pencil to mark the ends of a crack with the date reviewed. A few months later you can return to the crack and see if it has changed or expanded. If you notice an expansion then perhaps it is a good idea to seek professional assistance to ensure that you home is not in danger.
When to Get a Foundation Professional Involved
If you notice that a crack in your foundation has seemed to worsen, or you have a horizontal or diagonal crack, then you are going to want to consider bringing in a professional. A contracting company that specializes in foundation repairs can give you an assessment of whether it’s a minor problem or a more serious matter. If it’s a very serious problem, a structural engineer will likely be recommended to assess the foundation.
Your home is your sanctuary and an investment that should be protected, don’t let a little foundation crack threaten your home and family.
Have questions about cracks in your foundation? If you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA, we at Nusite Group offers a free in-home inspection and assessment of your foundation cracks. We have been serving Toronto for over 30 years and are experts in foundation repairs. You can contact us here for more information.