If you have a foundation wall- especially a cinder block foundation wall- with a crack, it's possible that the crack is going to get much worse. Water can leak into the basement, and because the wall is sometimes literally cracked in two pieces, movement of the walls and the pressure pushing in will work the cracks open even more. When this happens, attempts to patch the basement wall crack will fail, and the problem will demand further attention.
Finding and Monitoring Foundation Cracks
Homeowners often find cracks in foundation walls long after they first occurred. These cracks form most often at pipe penetrations, windows, tie rods, and in long spans of open foundation wall. Foundation cracks also commonly appear in corners, pour lines, and in service holes.
If you suspect that your crack is spreading, widening, or moving, it's important that you check on it on a regular basis. Monitor the length of the crack my marking the ends off with a pencil. Draw several alignment lines across the crack at various points as well. If these alignment marks show up crooked in the future, you'll know that the crack is shifting unevenly and may be a serious problem. Be sure to date all marks, as this will help both you and your foundation contractor to see how quickly the wall is deteriorating.
One crack leads to another, and these cracks will not improve on their own. Especially when the foundation crack is leaking, it's important to repair it immediately to avoid further damage. There are two main categories of basement wall cracks. Select yours to learn more:
These cracks caused by pressure against the sides of the walls. They're very serious and can lead to the complete failure of the foundation walls. Click here to learn more about what causes these cracks and which options are available for repair.
Vertical or Diagonal Cracks
Vertical cracks in a foundation wall are often found on foundation walls of all ages. They're most often caused by the shrinking of concrete as it cures, but they may be an indication of damage from a settling foundation.
Foundation Floor Cracks
Leaking foundation floor cracks can lead to serious flooding. They can also allow harmful radon gas your home. Click here to read more...
Please note: if you're noticing large cracks in your foundation walls, leaning chimneys or porches, foundation cracks running from your windows, wall cracks that are visible from outside, cracks that are larger than 1/16" (0.16cm) in width, or other very serious signs of damage, stop reading this troubleshooting guide now and contact a foundation professional for an inspection your home. These problems are serious and require a hands-on approach to best diagnose them.