Foundation Crack Repair & Waterproofing System

Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert: 780-430-0959

Types of Foundation Cracks

As we all know, no home is perfect. Most foundation cracks will appear within the first year of being built, but older homes are not immune from developing cracks as well. Because of variation in soil properties, not every point on a foundation settles evenly, which may cause cracking walls. Good construction prevents differential settlement and minimizes the overall settlement. Common wall cracks do not pose any structural concerns, or failure of foundation. The biggest problem with these is water leakage. Some of the reasons that foundation cracks form are listed below:

  • Uneven settling
  • Improper expansion control joints
  • Premature removal of concrete forms
  • Compressible soil
  • Premature backfilling
  • Improper compaction of fill soil
  • Uneven moisture around the foundation
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Poor drainage
  • Hydrostatic water pressure

You can find cracks in your homes either in its structural components or cosmetic finish and most of them do not really affect the structural integrity of the building. However it is in your interest to avoid water seepage into the basement and accompanying health related problems. Those living in your home could develop conditions such as allergies and asthma attacks due to the molds and mildews formation in damp environments.

These following are the different types of foundation cracks:

Shrinkage Cracks 
Shrinkage cracks usually occur in newly poured foundation. This happens during the process of shrinking and curing of the concrete. Though shrinkage cracks are not structurally damaging, they result in water seepage into the basement. Shrinkage cracks in a poured concrete foundation can be recognized with ease, as they are usually smaller than 1/8th inches, are vertical occurring only in the wall of the foundation and do not extend along the structure, and lastly, they can usually be found in the centre of the third length of the foundation wall. 

Horizontal Cracks
Horizontal cracks can be found in houses that have a basement usually on the concrete wall of the foundation. If you locate a horizontal crack that runs through the foundation along the basement length usually indicates a major problem where the foundation is unable to bear the weight of the soil surrounding it. The crack is a result of the huge pressure applied on the foundation by the soil (lateral pressure). Foundation walls are usually built in such a manner that they take enormous pressure loads. However due to any reason, if your foundation develops a full length horizontal crack, then it is time to act immediately and seal the crack. 

Settlement Cracks
Settlement cracks in the foundation are generally vertical and extend completely through the structure. The cracks usually follow the mortar joints in walls made of bricks. Short term settlement is the cause of most of the settlement cracks we find. It is very rare to find a building affected by ongoing settlement. If you are planning on purchasing a home, it is essential taking a home inspector with you to identify if the settlement is ongoing on one time before closing the deal. You can differentiate between one time and ongoing settlement with the help of the settlement crack size. If the crack is larger in size, it is most probably due to an ongoing movement. If, on the other hand, the crack is sized lesser than ¼ inches, then it may be due to a one time crack. You can also identify a settlement crack with the direction of movement. For instance, a vertical crack is a typical example of a settlement crack. Crevices and bumps you can find here fitting like puzzle pieces. You must be concerned about ongoing movement if the settlement crack repaired earlier re-cracks.

Honeycomb Cracks
Honeycombing is a rough, pitted surface on the basement wall resulting from incomplete filling of the concrete against the formwork, often caused by not vibrating it sufficiently after it has been poured. The exposed aggregate leaves a honeycomb look and hence the name. 

Tie Rods/Snap Ties
Tie rods, also called snap ties, are a leftover from the construction of the foundation. Sometimes the rods will rust and allow water to leak into your basement.