Not all concrete foundation cracks are created equal. Some cracks should catch your attention more than others. Here’s a crash course on how an inspector looks at cracks in a foundation:
These are the type of cracks that we see most often while inspecting and their severity depends on a few variables. The most common are hairline vertical cracks. Often these kinds of cracks form from the curing process or normal settlement. Vertical cracks are most concerning when the gap is greater than 1/8 of an inch or there is differential movement (one side of the crack sticks out further than the other).
Horizontal & Diagonal Cracks:
Horizontal cracks are usually bad news. These problematic cracks are often caused by water pressure or ground soil moving in towards the foundation. Unaddressed these cracks could lead to foundation failure and costly repairs.
Much like vertical cracks, diagonal cracks are quite common and are often also due to the curing process or settlement. We often see these cracks in the corners of windows or beam pockets where the concrete has a higher chance of cracking. Diagonal cracks, especially with differential movement or found in corners are more concerning and could be an indication of foundation failure.
Most cracks can be repaired or addressed by a qualified contractor. When in doubt, get it checked out!