Cracks in Your Basement Walls: When is it a Serious Problem?

Recently I found cracks in my stone floors as well as cracks on my walls.  These were large 12 inch plus cracks.  The questions arose, “Should I call a foundation repair company to check it out?  Do I have an issue with my foundation?”.  Initially, the 1st crack appeared in a stone tile near the base of my staircase.  I had a home contractor fix that by simply replacing the tile.  Then a few months later, I saw a hairline 20 inch crack on one of my side walls.  What to do?  According to Lansing State Journal, the answer is simple:

Foundation problems are probably the biggest structural concern for any homeowner or potential buyer, so it’s no surprise that we tend to get a little panicky about seeing cracks in basement walls.

But cracks can happen for many reasons, and the solutions run the gamut from major reconstruction to simple DIY fixes. The question is, which cracks are worth worrying about?

Are there different types of cracks?

Jim Haeck, owner of Capital Area Home Inspections, classifies cracks into three categories: minor, moderate, and major.

“A minor crack is an ⅛ inch or less,” he said. “This usually doesn’t signal a big structural concern, but I would get it sealed up right away to prevent water infiltration and definitely keep an eye on it.”

These minor cracks can be the result of normal settling or possibly differential movement. Differential movement is typically caused by varying moisture levels around or underneath your foundation, and the common reason for that moisture is improper drainage around the home.

“Double check that your gutters are free of debris, and that your downspouts are connected properly and run at least 6 feet away from your home,” said Haeck. “If everything looks good, check your grading, or the slope of your yard, to make sure water runs away from the foundation.”

A “moderate” crack is anything ⅛ to ¾ inch with maybe some leaning in the foundation. Cracks that fall into this classification can possibly be more of a structural concern.

“When I find moderate-sized cracks in a home, I…. Keep Reading