Cracks in the foundation are common in most buildings but they can be a sign of problems yet to come. This article will explain how to tell if a foundation crack needs repair, or if it is nothing to worry over.
The foundation is the most important part of any building and cracks are a sure sign of trouble. If the crack is allowed to go unattended, it can expand and eventually cause the building to collapse. Fixing it before it becomes a reals problem is the goal.
Search for any signs of water leaking either from the crack to the inside walls, or from the ceiling to the upper walls, which would indicate a structural problem is already starting. If the foundation shifts, beams and walls will no longer line up straight, resulting in leaks and water spots. Look for different color paint, even if it is dry, and also loose or crumbling plaster.
The floor slants or gives
Does the floor near the crack slant or give when you step on it? Does it creak more or stick up? As the crack expands, the bits of crumbling foundation cause the building to shifts ever so slightly but it only takes two inches to cause a building to be off its frame enough to be in danger of collapsing or caving in. Measure the areas around the crack, such as that side of the building, from top to bottom. Is it still even?
Tip: It’s usually best to have this surveyed by a professional if you suspect there has been a shift.
Cracks on the inside
Cracks on the inside of the building are a serious sign of trouble and should be immediately evacuated and repaired. Inside cracks imply that the building has shifted enough to cause structural damage and is likely not safe to be inside. Check for more cracks above the foundation crack you first noticed, as well as directly behind it. Look for those telltale signs of falling paint and plaster and listen. Cracks on the inside do not just show up. You can actually hear the building foundation cracking. Some people call this settling and a small amount of it is normal as the ground around the building shifts but normal does not mean safe. Every crack can be a disaster waiting happen if not taken care of.
If you see none of these other signs, then the crack you have noticed probably does not need to be repaired but is always better to be safe than sorry. In this case, judge it by size. If the crack is less than one foot and has none of the above signs, just keep an eye on it. If it is any larger or grows in size, have it evaluated and repaired.