Foundation Wall Repair: When You Should Worry About Cracks


If you have noticed a crack in your home’s foundation wall, you’re likely asking yourself, “How concerned should I be and how serious is this problem?” While many homeowners are knowledgeable and like to perform some DIY repairs around their home, being able to judge the severity of foundation cracks and knowing what to do about them is typically not common homeowner knowledge. The good news is that not all cracks are cause for concern. But to be safe, it’s always good to know which cracks call for a foundation wall repair.

What Causes Foundation Damage?

There’s a lot that goes into building a home. While the construction of the home itself is important, the surrounding ground and climate should also be taken into consideration when first designing the building.

Frequent foundation causes can include:

  • Excessively wet or dry soil
  • Frequent changes in temperature
  • Poor construction
  • Loose soil
  • Earthquakes
  • Poor drainage

Cracks often occur when concrete cannot shrink evenly. Foundation cracks can usually be separated into three categories:

  • Cosmetic – No further repairs needed
  • Monitoring Needed – Watch for changes or worsening of conditions
  • Significant – Requiring immediate repairs

Cracks in your home’s foundation are certainly unattractive and aren’t usually easy to fix. In addition to causing structural damage, foundation cracks can allow termites to enter your home, as these nefarious little creatures can fit through a crack as narrow as 1/64th of an inch. After you have contacted a foundation repair specialist, be sure to contact a licensed termite control contractor as well.

Foundation cracks can be considered serious when one of the following occurs:

  • Cracks wrap around a corner
  • Cracks reach from the basement floor to the top of the foundation wall
  • Cracks run horizontally with the wall below it, leading into the basement

If these cracks appear in your house, it’s important to contact a foundation wall repair specialist right away.

Common Types of Foundation Cracks

  • Hairline Cracks in Mortar – Rarely worth worrying about
  • Angular Cracks – These occur in the top 12 to 16 inches of a brick wall and are caused by brick expansion during summer months and do not need to be repaired
  • Cracks at an L-Shaped Section – Not typically a structural issue but may need to be plugged to keep crawl space or basement dry
  • Stair-Step Cracks in Masonry Joints – A larger concern especially if the crack is wider than ¼ inch or the wall is bulging
  • Horizontal cracks – the most serious, often requiring a whole new foundation

Foundation Wall Repair: What to Do About Foundation Cracks

Repairing cracks in your foundation is not something you should attempt to do by yourself. If you suspect a crack in your foundation requires repair, don’t panic, get a professional opinion by contacting the licensed specialists at Atlas Piers of Atlanta.

Catching these types of problems early and taking a proactive approach to maintenance can potentially save you thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs down the road.

Contact Atlas Piers of Atlanta today to schedule an appointment.