Basement Foundation Cracks Located During Home Inspections in Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Basement Foundation Cracks Located During Home Inspections In Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
As a home inspector one of the biggest issues I see that worries potential buyers the most is foundation problems. This is with good reason as foundation problems can be expensive to repair. Basement foundation cracks are commonly found during a home inspection. Basement foundation cracks are not always a significant problem and are often the result of many possible conditions.
Basement foundation walls are made up of many different materials such as stone, brick, masonry blocks, and poured concrete. This post focused on cracks in masonry block and poured concrete foundations. Vertical cracks, diagonal cracks, horizontal cracks, and stair step cracks are often seen during a home inspection and each has a different cause and effect.
Vertical cracks that go straight up and down or within 30 degrees of vertical are very common. They are the least severe, which are often caused by a home or building settling. It is common for even new houses to have some vertical cracks. Settling is common in homes and is usually not a problem if the settling is minor and does not cause any displacement of the foundation. Settling often occurs in the few first years after a home is built. Hairline cracks are not considered a problem. The cracks can be sealed using proper materials to prevent moisture intrusion. Vertical cracks that are wide or have displacement are considered more severe and may need further evaluation.
Diagonal cracks run at a 30-70 degree angle that will usually be wider at one end then the other and are often hairline sized. They are often caused by differential settling due to expansion and/or contraction of the soil. This type of issue can often be caused by too much water being deposited near the home and a lack of proper gutters and downspouts to move water away from the home. Water can cause soil at the foundation to shift resulting in the foundation cracking.
Horizontal cracks run sideways and are the most serious cracks in a foundation and can signal serious problems to a homes structural integrity. They are most common in homes with masonry block foundation. Horizontal cracks are the result of soil pressure outside your foundation, and hydrostatic pressure that can cause basement foundation walls to bow. These types of cracks and foundation problems should be repaired or evaluated by a foundation contractor.
Foundation problems are often the result of poor water management at the exterior of the home. Keeping water away from the homes foundation is critical to preventing foundation problems. Often solving these problems can have a positive effect on foundation problems by preventing further damage or problems.
Dairyland Home Inspection inspects Racine, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Waukesha, Walworth, and Ozaukee Counties. We provide free radon testing on every home inspection.
Bob Carter is a home inspector in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. He is the owner of Dairyland Home Inspection.