Often, foundation cracks are ignored by homeowners since its effects are not as noticeable as leaks. The issue is that some foundation cracks are serious and some are not. This guide to foundation cracks will help homeowners know which types require immediate professional repair.
Types of Foundation Cracks
This type of crack often manifests in walls and is usually caused by the settling of the home. They appear as straight lines, but they can also be diagonal with a 30-degree vertical orientation. If you notice a vertical crack, check where its apex is. If it is close to where the ceiling and walls meet, the crack is due to settling. These cracks are most noticeable in newly constructed homes. It can be because the construction crew used new lumber that had moisture in it; the wood can shift as it becomes dry. If this is the cause, it is best to wait about a year before repairing it with a simple epoxy injection. This waiting time allows the lumber to dry out thoroughly.
Other common foundation cracks secondary to house settling are those that appear in the weakest areas, such as where vertical wood studs were cut. Installation of TV mounts onto the wall can also cause non-serious cracks.
However, if you see a vertical crack that spans from the floor to the ceiling on two neighboring walls, it is a warning sign that your wall footing has failed.
Diagonal cracks can be caused by a foundation’s differential settling or when one side of the home settles much lower than the other foundations. This can occur when the house is built on a sloping hill or on soil that has caused the foundation to shift. Cracks like this are often problematic because they take longer to repair and are far more expensive than vertical foundation cracks. These types of cracks are better assessed by a licensed structural engineer. They can check if the issue can be resolved by reinstalling gutters on your roofing that will allow rainwater to move away from the shifting foundation.
This type of crack runs side to side, and they are often the most serious of them all. They are commonly seen in homes built with brick or concrete block foundations. When you see horizontal cracks, it could mean that a significant part of your foundation is shifting. Horizontal cracks should be immediately repaired to ensure the structural integrity of your house remains solid. Often, engineers will require homeowners to reinforce the foundation.
Insurance Coverage of Foundation Cracks
Most homeowners, when faced with severe foundation cracks, worry about insurance coverage. Does your home insurance cover a foundation crack? It depends. Often, the cause of the damage determines whether the insurance will shoulder the expenses for the repair. For instance, if the foundation damage is caused by a hailstorm, your home insurance by Allstate or whichever insurance you have, will cover the cost of repairs. The same thing is true if the foundation issue resulted from an event covered by your insurance, such as a plumbing backup. In these instances, your insurance will possibly reimburse you for the repairs.
However, foundation cracks that occurred as a result of earthquakes will not be covered unless you had added on earthquake protection to your plan.
If the weakened integrity of the foundation is secondary to the age of the home, temperature changes, and normal wear and tear, insurance companies are unlikely to cover them.
Final Advice for Foundation Cracks
If you see a crack that you believe is a cause for concern, ask a licensed and capable engineer to make the necessary inspection. They can better assess the cause of the foundation cracks and are the best people to provide a solution for your foundation issues.