My Home Inspector Blog: November 2011

Is Your Foundation Under A "Crack Attack"?- Encinitas Home Inspection

Is Your Foundation Under A "Crack Attack"?- Encinitas Home Inspection

foundation crack

One of the biggest concerns my clients have may be foundation cracks. If the foundation has problems, the entire structure may be adversely affected. But are all foundation cracks "deal breakers"? Not necessarily. Let's talk about some of these cracks and their potential cause:




cold joint

Horizontal cracks in a slab foundation



"Cold joints" (horizontal cracks) are often seen in the exterior of slab foundations of homes built from the 60's to the 80's that have a two-pour foundation. A cold joint occurs when fresh concrete is poured on cured or dry concrete. Depending on the width of the crack, it may or may not need repair. Proper drainage around the perimeter of a home becomes very important if a cold joint is present. There is the probability of water migration into the slab which may cause bigger problems.

foundation crack

Horizontal cracks in a raised foundation

Many times, a horizontal crack seen in a raised foundation wall is the result of corrosion of the reinforcing steel (re-bar) within the wall. Excessive moisture may be present or the steel may be located too close to the edge of the wall. This condition should be repaired as soon as possible, or further damage may foundation crackoccur. Many times what may appear as a thin crack at the exterior can be much worse when viewed from inside the crawlspace. Depending on the extent of the corroded steel, this condition may be rather costly to repair.



foundation crack

Vertical cracks in a slab foundation




Vertical cracking (shear cracks) seen in the perimeter of a slab foundation should always be further evaluated. Excessive moisture, soil movement, settlement, or structural issues may be the cause. To determine the extent of these cracks, the flooring must be foundation crackremoved/lifted (which is beyond the scope of a home inspection) or a manometer test (slab foundation cracklevelness test) may be done. Hairline cracks can be found in virtually every slab foundation out there- concrete shrinks and cracks when it dries. Also, a vertical crack is often seen where the garage slab meets the house slab. This is simply a cold joint between the two slabs which are typically poured at different times and should not be a big concern unless excessive width is present.

Vertical cracks in a raised foundation

I will beginfoundation crack here by saying that some thin vertical cracking can usually be found in all raised foundation stem-walls and are not normally a cause for alarm. If the cracks run diagonally, it may be a sign of more serious issues. Heavier cracks should be further evaluated to determine their cause and whether they will negatively affect the structure of the home. Excessive moisture, poor perimeter drainage, soil movement, or improper construction techniques or renovations may be the cause.

CREIA verify logoICC logoSteve Stenros- First Choice Inspections is a CREIA MCI and ICC-certified home inspector. He can be reached at 888-335-3040. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard home inspection.

Originally posted at First Choice Inspections.

Is Your Foundation Under A "Crack Attack"?- Encinitas Home Inspection



             Steve Stenros, MCI         Biz card photo

             Master CREIA Inspector #0115

             ICC Residential Combination Inspector #5251439

             Certified Infrared Thermographer #7791

                                       FHA/HUD Inspector- #V975

                                       203k Consultant #S0611



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Comment balloon 33 commentsSteve Stenros • November 14 2011 12:41AM
Is Your Foundation Under A "Crack Attack"? - Encinitas Home…
Is Your Foundation Under A "Crack Attack"? - Encinitas Home Inspection One of the biggest concerns my clients have may be foundation cracks. If the foundation has problems, the entire structure may be adversely affected… more