My Home Inspector Blog: Is Your Foundation Under A "Crack Attack"?- Encinitas Home Inspection

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

 

 


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Comment balloon 33 commentsSteve Stenros • November 14 2011 12:41AM

Comments

Steve, you have written a clear and definitive explanation of Foundation Cracks, with great photos.  

   Bookmarked!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Steve, thank you for this informative post on foundation cracks. That's an area I would not have a clue, good or bad. It's good to be aware and note that further inspection would be needed.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 6 years ago

Thanks for some useful information, Steve. It is not uncommon to see cracks in foundations but it seems some may not be a big problem. On the other hand there can be some real serious problems. I've seen some cracks in founations (after the carpet was removed) that were pretty scary. I always recommend a structural engineer to further investigate.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 6 years ago

Good Morning Steve, an excellent post to refer to in the future.  Important information on the cause and effect of foundation cracks!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 6 years ago

Good info Steve. Doesn't the earth move out there too, that has to have an effect on all foundations. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks Fred. I'm glad you found it worthy of a bookmark!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Hi Pamela. Many of these flipped homes have new flooring installed. It's amazing what some sellers will go through to hide slab cracks!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Hi Jeff! Thanks for your comment. The expansive clay soils here in California can definitely cause some problems!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Good morning Dan! I know you see plenty of foundation cracks in northern CA!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Hi James. It certainly does! Quakes have caused cracks of varying degrees in many foundations. Also, masonry chimneys do not fare well!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Steve:

Love the details, on what to be on the watch for, I worked with Centex Homes, and they installed re-bar in there slabs when they build a new home in this area and many times there were still stress cracks, and the example with the pen, is cause for concern.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 6 years ago

L&L: Agreed. The example with the pen is a serious crack, very wide and running from one side of the slab to the other.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Who would you best recomend for a slab crack? Structural Enginere? Contractor?

Soil guy?? Easter bunny? The crack we are dealing with runs from the front to the back of the house, larger in the middle than at the ends. I would think its a shrinkage crack, but its long, does not spider...there are no cracks in the drywall or ceiling. or on the exterior of the home... it looks like the pen crack at the largest, then taper down to a hairline at the ends. But does continue from footing to footing....

Posted by Wes Hankins over 6 years ago

Hi Wes: For a crack like the one you describe, you will want to have a civil or geotechnical engineer come and take a look at it. They will probably want to do a manometer test to check for slab levelness. Are all the doors square in their frame? Where are you located? If you're in the San Diego area, I have a referral for you.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Not only do you right the best home inspection posts Steve, your illustrations of the problems are awesome.

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

Thanks for the kind words, Steve! I need to get back on my blogging horse!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Steve, I just stopped by to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) over 6 years ago

Thanks so much, Connie! Merry Christmas to you!

 

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Good Morning Steve, Best Wishes for an absolutely wonderful Christmas Eve!

Make sure you enjoy it!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 6 years ago

Hi Steve:  Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!  

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) over 6 years ago

Merry Christmas Steve and thanks for being the most forward thinking, video embracing, clear presenter on AR young man.penny lane bachman

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 6 years ago

Good Morning Steve, my best wishes for an excellent 2012 and a wonderful New Years Eve!  Enjoy!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 6 years ago

Thanks for all the Christmas and New Year greetings! I hope the year 2012 outstrips them all for you!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 6 years ago

Popped over to say Happy New Year Steve. I look forward to our continued friendship in the Rain.  I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a good year for all of us.  D

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 6 years ago

Hi Steve, just stopped in to wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2012.

Posted by Toni Weidman, 26 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL (Sailwinds Realty) over 6 years ago

Excellent post! I just stumbled upon your blog page and gathered some good ideas for what I am working on. Cheers!

<a href="http://www.adkpp.com/">Adirondack real estate</a>

Posted by Adirondack real estate over 6 years ago

This is a definite keeper post. So many clients freak over cracks that are just NORMAL. Good one Steve as usual.

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) about 6 years ago

Steve...suggested! This is such an excellent post! The educational lessons here are of true value to me and homeowners alike!!!

What do you say when there's a crack like this running from the top to the bottom of the slab?

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 6 years ago

Thanks Patricia. Your photo shows a crack in the corner of a brick wall, not a slab foundation. Two different animals. The crack in your photo should have further investigation and repairs to keep water out at the very least. Was there cracking at the interior of this corner? Was there any water staining at the interior? Did you notice any other cracks in the brick siding?

If you saw a crack running from top to bottom at the perimeter of a concrete slab foundation, you should definitely be concerned unless it is at the cold joint where the garage slab meets the house slab- this is quite common.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 6 years ago

Thanks for the information you posted. Please, join our group on LinkedIn, ‘REO Institute’. We share real estate information regarding market trends, Short Sales, BPOs, REOs, ideas, education/training, and Commercial education. We value you your comments, opinions about the real estate industry.

Thanks

James A. Browning MRE, CEO & Founder, REO Institute

Posted by James A. Browning, MRE REOCertified(R) SSCertified (Browning Real Estate School/REO Institute) almost 6 years ago

you have been spammed, you can delete them and report them to activerain. I like your post, very informative. I see cracked foundations all day as well.

Posted by Mike Young, FHA 203k Consultant 916-758-1809 (203kOnLine.com, covering the USA) almost 6 years ago

I'm sure that stuff gives you a heart attack when you see it. I would probably not even notice. That's why I'm not an inspector, I guess!

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 5 years ago

Hey Steve:

 

Have you seen a lot of homes with cracking issues that are near the Friars Formation? I'm looking at a home in Santee that has some hairline vertical cracks in the pool, any suggestions?

Posted by Gregg about 5 years ago

Participate