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How Can I Tell if a Foundation Crack is Serious?

The last thing any homeowner wants to see is a crack running along their foundation, but, before you stress, read through this blog to learn how to tell if the small crack you discovered signifies a much larger problem.

Toronto’s harsh winters and rainy springs can cause havoc on our home’s foundation so, finding a crack in your concrete can certainly be a cause for concern. Many of us have heard horror stories of water damage and shifting foundations, and many of those stories end up costing a pretty penny to repair. To avoid that stress, a homeowner should learn the signs caused by a damaged foundation and fix small issues as soon as they arise.

What does a foundation wall crack Signify?

There are several different types of basement cracks that commonly occur within the foundation of a home, each of which may signify a different issue:

Horizontal Cracks


  • Horizontal (left to right)

May look like a staircase

A horizontal crack is one that extends left to right and/or looks like a staircase. Horizontal Cracks usually signify a more serious problem for homeowners because they leave your foundation susceptible to lateral pressure.

A combination of moisture and natural ground expansion may cause your wall to bow around the crack, which, can eventually lead to the failure and/or snapping of your foundation walls.

A horizontal crack cannot be fixed by filling/sealing. A proper repair will require professional attention. If you find a horizontal crack, call a Foundation Repair Specialist as soon as you can, and remember, the faster you repair it the less you will spend.

Vertical Cracks


  • Vertical (up to down)

As the concrete foundation of your home settles, vertical cracks may appear. These cracks are quite common and can be easily repaired with filler materials. If filled correctly you will prevent further spreading.

Vertical cracks may be a sign of something serious, however, they are usually caused by the natural settling of your home’s foundation. If you see vertical cracks appearing in your foundation, it is best to contact a foundation repair Specialist to determine its severity.

Diagonal Cracks


  • Diagonal

A diagonal crack is usually an indication of a fracture that has spread over time, so a simple filling might not be a permanent fix. It is recommended to get diagonal cracks stabilized and reinforced so that further spreading does not occur.

Do Minor Cracks Need to Be Monitored?

The simple answer is yes. Even if you have a small vertical crack, you have to monitor it regularly. If the crack expands, your walls bow, or a leak is created it will cost you lots of money, so be proactive and constantly check for changes.

If water is leaking from a foundation crack it is very important to get it fixed. Water will erode the foundation over time and can turn a minor repair into a major one. A great way to monitor cracks is by using a pencil to mark the ends, while taking note of the date. After a month or two you should return to the crack and see if it has changed or expanded. If you notice an expansion, you should seek professional assistance to ensure that safety of your home.

How do I know if I need a Foundation/ Concrete Specialist?

If you see a crack developing in your foundation, or you have a horizontal or diagonal crack, then you are going to want to consider bringing in a professional. A contracting company that specializes in foundation repairs can provide a quick assessment, determining the severity of the crack. If it’s a serious problem, a structural engineer will likely be recommended to assess the foundation.

Remember: Your home is an investment that should be protected, don’t let a little foundation crack threaten that.

About Nusite

Nusite Contractors Ltd. has been proudly serving GTA homeowners for over 30 years! We are a family business and take pride in customer service and professional work. You can contact us here to schedule a free consultation and written estimate! We would be happy to help!

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