The one thing home buyers don’t want to find when viewing their next potential home purchase are cracks in the basement or foundation. During our home inspections, this is always a common question that both home buyers and their realtors look to us for answers. Let us start out by saying that not all cracks are a reason for serious concern. Yes, cracks can be a sign of foundation movement, but also could just be from the way the concrete cured while it was poured. Today we are going to alleviate your fears about foundation cracks as we dive into the different types of foundation cracks found in Kansas City homes, and what they mean.
The first thing homeowners and homebuyers need to understand is that movement is normal. 60% of homes in the US are built on clay soils, which move over time, resulting in up to 2-3 inches of season movement. This can lead to cracks in your foundation, both serious and not. There are several different types of damages your foundation can suffer from, and it’s important to understand the difference between different cracks to better understand how to repair them.
Common Causes Of Foundation Cracks
As frightening as a crack in your foundation can be, it is a common issue. Understanding what causes foundation cracking is the first step in understanding how to repair them and ensure your foundation is secure. The common causes of foundation cracking are:
- Poor Drainage
- Improper Placement
- Inadequate Curing
- Antiquated Materials
- Shifting Soil
Types Of Foundation Cracks
Now that we know what the common causes are, let’s dive into the types of cracks they leave behind. These cracks can come in many different forms, with some being more severe and dangerous than others.
These are the cracks that run in an up-down direction on your basement walls or foundation. These are generally caused by your foundation naturally settling over time. Vertical cracks are not a huge cause for concern, and are often present in many foundations. Be mindful though, they can still allow both bugs and moisture into your home, which can lead to larger issues. We encourage homeowners to have vertical cracks repaired.
These are the type of cracks that run in a left-right direction on your walls and foundation. Horizontal cracks are always a cause for concern, regardless of their size. They are one of the more serious types of foundation cracks found in Kansas City homes. The bigger they are the more severe they are, but even smaller horizontal cracks should be repaired.
Horizontal cracks are caused by external pressure, which can be from an improperly laid foundation, poor drainage around your home, or even shifting soil. The longer you wait to have horizontal cracks fixed, the bigger and more severe they will become. Walls with vertical cracks can still support the vertical weight of the house, but horizontal cracks cannot.
Traveling in a tilted position left to right and up and down, diagonal cracks are somewhere in-between horizontal and vertical. They are not as severe of a concern as horizontal cracks, but are more so than vertical cracks. They are caused by either improper foundation placement or from the soil shifting around the home. Over time, they do tend to grow and get more severe.
Spalling cracks are found on the surface of a foundation, and have a chipped and flaking aesthetic. Most of the time, spalling racks are the result of water damage. They are not as common as they were in years past, and that is because they are most common in antiquated materials that are no longer used as frequently.
Map cracks, often considered to appear like spider web cracks, take the appearance of a world map, with cracks positioned close together and often connecting in clusters. Most of the time, map cracks are a not a cause for concern, and most likely merely cosmetic. That being said, if they continue to grow, we encourage you to have them inspected.
How To Schedule A Home Inspection?
When scheduling a home inspection with Metro Property Inspection, you have two options; you can call or text us at 913-390-9001, or schedule your home inspection with our online scheduler.
From our entire team of certified home inspectors here at Metro Property Inspection, we are excited and honored to serve you and the rest of Kansas City’s real estate industry.
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