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Foundation Crack Repair: Costs & Repair Options (+Infographic)

Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant

Picture of a cracked foundation

If you’re in search of accurate foundation crack repair costs, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s what you’ll learn by the end of this article:

  • How to tell if a foundation crack is dangerous
  • How to identify types of foundation cracks
  • How to tell if your home has suffered irreparable structural damage
  • If your homeowners’ insurance covers your foundation repair
  • How to save money when repairing foundation cracks

Your home’s foundation has a series of big jobs to do: it holds up your house, it offers structural integrity to the walls and floors above it, and it keeps water out of your basement or crawlspace.

Your concrete walls and slab can easily get damaged with all of that pressure to perform. When it does, it commonly shows in the form of cracks in the concrete. Foundation cracks form at different angles and in different places. Each type of crack signifies its own core issue.

Below, we’ll go over some warning signs of foundation problems, the different types of cracks you might see, and how to repair each kind while saving money on the process.

When Are Foundation Cracks Serious?

The level of concern you should have about cracks in your concrete foundation depends on the crack itself.

Some gaps indicate typical settling of concrete due to shrinkage and aren’t dangerous. Others are usually sure signs of structural damage and need to be fixed right away.

The best way we’ve found to get some peace of mind is to check your concrete block foundation for cracking regularly.

You can head to your basement or crawlspace once or twice a year and mark any cracks with a pencil. Take note of the length, width, and direction of any damage.

Look at each marking again during your next foundation inspection. Check for cracks that grew in length or width since you last marked them.

Any gaps that continue to grow or change a few years after your poured concrete has cured could be an issue. Any cracks that grow to ⅛” wide are a problem and should be repaired.

Cracks that run horizontally are almost always dangerous, even if they aren’t ⅛” wide.

These cracks form due to hydrostatic pressure in your soil. They’re usually a sign that something could be structurally wrong with your foundation.

Diagram of foundation cracks at various sizes

What Are The Different Types Of Foundation Cracks?

There are several different kinds of cracks that can form in your concrete. They’re easily identified by the direction they run or the placement on your basement wall or floor. Below are the different types you might see and what they represent.

Vertical Foundation Cracks

Vertical foundation cracks run in a direction from your concrete slab to the top of your concrete block wall. They may be angled a little but usually less than 30 degrees. These cracks can be found on any portion of your foundation wall.

Any vertical foundation cracks that form in the first few years after your concrete is poured are normally from settling. Even older foundations can settle a bit, so your vertical crack probably isn’t a big problem as long as it doesn’t grow to ⅛” wide.

The biggest issue that larger vertical cracks present is leaking. The bigger a crack is, the more likely it is to let water into your basement or crawlspace.

Hairline cracks that run vertically can usually be left alone, but wider gaps should be sealed to prevent water intrusion.

Diagonal Foundation Cracks

Diagonal cracks in your foundation can be mistaken for vertical cracks. They run diagonally at an angle between 30 and 60 degrees.

These are caused most often by differential movement in your concrete or the dirt around your foundation, which means they could present a structural problem. They can also result from normal concrete settling, so they can be harmless too.

Diagonal cracks near the corners of your foundation are a particular cause for concern and could mean you have drainage issues or a dangerous amount of settling.

Cracks that run up to or through corners need to be inspected by a structural engineer as soon as possible.

Horizontal Foundation Cracks

On the other hand, cracks that run horizontally along your wall are almost always a cause for concern. They span portions of your basement or crawlspace wall parallel to your floor and ceiling. They are indicative of structural issues, no matter their placement.

Hydrostatic pressure is the most common cause of horizontal foundation cracks, and the core issue is often improper drainage in your yard or expansive soil.

Runoff water after heavy rain or groundwater can soak into your ground and create a heavy mixture that adds pressure to the outside of your concrete walls. Your concrete cracks can get pushed inward if the pressure builds too much.

Horizontal cracking is a clear sign that your structure has been compromised and needs to be looked at by a concrete repair specialist immediately.

How Do You Repair Vertical or Diagonal Foundation Cracks?

Foundation cracks that run between 90 degrees perpendicular to the floor up to an angle of 60 degrees to the floor usually are only a problem because they can leak. Hairline cracks and larger gaps should be sealed with a waterproofing application to prevent water from entering your basement.

Your first step to repairing these types of foundation cracks is to limit how much water comes in contact with your concrete walls. Grading the soil around your home away from your foundation and installing gutters and downspouts will help accomplish this.

You may also want to consider a French drain or similar drainage system to route water away from your foundation.

You can move on to seal the cracks once you have implemented proper drainage solutions. There are many waterproofing and sealing products available, including waterproof paint, epoxy caulk, fast-curing hydraulic cement, and polyurethane foam.

Can Crack Injections Be Used to Fix Vertical Cracks?

Many solutions for basement leaking are temporary and will need to be reapplied regularly to prevent the leak from recurring.

We often suggest permanent solutions to homeowners because they last longer and are cheaper in the long run. Epoxy injections can permanently seal vertical and diagonal cracks in your concrete.

How Do You Repair Horizontal Foundation Cracks?

Horizontal cracks cannot be repaired with a crack filler or waterproof paint because they indicate structural damage and not just leaking potential. A structural engineer needs to be consulted before any remedy is implemented.

These professionals often recommend fixing the underlying problem first and then moving on to a solution for restoring structural integrity to your home.

Can Crack Injections Be Used to Fix Horizontal Cracks?

Some crack injections can be used to correct minor horizontal cracking if an engineer has determined that there is no structural damage. A concrete welding solution can seal the crack and repair the foundation issue if applied by a professional.

Structural bracing or reinforcement will be needed if more severe damage is discovered. Underpinning is a popular and often permanent fix for horizontal cracks. It’s important to note that an inexperienced homeowner should never attempt to diagnose or fix the structural damage caused by a horizontal crack.

Infographic detailing the steps to fixing foundation cracks

Can a Cracked Foundation Always Be Repaired?

Most foundation cracks can be repaired if they’re treated quickly and with an adequate solution. Vertical and diagonal cracks are usually never indicative of structural damage and can always be remedied.

Horizontal cracks can often be fixed if the damage doesn’t get too severe. Permanent solutions are usually possible and can be implemented by a professional to prevent future damage.

The weight that is supported by your foundation could become too much of a problem if it loses much of its structural integrity. Although uncommon, an engineer may decide that the damage is too extensive to carry out a proper repair and restore integrity to your foundation.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover the Cost of Fixing Foundation Cracks?

Most homeowners turn to their homeowners insurance carrier when foundation damage occurs, given the cost of repairing it. Your insurance policy rarely covers solutions for vertical and diagonal cracks because they’re seen as ongoing maintenance. These types of minor repairs are considered your responsibility as the homeowner.

Even horizontal crack repairs and restoring structural integrity are usually not covered by homeowners insurance. These, too, are often considered regular, ongoing maintenance that falls under the homeowner’s responsibility.

You should check your policy or ask your insurance carrier because every policy is different. You may find that some repairs are covered.

Any damage caused by unavoidable catastrophes like vandalism, floods, or earthquakes is typically covered by your homeowner’s policy. You should always contact your provider if you’re unsure if foundation damage repair is covered.

How To Save Money When Repairing Foundation Cracks?

Many homeowners seek ways to save when it comes to foundation repair because of how expensive the process can be.

The best way to save money when repairing foundation cracks is to get the job done correctly and by one of our professionals the first time around.

Waiting to carry out a repair or trying a temporary DIY solution first is usually more costly because foundation damage often worsens over time. Getting a permanent solution costs more upfront but is significantly cheaper in the long run.

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Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant
SHORT BIO: Hey, I'm Sam Smith. I'm one of our service techs here at Regional Foundation Repair. I'm here to help you learn more about your home's foundation. I've been doing this for a while, so I have a few insider tips and tricks to share!

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