Non Typical Foundation Crack Assessment

Visible crack on outside parging: Parging is a thin layer of cement over the outside of the foundation wall, serving a mainly aesthetic function. As the concrete of the foundation wall itself will expand and contract with temperature fluctuation, and shift due to settling, this thin parge coat will crack and flake off over time. Therefore, parging cracks are not necessarily something to panic about. If the crack is consistently vertical, dig down a little bit and see if the crack continues below the parging.

Visible vertical crack in foundation wall: If a vertical crack is visible on the inside foundation (concrete) wall, or outside below the parging, it is still not yet time to panic, but take note. Vertical cracks are normal (one would be hard pressed to find a basement more than a year old without at least one or two), and if the grade and eavestroughing are correct and well maintained, may never leak. Look for drip stains, dirt on the wall, or a white fuzzy/chalky substance known as efflorescence. All of these are signs of water entry and repair is indicated. Please give our office a call and we will come out to do a free estimate.

Significant cracks visible outside where either the garage or steps meet the foundation of the house: These can sometimes look bad but do not usually represent cracks in the actual foundation. Garages and steps leading into one’s house are not usually sunk into the ground the way the basement is. For the sake of aesthetics, it is common practice to parge over so as to give the illusion that it is all one connected piece. Since they are in fact actually two separate pieces, they will settle differently, causing the parging to flake off, and making it look as though there is a crack when really there is not. No need to panic.

Horizontal crack visible on the inside wall: This is a very serious issue. A horizontal crack will typically run from one end of the wall to the other and is caused by lateral pressure being exerted against the wall, causing it to buckle along the crack. Reinforcement is required. Please contact our office for an appointment ASAP.

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