How to Identify 3 Types of Foundation Cracks

As a homeowner, you know that it’s your job to keep your home in good condition and take care of all necessary repairs. But very few homeowners get regular foundation inspections. It’s easy to think of the foundation as something solid that cannot change. However, this is only true when the ground under the foundation doesn’t change. If you are on expansive clay-rich soil or if your region is experiencing unusually dry or wet weather, your foundation may shift unexpectedly. It’s important for homeowners to be able to identify the early signs of a foundation problem, including foundation cracks, so that repairs can be effected before the foundation fracture becomes extensive or starts to damage the rest of the house.

How to Identify 3 Types of Foundation Cracks

Foundations Crack Before They Break

Before a foundation breaks completely, it starts to crack. If you catch it at the cracking phase, you can save your home with early preventative measures and repairs. The best way to do this is to watch for cracks that indicate foundation issues. For most homes, these can be spotted along the base of the house, usually behind low flower beds if the grass doesn’t go up to the edge of the house. For homes with basements, foundation issues are often spotted as cracks in the walls that can get quite large. Let’s take a look at the types of cracks to look out for both outside and in basements.

1) Vertical Foundation Cracks

Vertical cracks are the most common type of foundation crack and look exactly as you’d expect them to. This can be one slowly widening crack or a spider web of vertical fractures that are crumbling apart. The nature of the vertical crack depends on how the soil is shifting under your home and can be quite complex. However, vertical cracks are most likely when one section of the home is pushed up away from the rest or when one half horizontally away from the other creating a fissure. Diagonal cracks that are mostly vertical are considered vertical cracks.

2) Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Horizontal cracks are the result of a different kind of soil shifting. If your foundation is buried in several different layers of soil, one layer expanding or shifting more than the others can cause stress to hit or shear your foundation horizontally. Several horizontal cracks in a stack are indications of soil pushing in after expanding while a single crack is more likely to be shifting and shearing force pulling the lower part of your foundation away from the upper part. Horizontal cracks are sometimes hard to catch if you don’t have a basement and the crack is below your yard soil line.

3) Stair Foundation Horizontal Cracks

For home where the foundation is lined with bricks or a diagonal crack is at an even 45-degree angle, you may see a stair-step shaped crack in your wall or foundation. This is known a stair crack for obvious reasons and is what happens when brick is pulled apart by foundation problems. You may also see your brick facade up the side of your house crack as well because it is built onto your splitting foundation.

If you see any of these types of crack in your foundation or any any other signs that concern you, please call a foundation repair team right away. Foundation problems start small but can wreck entire houses if they go untreated. For more information about foundation repairs and trouble identification, contact us today.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

DFW Landlords: Shift Happens & Tenants Can Sue

Foundation Repair Notes For DFW Landlords

Shift Happens! Your home and rental properties are some of the biggest investments you’ll make in a lifetime. Shift happens when the ground beneath your home becomes unstable due to weather, earthquakes or earth movements, local extraction (mining), mudslides or even just years of weight bearing under your home.

DFW Landlords: Shift Happens & Tenants Can Sue

Landlords face an extra risk when severe foundation problems affect the living conditions of a rental property. Sloping floors, cracks and other symptoms of foundation shift make your rental worth less to renters, affecting your bottom line. Even scarier, tenants CAN sue you if they get injured by a sloped floor or other foundation issue.

Foundation Problems on The Rise

Pay close attention to your buildings foundations, even in new homes. According to The New York Times (NYT) shifting soil is a very real threat with increased numbers of homes being affected in recent years. “Extreme weather possibly linked to climate change, as well as construction on less stable ground, have provoked unprecedented foundation failures in houses nationwide”.

Homeowners are spending a billion more dollars per year on foundation fixes than they were 10 years ago, reports NYT. Though there has been a tremendous increase in housing development as well.

Symptoms of Foundation Problems:

  • Doors & windows are difficult to open/close
  • Cracks in ceilings/walls/chimneys
  • Strange creaking noises
  • Floor cracks
  • Gaps & spacing between floors and walls
  • Sloping floors

Is a Texas Landlord Obligated to Make Repairs?

It depends on the severity of the situation. Loud creaking noises and bathroom doors that don’t shut are not really a health issue. But if your tenant falls and breaks their neck due to a sloping floor, or if the home separates from the concrete porch and someone breaks their ankle, the short answer is yes, you will be held responsible. Learn more about Texas tenant rights here.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you suspect a foundation problem. Shift happens and it’s not a matter of if, but of when. Whether your unit is built on a pier and beam foundation, or a concrete slab foundation, Steady House Foundation Repair is the right company to handle your rental foundation problems.

Related Reading:

Is Landlord in Texas Obligated to Make Repairs?

Steady House Foundation Repair / Dallas Fort Worth

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog