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How Can You Tell If A Crack Is Structural?

Your Guide To Addressing Exterior Cracks: How To Know If You Have Foundation Issues

Cracks in your home’s exterior can be unsettling, especially when you’re unsure whether they indicate a serious problem. Understanding what causes these breaks is crucial for maintaining your home’s structural integrity.

In this blog, our team at The Crack Guys will help you explore different types of exterior home cracks, how to identify structural issues and when to seek professional help.

Understanding Exterior Home Cracks: Common Types And Their Meanings

Exterior cracks can be categorized as either cosmetic or structural concerns. Cosmetic cracks are usually superficial and don’t affect the integrity of your home, while structural fractures can indicate serious underlying issues.

Identifying structural cracks early can save you from extensive and costly repairs down the line. Below are examples of the types of breaks you may find in your home.

Vertical Cracks

Vertical cracks run up and down your walls and are often caused by the natural settling of your home. While they can be alarming, they’re usually cosmetic if they are thin and uniform in width. However, if they are wide or appear suddenly, they might be a sign of foundation issues.

Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal fissures are more concerning and can indicate serious foundation problems. These fractures can be caused by soil pressure against your foundation walls, often due to moisture accumulation. If you notice horizontal breaks, it’s crucial to have them inspected by a professional.

Stair-Step Cracks

Stair-step cracks are commonly found in brick or masonry walls and follow the mortar lines, creating a step-like pattern. These often indicate differential settlement, where different parts of your foundation settle at different rates, leading to structural instability.

How To Know If You Have Foundation Issues: Indicators of Structural Cracks

Foundation problems can lead to hairline gaps on your home’s exterior, signaling structural issues that need to be addressed. Understanding whether or not it is a sign of structural damage is important for protecting the integrity of your home.

If you notice any of the following signs, there are likely structural concerns that need to be addressed:

  • Cracks that appear suddenly or grow over time
  • Gaps wider than 1/4 inch
  • Horizontal or stair-step breakage
  • Doors and windows that stick or don’t close properly

You may also find that the fractures you see aren’t just on the exterior of your home. If you catch yourself wondering “What do the cracks in my ceiling mean?” or “Why are there cracks in my walls?” foundation troubles are a likely suspect.

In this case, the best way to solve your problem is to reach out to a professional for help.

Causes Of Structural Cracks

As the foundation of your home shifts, your home sitting on top of it is at risk of developing severe damage. But what exactly causes a foundation to shift anyway? The truth is that several different factors can impact your home and its foundation.

Soil Movement And Settlement

Soil movement and settlement are the primary causes of structural cracks. Your foundation’s stability depends on the condition of the soil beneath it. Factors such as moisture content, soil type and external pressures can lead to soil movement, causing your foundation to shift and crack.

Clay soils are especially prone to expansion and contraction with moisture changes, leading to foundation instability.

Poor Construction Practices

Poor construction practices during the initial building phase can contribute to structural damage. Inadequate site preparation, insufficient reinforcement and the use of substandard materials can result in a weak foundation.

If concrete is not mixed and poured correctly, it may develop weak spots that are prone to cracking. Additionally, poor drainage systems can lead to water accumulation around your foundation, causing erosion and structural damage.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors like freeze-thaw cycles can significantly impact your foundation’s stability. In areas with extreme temperature fluctuations, the expansion and contraction of materials can cause cracks over time. Ensuring high-quality building materials and proper construction techniques can mitigate these risks.

Know When To Call A Professional

If you notice any signs of structural cracks, it’s essential to call a professional for an assessment. Early intervention can prevent further damage and ensure your home’s stability. An expert from our foundation repair team can evaluate the extent of the damage and recommend appropriate solutions.

Protect Your Foundation With Professional Care

By recognizing the signs of structural issues and taking timely action, you can protect your investment and ensure your home’s longevity. If you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate to contact The Crack Guys to schedule an inspection and repair.

We’re here to restore your home’s stability and give you peace of mind!