Your house is trying to tell you something. Do you know what your house is saying? The cracks are your clues! Discovering and identifying the different types of cracks in brick walls and around your home are the first steps to a more secure foundation.
Diagonal or Stairstep Cracks
The most common type of crack seen in brick homes is the diagonal or stairstep crack. You may see these types of cracks in a brick exterior, on a brick or block wall, and around the wall of your foundation. These cracks will also appear near windows, doors, and garage door lintels.
A stairstep crack will point you in the direction of settlement. This crack is usually wider at the top than it is at the bottom. The wider end of the stairstep crack will be on the same side that the foundation is settling. When this diagonal crack appears near windows and doors, you may see it enter at the top of the window and exit via the base of the window.
Like stairstep cracks, vertical cracks can also be a sign that your foundation is settling. A brick wall that has a vertical crack that is wider at the bottom than it is at the top indicates a possible sag in the foundation and may need attention. Foundation settlement cracks come in all sizes. But some types of cracks in brick walls that are small and vertical may have only appeared due to the concrete curing process.
If you have horizontal cracks in your brick, you will likely find the cracks around the corner of the house. These are the easiest cracks to identify. When one end of the crack is wider than the other this signifies a settling on the wider side. The origin of settlement begins at the wider side of a horizontal crack
At times, horizontal cracks do not mean your house is settling. Mortar will sometimes separate from an improper curing method. Other times, like in the case of a garage lintel, your house may have something else going on. When a garage lintel rusts, it expands causing a horizontal crack to appear between the bricks above the lintel. The expansion of the lintel is lifting the brick. This type of horizontal spacing is not caused by a foundation that is sinking. Therefore, treating this type of horizontal crack with piers, or underpinning, will only cause further damage to your house and once healthy foundation. Consider reaching out to a general contractor who can further diagnose the state of the lintel and replace it if necessary.
Horizontal cracks can be the effect of a significant problem needing foundation repair. If you locate a horizontal crack in the basement or other lower areas of the home, it is important to call a foundation repair professional in Nashville for a proper diagnosis and sound solution. Horizontal cracks in a basement wall and a bowing basement wall can be caused by exterior soil pressure and may need immediate attention.
Locating interior cracks in drywall or interior cracks around windows and doors, along with any exterior cracks, helps a professional confirm if there is settling near your foundation. Interior drywall cracks are usually diagonal but can be horizontal or vertical, too. There are also times when foundation settlement does not cause any drywall cracks.
What Your House is Telling You
If you notice any cracks at all, your house is telling you it needs your help. Measuring the width of a crack is the next step in monitoring foundation movement. Rapid changes in the size of a crack should prompt a phone call to your foundation repair contractor. Your house needs an inspection before damage ensues or increases. So, look for cracks in your brick, cracks on your foundation wall, interior drywall cracks, and cracks around windows and doors. Cracks are clues!
If you live in the Middle TN, Southern KY, or Northern AL areas, call the foundation repair team at USS in Nashville, not just to diagnose, but to provide solutions for any cracks we may find. We’re happy to help!