Causes of Foundation Cracks

1. From a corner to a nearby opening, where it is wider at top than it is at the bottom

These cracks are caused by settling foundation, clay soil that collects a fair amount of moisture, or damage from frost, which is an issue for homeowners in Colorado. This can also be due to a tree that is close to the foundation wall of your home or commercial build, with roots disrupting the soil.

2. Under a ground floor window, from sill to ground, with the sill bowed up

These occur due to foundation heave, expansive clay soil, frost, shallow or absent footing.

3. In the foundation wall where there is a crack that is wider at bottom than it is at the top

These are due to foundation settlement underneath the building.

4. In the corners of buildings in colder climates like Colorado

These are from frost heave, frost lensing, shallow footings, issues with water drainage, moisture, or insufficient backfill.

5. Step cracks in the front and rear foundation wall of a raised ranch with a garage located in part of the basement(the garage entrance is at one end of the home). These cracks may also only appear on the garage end.

If the garage entry is located between the front and rear foundation walls, there may be less backfill against them.

A reduction in backfill and an un-heated garage can expose corners of your building to more frost damage.

If roof drainage is spilled against the building wall due to defects, more severe frost cracks can develop on the garage entry end of your home

6. Vertical or diagonal foundation cracks which develop very quickly

These are due to settlement over sinkholes and can be very serious. They sink holes can get filled with soil and other organic debris but can open suddenly after rain or when the debris rots and settles.

7. A crack that appears over a window or door, is straight or diagonal (loading/header defect) may appear as horizontal along top or bottom of a header, and vertical at the ends of a header

This is possibly due to differences in thermal expansion of different materials of header vs. wall) or vertical/diagonal at center of header (loading failure) or at corners (possible point-load failure)

8. Vertical or diagonal cracks in a poured concrete foundation that are uniform in width, or they taper to an abnormally thin, almost hairline form

These are usually shrinkage cracks and do not pose a major threat to your property, although they may allow water to seep in.

Note that often these foundation failures cracks are visible both outside and inside, but outside they may be covered by backfill. These types of cracks are typical in Front Range cities like Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Boulder and Fort Collins.

If you’ve discovered cracks in the foundation of your home or commercial building and want to discuss your options for mitigating the issue, call us at (720) 202-7015 (Denver) or (719) 650-9573 (Southern Colorado).

We offer a free, no-obligation inspection, which includes a detailed report from one of our inspectors, as well as solutions for fixing the problem.

Perhaps it’s an issue that doesn’t need to be addressed right away. Other times we’ll discover an even bigger problem that cannot wait. Either way, our thorough analysis will give you the confidence of knowing that your most valuable asset is always protected.

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