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When To Worry About Foundation Cracks

Any person who values their home will naturally be alarmed to see cracks in their foundation walls.

When it comes to the structural integrity of your home, understanding foundation cracks is crucial. These fissures can be indicators of underlying issues that may require professional attention.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the different types of foundation cracks, what they signify, and how to discern between harmless hairline fractures and those signaling more serious problems. Knowing what to look for is the first step in maintaining the health and safety of your home. We will also delve into when it’s time to call in the experts, ensuring that you have the knowledge to act promptly and appropriately to protect your most valuable asset – your home.

Are Cosmetic Cracks Dangerous?

Hairline cracks in your foundation, while not inherently dangerous, do warrant close monitoring.

These fine fractures are often a natural result of concrete curing, changes in moisture levels, or even temperature fluctuations. Typically, if these cracks are less than 1/8 inch wide, they are considered minor and not immediately indicative of a serious structural issue.

However, it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye on them. Regular monitoring ensures that any changes in the width or length of the cracks are noticed promptly. If a hairline crack widens to more than 1/8 inch, it could be a sign of more significant foundation movement or stress, and at this point, it becomes imperative to seek professional help. By keeping a close eye on these minor cracks, you can catch potential problems early, ensuring the long-term stability and safety of your home’s foundation.

Do Structural Cracks Pose Serious Risks?

Yes. Any crack that’s in the range of 9/16th to 1 inch should be a real cause of concern to any homeowner. They could signal a deeper and larger problem. Because of their size, such cracks easily let in water, insects, and pests. Moisture causes mold problems, and insects can infest your basement, find their way into the living area, and cause all kinds of problems from contamination to structural damage.

Signs of structural cracks include:

All these signs indicate the soil beneath the foundation is unstable and your foundation is damaged. If your home suffers from these issues, schedule a free inspection sooner rather than later.

What Causes Foundations to Crack?

Before we get too deep, let’s get a better idea of what is causing the cracking to begin with.

Some of the most common culprits are:

Contraction of Concrete

As concrete slabs harden, they lose moisture. Evaporation causes them to contract and shrink. The concrete may put on some resistance for a while but it will eventually give in to the tension that pulls it apart, resulting in cracks.

Foundation Settlement

Foundation settlement happens when the soil beneath a building shifts, causing uneven support and stress on the structure. This stress leads to foundation cracks as different parts of the building settle unevenly. Over time, these cracks can widen, indicating serious structural issues requiring prompt attention.

Poor Construction

Before a new home is built, the soil should be tested and compacted, then the appropriate footing designed to support the home. Some builders overlook these steps or skip them. Still others use substandard materials, causing your foundation to crack.

Tree Roots

This may come as a surprise. Roots of big trees are pretty strong. When they make their way into the soil beneath the home, they can lift sections of the foundation, causing it to crack. Make sure you don’t plant them near your home.

Dry soil conditions

During dry weather, the soil under the foundation tends to shrink. This creates a significant gap between your home’s foundation and the surrounding soil. Back and forth pressure on the foundation causes it to shift and fill the gap, leading to cracks.

How Do You Fix Basement Cracks?

Tar Heel Basement Systems offers specialized solutions to effectively address basement foundation cracks, utilizing advanced methods such as foundation piers, including helical, push, and slab piers and wall stabilization products. These solutions play a crucial role in stabilizing foundation.

Here’s how they work:

  • Helical Piers are screwed into the ground and are particularly useful when soil conditions are variable.
  • Push Piers, on the other hand, are hydraulically driven deep into the soil until they reach a more stable layer, offering robust support.
  • Slab Piers are used specifically for homes with a concrete slab foundation, providing direct support to the affected area.
  • Wall Anchors are installed in the ground outside of your home and then connected to the walls with steel rods. They are ideal for stabilizing and straightening bowing or tilting walls.
  • IntelliBrace Wall Repair Beams are steel I-beams that are positioned along the interior of your basement walls. They are adjustable, allowing for gradual straightening over time, and are an excellent solution for walls showing signs of stress but cannot be accessed from the outside.

By employing these methods, Tar Heel Basement Systems can not only stabilize your foundation but may potentially return it back to its original position. This process can lead to the closing of existing cracks and prevent the formation of new ones, effectively safeguarding the structural integrity of your home.

Choose Tar Heel Basement Systems for Foundation Repair

Choosing Tar Heel for repairing foundation cracks is a decision backed by over two decades of proven expertise and a stellar reputation in the industry.

With more than 20 years of dedicated service, they have established themselves as a leader in foundation repair, embodying reliability, skill, and a deep understanding of structural issues. Their long-standing presence in the field has not only built a wealth of experience but also fostered an outstanding reputation. Customers trust Tar Heel for their consistent delivery of results, innovative techniques, and a team of experts who ensure that every repair is done right, the first time.

Schedule a free foundation inspection and learn why Tar Heel is an unparalleled choice for addressing and resolving foundation cracks.


Yes, foundation cracks can be common in new homes due to settling. As the newly built structure settles into the ground, minor cracks may appear. However, it’s important to monitor these cracks for changes in size or shape, as this could indicate more significant issues.

Absolutely, foundation cracks can be a pathway for water to enter your basement, especially during heavy rains or snow melts. This water intrusion can lead to moisture problems, mold, and further damage to your home’s interior.

While cosmetic cracks can sometimes be addressed with DIY methods like crack filling, more significant or growing cracks require professional assessment and repair. DIY fixes won’t address underlying structural issues.

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