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Your home is your castle. Yet no matter how strong it looks, it is only as strong and safe as your foundation. Watch out for these common types of cracks and whether you should be worried or not.
Cracks around your Denver, CO, home can be scary. Sometimes there is an easy fix that you can get to over time. In other cases, your home may be about to implode. Know the difference and how fast you need to get help.
Basement cracks happen for one of two main reasons. One is simply the settling of your home. This is seen in the form of stair-step cracks around the concrete blocks. It may be relatively normal, but they may need attention, especially if dampness is getting in. Vertical cracks mean there is serious pressure building up against your foundation walls. Horizontal cracks are the most serious. Your basement walls are about to cave in. Get help fast.
Foundation slab cracks are typically caused by changes in the earth under your home, settling, shrinking concrete and freezing weather. Small cracks may not seem threatening right now. Some people just try to patch or cover them up. However, as the weather continues to change, these flaws will get worse and worse.
Whether it is the basement floor, garage floor or other concrete floors in your home, these cracks are a sign that the soil under your home can no longer support the weight. You may also be experiencing floors that are sinking away from the baseboards. This can be the result of rushed or cheap construction or water getting in around your home’s foundation.
Cracks in interior walls or around windows, doors and the ceiling could signal flawed construction or deeper foundation issues under your feet. Get them inspected to find out if you need additional piers to support your home and stop it sinking further.
Much like the cracks in a concrete block in the basement or crawl space, these can result from settling or a failed foundation. Know the patterns. Stair-step cracks may continue to widen if there is uneven settling. They could lead to other problems with your home systems and water intrusion. Vertical and horizontal cracks in brickwork can be extremely dangerous. Get them inspected immediately.
Your chimney may be one of the best features of your home. They are also very heavy. If the foundation and soil weren’t prepared well, you’ll get cracks in your chimney. It may even start to lean. This can be a very dangerous situation; the rest of your home could be at risk. However, be cautious of those who advise you just to tear it down or try to strap it in place. You’ll still have underlying foundation problems to fix and may have ruined the best thing about your house for no reason.
Ready for some good news? Some of the most common cracks on your property are going to be found in the sidewalk or on the driveway. These are normal. They don’t have to signal any major problems under your property. Of course, that doesn’t just mean you should ignore them either. They can steal a lot of your home’s curb appeal. Uneven sidewalks can cause trip and fall lawsuits, which could rob you of your home. Fortunately, the fixes for these areas are some of the easiest. Consider a foam lift, re-leveling and resurfacing.
Cracks in crawl space walls are much like those in full basement walls. Recognize the patterns. Crawl spaces can also be easily impacted by shifting soil, poor grading and lack of proper drainage and gutters. It may not be the most exciting renovation item on your list, but everything else you do can be wasted if you don’t get this part of your home right first.
There are many reasons for cracks appearing in your home. Some may be common and simply a nuisance. Others can be very serious and need urgent attention. If in doubt, get your home inspected. A good contractor should provide a free estimate and options that meet your goals and budget.