How to Gauge Foundation Cracks How to Gauge Foundation Cracks

What You'll Need
Safety gloves
Cleaning fluid
Magnifying glass

When you are performing maintenance on your basement or crawl space, it is a good idea to do some simple checks for foundation cracks. One of the first indications that you might have a serious problem, is when small cracks start appearing in the wall itself. Leaning how to judge these cracks is an important step in protecting your house.

Step 1 - Check the Walls

Go around the walls of your basement, and check the concrete for foundation cracks. You may need to clean off the walls before you begin, using some simple dish-cleaning fluid and a cloth. Examine any cracks you find, and look for matching cracks on floors, or on walls connected to corners.

Step 2 - Shrinkage Cracks

You may find small cracks on the surface of your concrete. These are sometimes known as shrinkage cracks, and are due to bad mixing, or too rapid curing of the concrete. These are usually hairline, and in a random configuration. Shrinkage cracks occur in many concrete application, and should not be worried about.

Step 3 - Structural Cracks

Structural cracks tend to be more substantial, getting larger over time, and originating at a corner or base of the block. Horizontal cracks high on the wall may be caused by ice or frost, while mid-height cracks are possibly connected to vehicle traffic. These are more serious, and suggest subsidence.

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