Understanding Types of Foundation Cracks and How to Treat Them

As a homeowner, one of the scariest things you may come across is a crack in your home’s foundation.

Foundation cracks are certainly a cause for concern, as they may point to a problem. In severe situations, cracks are symptoms of hazardous structural issues. In other cases, they simply mean water is seeping into your basement during heavy rainstorms.

So, how can you tell if you have a serious crack or a minor crack? More importantly, how do you go about fixing it?

Here’s a guide for telling the difference between normal versus serious foundation cracks and how to repair them.

close up of foundation crack

Vertical Foundation Cracks

A vertical crack in your foundation is the least threatening type of crack you may see in your foundation. In fact, nearly all houses have them.

These types of cracks form because concrete can crack easily when under tension. The problem with these cracks is that they allow water to seep through your foundation in heavy rainstorms. So, they’re worth fixing when you come across them.

An epoxy or urethane injection can easily be used to repair a vertical crack in your foundation. Because these materials are flexible, the future movement of your foundation won’t cause your sealed crack to re-open, so you can rest assured that your fix will be a permanent one.

Horizontal Cracks

Contrary to vertical cracks, a horizontal crack is the most severe type of crack that can occur in your home’s foundation. The cause of these types of cracks? A foundation that is bowing.

A bowing foundation is a serious problem, as it may ultimately lead to your foundation’s failure. This, in turn, can lead to the collapse of your home. However, strapping can be installed on your foundation’s interior area to keep your wall from continuing to bow.

In addition, reinforcing braces or posts may be installed in your crawlspace or basement to address a bowing foundation and the resulting horizontal cracks. Yet another option is to bury anchors in the ground to pull your foundation’s wall out and then secure it.

An industry professional can advise you on what solution is most appropriate in your case and help you get it fixed correctly and safely.

Diagonal Cracks

Diagonal foundation cracks are typically the result of foundation settling, whether your house is old or new. Fortunately, these types of cracks are relatively easy to repair.

The same injections used for horizontal cracks can also be used for diagonal cracks, except extra injection material will likely be needed. This is to account for future foundation movement.

How We Can Help

We offer top-of-the-line foundation repair services and products. We have a strong reputation for inspecting, repairing, and replacing foundation walls and damaged drain tiles.

With more than 20 years of experience in the southeastern part of Wisconsin, we can diagnose foundation issues resulting from unanticipated soil conditions, design changes, construction, and other common causes.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can address your foundation cracks and keep your home standing strong for years to come.

How to Conduct a Foundation Check-up

The foundation of your home is designed to withstand immense forces while keeping your home dry and structurally sound. These thick concrete walls deliver on that promise year after year of the deep freeze of Wisconsin winters, and the frequently intense rainfall of Wisconsin summers. Combined with an effective drain tile system and exterior grading to remove water from the foundation walls, you can expect many years of low-maintenance service from your home’s foundation. However, as homes age, the foundation walls often can break down and become weakened, leading to leaks, moisture, and eventually, structural damage that can affect the overall integrity of the building. When you find yourself in need of foundation repair in Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Madison, look no further than the experts at the IHN Company.

You may ask: “How do I know if my foundation is in need of repair before it’s too late?” There are several signs you can easily identify that will tip you off and let you know that it’s time to contact the foundation repair experts. Read on to learn now to give your foundation a quick checkup.

Look for cracks in your foundation

Vertical or horizontal cracks in the surface of either poured concrete or cinder block foundation walls are a warning sign. This is evidence that the water may be infiltrating the walls, or that the foundation has shifted position. In any case, you should immediately contact your experts at the IHN Company for a professional evaluation.

Examine the corners of your basement

Your basement floor should be dry to the touch at all times. Often, poor drainage or water infiltration can be evidenced by moisture in the corners. If you see dark, slightly damp patches in your concrete basement corners, you may have a problem with either the walls or drain tile that will continue to accelerate if not dealt with. In the case of a finished basement, if you detect a musty odor or damp feeling in the corners, the problem is especially critical, since it could easily result in mold in your home. Call IHN today in these cases for our expert evaluation.

Don’t ignore water seepage in the basement

Many homeowners will write off some water leakage in their basement as no big deal. Even if you just have a trickle of water coming in after a particularly heavy rain, it could be a sign of large-scale structural damage to the building’s foundation. Don’t ignore it and end up with a major problem to your home or your family’s health later.

Need foundation repair for your home?

The IHN Company are your foundation repair experts in the Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Madison areas. Contact us today for an estimate, and let us get your basement back to being dry, safe and comfortable. Call us today at 262-691-0402 or visit our website for more information.

Diagram of the typical Wisconsin Basement


Wisconsin & Illinois Foundation Repair Service

If you have cracks in your walls, floor or ceiling – IHN Company is here can help!

Foundation problems can affect your home’s safety, look, and value of your property. The first step to repairing your home’s foundation is to find the source of your problem. Proper foundation repair and maintenance is essential before it becomes a serious and costly problem is the most affordable and ideal solution.