Regardless of whether you are living in a new home or in an old home, cracks in the walls can be quite normal. But while this is normal in old homes to the point that they are not too surprising to the owners, some owners actually panic when they see cracks in their new homes because of how it could be indicative of problems in how the house was constructed. So, is it normal for new homes to have foundation cracks? And what are the things that every homeowner should know about foundation cracks?
Foundation cracks can be quite normal even when you are talking about new homes because of how some of the materials used in constructing the houses are still settling in. There is no cause for concern when the foundation cracks are caused by settling. However, there are still some foundation cracks that are alarming.
Cracks, no matter what they are and how they were formed, could be sources of concern for many homeowners especially when the house is still new. But are they right to be concerned about these cracks? Well, that is something we will learn as we go along with this article.
Is It Normal For A New Foundation To Crack?
It’s going to be really disappointing to see some cracks forming in your new house. After all, your house is still quite new, and you saved a lot of money and shelled out a ton of expenses just so you could move into your new house. You probably feel like you wasted your time, money, and effort on a house that you think was not constructed properly because of all of the cracks in the foundation.
However, there shouldn’t always be something to fear when it comes to foundation cracks and other types of cracks you see on the walls of your house because, believe it or not (and yes, it might be difficult to believe for those who have no experience when it comes to houses), foundation cracks can be quite normal. That means that there are types of foundation cracks that you shouldn’t be afraid of but, at the same time, there are also foundation cracks that are more serious. You just have to know which one is which.
What Does A Crack In The foundation Of A House Mean?
When you see a crack in the foundation of your new house, it could only mean two things. The first one is that, of course, there is something wrong with your home’s foundation and the way it was built, and that is why cracks formed in the foundation. And the second meaning is that your house is merely settling in, which is the normal kind of foundation cracks that you shouldn’t be afraid of.
Foundation cracks that can be quite dangerous can be formed due to a number of reasons but they are usually results of how your house’s foundation was damaged. It could be due to poor construction work on the part of the builders of your house or it could be a result of something more natural like a recent earthquake.
On the other hand, foundation cracks that happened due to your house settling in are, again, really normal. They usually happen because of how the different materials used to construct your home are still settling in and are shrinking and moving around. The movements caused by the very subtle and small (and normal) shrinking and shifting that the different materials are causing will move the house a little bit thereby causing these small and harmless foundation cracks.
How Do You Know If You Have A Crack In Your Foundation?
Foundation cracks are actually so easy to spot to the point that you don’t have to do a lot of searching just to find these cracks. All you need to know is to study your house’s design so that you would know where the foundations are.
After finding your home’s foundation, the next thing you need to do is to inspect it. You can clearly see how visible cracks are without even looking at the foundation closely. Some cracks may differ from each other such as when one crack is vertical while the others are horizontal or diagonal. But we will get to what those cracks mean later on.
While these are not technically foundation cracks, there are certain cracks that can be indicative that your foundation has cracks. Such cracks include the ones that appear in walls especially in the parts of your walls that are not as strong as the others. This could include doorway cracks or the places where your walls and the ceiling meet.
When Should I Be Worried About Foundation Cracks?
Now that you know how to spot cracks in your foundation, it is time to know whether or not there is a reason for you to be worried about such cracks. After all, these are cracks, which can be dangerous depending on the type of cracks they are.
As we mentioned a while ago, there are some cracks that are normal and should not make you feel worried because these are merely cracks that happened as a result of your house settling in. In most cases, settlement cracks in the foundation are merely aesthetic in nature and cannot harm your house in any way whatsoever. These cracks are usually vertical.
However, when the cracks appear to be horizontal and diagonal, that is when you should be more worried because these are the types of cracks that can end up causing damage to your house due to how they are more serious than vertical cracks.
Horizontal cracks are the stuff of nightmares for homeowners around the world. When horizontal cracks appear, it could mean that the foundations were damaged as a result of the pressure that has been exerted on your home. There are also instances where ground force or soil pressure actually damages the foundation due to constant shifts in the ground.
On the other hand, diagonal cracks found on the foundation won’t be as serious as horizontal cracks but you shouldn’t leave them alone because of how they can end up causing structural damages to your home. Diagonal cracks often happen when certain parts of your home are beginning to settle faster than the others thereby causing strains on the areas where vertical and horizontal walls meet.
Can You Fix A Cracked Home Foundation?
If there are cracks in your foundation, the one thing you need to do now is to address them accordingly. But you also have to know that there are some cracks that can be fixed with simple DIY solutions while others may need the help of structural engineers. There are even others (although very rare) that cannot even be repaired at all.
The simple vertical foundation cracks tend to be the easiest to repair because these can be done with simple DIY solutions. You can also say the same when it comes to diagonal cracks, although a few of them may need a more serious approach on your side. However, horizontal cracks are the more serious of them all and may need more than just a DIY solution to get fixed.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Cracked Foundation?
Repairing and getting your cracked foundation fixed can cost a bit depending on the issue of the foundation cracks and depending on your location. Nevertheless, for those who want to do some simple repairs such as using concrete bonding adhesive on hairline cracks, the expenses may stay somewhere under a hundred bucks.
Meanwhile, for larger cracks that still aren’t too serious, the cost may vary from somewhere between $350 to more than a thousand dollars depending on how large the cracks are but you can still use Polyurethane, silicone, or latex concrete caulk to fix these cracks. A caulking gun is a necessity here, so you might as well buy yourself one.
But the more serious and potentially disastrous foundation cracks that are already indicative of structural issues may need the help of structural engineers. The cost of repair can be at least $10,000 and may even reach $15,000.
Should I Buy A House With A Cracked Foundation?
Now, when you saw a home you really liked but you noticed that it has foundation cracks, should there be a reason for you to not buy the house? Is it wise to buy a house knowing that it has foundation cracks? Well, it really depends on how serious the cracks are, and that is why it is better for you to check it out yourself.
But the best thing to do here is to ask for a professional opinion from a third-party structural engineer who isn’t involved in the project so that you could really get a perfectly unbiased opinion. If the cracks aren’t serious, just get them fixed for a few hundred dollars and you will have a perfectly fine home.
However, you should also be aware of what you are getting into when you buy a house with foundation cracks. Know for a fact that you are aware of such foundation cracks and that you did your part to get them inspected and to address such issues. As long as you are weighing the pros up against the cons, and that you found out that there are more benefits in buying that house, then you shouldn’t be too worried about whether or not you should buy a house with foundation cracks.