No home is flawless. Every house, new or old, has some issues—some more serious than others. As a homeowner, the real trick is identifying potential issues early and knowing your red flags from typical wear and tear. The first step is identifying the severity of the situation—take a look at the flow chart: foundation-cracks-101

It’s a good idea to tape indicating marks when you see cracks begin to emerge to track the progression. While foundation cracks scare off most home buyers, the reality is, nearly every house will require foundation repair it its lifetime. Purchasing a house with a properly fixed foundation means buying a home that shouldn’t require foundation repair again. Now that your cracks have their own, individual threat levels, lets take some time to really understand what causes your foundation to crack.

Excessive and Uneven Moisture

Excessive moisture beneath a home causes the soil to expand and contract. Doors and windows begin to stick during the wet months due to the pressure put on the home through soil expansion. Uneven moisture, such as a leaky gutter on one side of the house, also causes soil expansion and results in cracks.

Faulty Drainage

The primary reason for foundation cracking and waterproofing issues is improperly drained residences. Water resting against the foundation of the house puts excess pressure against the foundation, and even in scenarios that don’t include soil contraction and expansion moisture damage is common. It’s only a matter of time until the hairline cracks expand and leaking occurs.

Design Problems

While most foundations crack due to moisture, structural issues can also lead to cracking. Poorly planned homes with foundations that can’t bear the total weight, or a portion within a part of the home, can exhibit foundation cracks. In addition, an improperly prepared home site may causes the home to settle in looser soil—resulting in cracks and structural damage.

A Structural Engineer is Your Friend

A structural engineer can act as a third party expert before you begin taking bids on a project. They can identify the source of the problem by investigating your foundation and its surrounding soil, draw up a plan for repairing the issues, and in the end, make sure it doesn’t happen again. No matter the cause, when cracks occur, the foundation will leak—and you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in both basement waterproofing and foundation repair to address the issues.