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Home Foundation Repair: Types of Foundation Cracks

Not all cracks in your foundation are alike.

In fact, the break in the fabric of your home foundation may indicate the type and severity of the problem. It deserves investigation.

Here are the types of cracks in the home foundation: 

  1. Stair foundation cracks: If you have a brick foundation, you may see a diagonal crack (45-degree angle) that resembles stairs. This occurs when the brick is pulled apart by the foundation. If you have a brick façade, you may see the same type of split as the façade is attached to the splitting foundation.
  2. Vertical foundation cracks: These are the ones we see most often in the DMV area. It is a crack that is gradually widening. It may even resemble a spider web with many little vertical cracks. This is a sign that your home foundation is slowly crumbling. This may mean that the soil under your home is shifting. It may also indicate that the section of the home is being pushed up and away from the foundation. This movement creates a breach and can be quite serious. 
  3. Horizontal foundation cracks: When the soil shifts under the home foundation, a horizontal crack may appear. It may also be that there are several different types of soil under the home. Once one part of the soil shifts, it then causes the shifting movement in the other soils. This stress reverberates through the foundation shearing the foundation horizontally. One horizontal crack may mean that the soil is tearing the bottom part of the foundation from the upper part of the foundation. If there are several horizontal foundation cracks, this may indicate that soil is pushing in following the expansion. 

If you have seen any of these cracks on your home foundation, they cannot be ignored. As we have discussed in past blogs, you will see all the telltale signs, and the longer you wait, the more expensive and extensive the repairs will be to your home foundation.  

M Taylor Enterprise home foundation repair contractors can do a consultation in Prince George and Silver Spring, MD area. If you have seen any of these cracks in your home foundation, call our home foundation and structural repair experts in Maryland at (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. 

How to protect your home foundation this winter

Normally, I am saying in blogs at this time of year: “Well, we are getting hit with snow and ice so I hope your home foundation can handle it!”

However, this winter, the weather has been all over the place! One day it’s 70 degrees, the next day it’s 25 degrees. One week it’s in the ’50s during the day and in the ’20s at night. It’s been a strange winter for the weather, for sure***. 

Yet, there are some things, unlike the weather, that never change and that is taking care of your home foundation. During the cold (and warm) days in Central Maryland this winter, here are a few steps you can take to make sure your home foundation is in good shape:

  1. Leave the dehumidifier on:  Humidity can seriously damage your foundation and walls during winter. So, instead of turning it off, leave the dehumidifier on. Turn it on the lowest setting and let it alone. It will definitely help maintain your walls and foundation.   
  2. Clean the gutters: Gutters can be a mess this time of year. They are filled with leaves, sticks, nuts, dirt, dead animals and other debris. All these debris packs in and don’t allow water to run thus causing flooding and foundation damage. Get in there and clean them out (or have a professional gutter cleaning company do it) so water can run freely through the gutter and down the downspout. Don’t forget to adjust the downspouts, too. 
  3. Inspect the foundation for cracks: Even a small crack in the foundation can cause major problems sometime later. Have them repaired as soon as possible. During freezing, small cracks expand allowing water to get in. The water then freezes and enlarges the cracked section. Have a professional home foundation repair contractor fix it before the small ones become big ones. 
  4. Soil adjustments: Your foundation should not be easily seen. If it can be, you definitely have a problem. Winter weather and cold water can damage it deeply. Add some topsoil and cover the perimeter of the foundation. Then, rake the dirt so there is a downward slope that leads away from your home. Soil set like this will protect your home from flooding. (Use only dirt.)    

Protecting your home foundation, even in the perplexing weather that we have lately, will preserve your foundation and save you both money and stress. If you are unsure of what to do should you discover cracks, water or other damage, call your home foundation repair contractor for advice or a consultation. 

If you see any problems with your home foundation, call our home foundation repair experts at M Taylor Enterprise. We can do a thorough review of your structure and make recommendations. We serve the counties of Prince George and Silver Spring, MD area. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. 

***For more information on Maryland weather, see this link.