It is common for cracks to develop on the walls of buildings. New buildings are especially prone to developing cracks as the foundation settles and the concrete shrinks. While some wall cracks are a common occurrence as a result of foundation movements and changes in the properties of the concrete, deep cracks or cracks that threaten the structural integrity of your house are a cause for concern.
Thus, it is important to understand the various types of cracks and how they can be fixed. This article discusses four types of cracks, their implication and how they can be repaired.
Four types of cracks
Vertical cracks: These are stress cracks that arise as a result of the shrinking of the foundation during curing. The cracks run perpendicular to the ground. Vertical cracks usually don’t indicate a serious problem in the structure of the foundation or walls, but they still need to be monitored and repaired to avoid further damage in the future.
Diagonal cracks: A number of factors cause diagonal wall cracks. Such factors include concrete shrinkage and uneven settling of the foundation as a result of different soil properties at the construction site. Diagonal cracks manifest in a number of ways. For example, there are diagonal cracks that start from the top section of wall corners while others begin at the corners of doors and windows. Diagonal cracks are usually wider at the top and get narrower at the bottom.
Horizontal cracks: These cracks indicate serious problems in the foundation. They run horizontally (i.e. parallel to the ground) and are caused by factors such as wall bowing. Wall bowing the bending of walls as a result of too much pressure on the walls due to problems such as the soil that surrounds the foundation being waterlogged. Wall bowing can also result from the foundation being too weak to bear the weight of the wall.
Cracks that take the shape of a staircase: Staircase-shaped cracks run in the same manner as diagonal cracks but take the shape of the mortar joints that connect different bricks or blocks. Such cracks also indicate flaws in the foundation of a building.
How to fix different types of cracks
It is important to work with a competent building contractor whenever you spot cracks on your house. The contractor will assess the cracks and recommend the most applicable repair method. Some of the ways of fixing cracks include the use of epoxy repair kits for minor cracks and the use of materials such as plaster and carbon fiber for deep cracks.