Block foundation vertical cracks - middle of the wall

I came across a couple of vertical block foundation wall cracks yesterday. One was on a west foundation wall and the other on a south wall. The cracks appear slightly wider at the top than the bottom and go from top to bottom. I’ve seen a lot of expert post on this subject in this forum, so I wanted to put this out there for any input I can get. My only concern with it is that even though the crack is very narrow, it does appear wider at the top. My inclination is to note it as typical settlement and recommend having it sealed to prevent moisture and insect intrusion and monitor. Just want to see if anyone else here sees something different.

Note: Every other image shows the outside view of the same crack.

How do you know it is “typical”? How do you know it didn’t just develop last month? What do you have as a comparative?

DO NOT speculate any such thing as “typical” or “normal” or etc…

Vertical cracking through block is not typical, common maybe, but not typical.

Call it out for repair by a qualified foundation contractor.

I would just say to watch it. Reporting cracks of that size might open a can of worms. If that’s the only place call it out and offer no opinion. You reported it with no drama.

In Minnesota you would have a hard time finding a home with no foundation cracks.

Watch it for what?

Your right, poor choice of words.

Yes a poor choice of words, tell the homeowner to watch it over time. That’s also a bad choice of words. A crack that size would not worry me if it were my home.

Personally, I wouldn’t bring it up without knowing the approx age of the home, if it had been left unheated, if it had rained a lot. The crack itself is no big deal.

I have been taking all the Internachi courses, I’ll see if they have an English one.

To anyone here… :wink:
Not biaaatching, not complaining, RATHER, just asking… see/hear often from some HI’s etc that, when a crack is wider at the top…why do quite a few say it’s a SETTLEMENT CRACK, where/from WHO, does that come from? Just wondering.

Steve, in my opinion, i would NOT just say it’s a ‘typical settlement’… you could bring this up as ‘ONE possibility’ but I wouldn’t claim/hedge that’s its typical settlement.

Have seen thousands ++ of cracks, vertical etc… quite a few were wider at-near the top… none were ‘settling’ cracks. Not saying all are, just telling ya’s what we have seen for 3+ decades.

You are SPOT ON on recommending they get waterproofed-correctly/outside. Nobody on this planet can ‘waterproof’ those cracks in block walls from inside any basement.

Have more photos coming soon from a home in GPP, BRICK walls, home BUYER was not told anything about an existing interior system, efflorescence etc on walls… WHO paid for us? Uh huh. :wink:

Here’s some vertical cracks… NOT settlement cracks…
ZOOM in, its WIDER at top :mrgreen:

Same house, corner crack, small ROOTS grew into crack, ZOOM in

Little bit of a ‘step’ crack that turns into vertical, had nothing to do with any settling of the house/footing, zeroooo
It’s wider at top

And for those who say, claim, tell homeowners NOT to worry about SMALL cracks like this, tell THAT to THIS homeowner… sheesh peeps Buyers have one chance to bid LESS on a stupid house so, why would any HI tell them small cracks like this don’t need to be waterproofed/don’t leak/just raise duh grade etc
small exterior cracks can most certainly allow quite a bit of water in basement(s).
Homeowner already tried adding soil etc, TIP for some HI’s who’d like to keep their fee $ in their pocket, do NOT ever recommend adding soil/raising the grade for a leaky basement

And what about THIS kind of EXTERIOR crack… it’s at the corner/edge of a basement wall and CHIMNEY. It’s an existing crack, defect, homeowner leaks… BUTT, one will NOT see this kind of crack on the inside of wall
Potential BUYERS NEED to KNOW :wink:

Look at the INTERIOR photos I took of walls, CORNER here… you would have seen what Bubba saw :mrgreen: :wink: BUTTTT, some HI’s and others would have told homeowner/buyer that the small STEP crack is a settling crack/issue… which would have been INACCURATE :mrgreen:

See the photos of block wall on the inside? LAST 5 photos.
And then, the photos on the outside of same wall/corner.

What do you see that is open on the outside?
And you do NOT see these on the inside… got milk?

So any HI or structural engineer etc that would have said anything like, the step crack is a settling issue/caused by settling, would be wrong, oh yes indeedy.

The small hairline step crack etc seen inside doesn’t quite measure up to what is REALLY going on, outside.

And one more time on this-point… some HI’s and others tell homeowners/buyers not to worry about a small crack like the one’s you see in this photo album, right? lolol
I say, bullshtt, they do not know/understand THIS subject as the rest of those photos CLEARLY show.

The Knickerbockers/Lies ‘Lies, lies, that’s all homeowners get from Interior drainage companies… you think you are such a smart salesman, and homeowners will believe what you say, but who do you think you are terd, to lead homeowners on this way, eh, lies LIES!’

That appears to be in a crawlspace and I would not worry about it. I would note it and move on. :slight_smile:

Vertical cracks in a crawl and cracks in the basement are probably not the same animal.

One of the problems with crawlspace block walls is most were NOT parged when built so, easy access for water to enter onto crawl-floor

Disintegrated blocks BELOW grade, gee honey, we leak in our crawlspace so lets call an interior basement drainage company… who won’t stop further water from entering and of course won’t stop further deterioration

Where does that ‘settlement crack’ stuff come from? loool
'WIDER" at duh top, hmmmmmm, okie dokie.

Must be from the same peeps who tell homeowners they can fix/solve 90% of ALL basement leaks by adding soil, regrading huh… got milk???

Lets see, toilet bowl has a little crack in it, it leaks. Should we regrade the floor?
Should we install small little drain tiles around the toilet bowl and a mini sump in duh bathroom?

looolol, no comments at all on this huh? :wink:

OK Johm I will bite
I looked at your pics. You say cracks are not from settlement. Where do they come from then.

I agree with Marcel. The crack looks worse on the outside cause the stucco makes it look worse. The wall won’t crack unless the footing cracks somewhere.

Where do these vertical cracks come from if not from the bottom up?

On reporting this condition.

Cracks can and do allow moisture and insects into a home but seeing a crack and discussing it with the homeowner can keep them from buying a good home.

All homes settle and many homes have foundations cracks of one kind or another and experience no problems. Also some settling may have occured in the first few years after a home is built and this foiundation may have not moved since. When inspecting bank and Fannie Mae REO’s the most common problems were missing plumbing, need for a heating system, electridc and moisture intrusion. These homes may have been winterized allowing frist to form below the slab and footings. Cracks were evident. Condition the home and the problem was abated. Aside from that people might caulk the cracks which does not work.

Unless the crack is in the lower 2 courses of the block my belief is shrinkage cracks form into settlement cracks, force some hydraulic cement patch into this crack and leave it alone and make sure the grading is correct and the gutters clean and discharging away frrom the foundation.

Its sounds like some of you are thinking the cracks in the pictures are cause for alarm, I dont’t think so.

One reason/cause is lateral pressure, soil pressure, shrink-swell.
U S Army Corps of Engineers
Page 2, Symptoms …‘cracking can also occur when stresses induced by lateral pressure exceed the strength of the concrete or cmu wall. The most common…(step crack)…the third crack type is a vertical crack and is located near the mid-span…but minor cracks can form near corners’

(posted some of those types of vertical cracks)

Same link, Page 35 photos… ‘lateral pressure causing vertical fracture in mid-span of basement wall’

And 3.1 at beginning Causative factors, foundation movement, they list 11

Foundation movement includes… cracks.

Underground tree roots, porch footings that move against a basement wall or concrete slabs/driveway slabs can also cause cracks in basement walls

I ask again, what about this photo set link, the small cracks you see inside VERSUS what was really going on, outside… no comments huh :mrgreen: (the pica 09 link)

Have seen many HI’s and others say all kinds of incompetent bulsshtt and NOT what they should have, sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus, loool

Agggggggggggggggain, they actually tell homeowners crap such as, oh don’t worry about that small little crack (as in the pica photos!!!) or, oh just raise and slope the grade etc etc

And again, you need to take about 1-2 minutes and look at the INSIDE wall photos and then, the outside photos. NOT worry about it? Water etc is entering, hello! loool

Some of ya’s don’t take the inside AZZ ho scammers to task, in fact some actually highly recommend them yet, some here get on my tail…Looooooooooooooooool, truly fcg un–be–lievable bulshhhttt

So, looool, some thought most or all vertical and step cracks in basement walls were due to… SETTLING!!! :mrgreen::wink:

I’m with you when it comes to being able to say what is going on outside, hidden and below grade, from looking inside only, Mark.

Your pics remind me of many situations, both on my inspections and from picture sent to me inquiringly.

One particular crack was similar to the one that started this thread…except that the parge coat was applied to hide what was on the outside. But, it still cracked and when it fell away there was a situation like your pictures depict…open broken block.

On another home, someone had built a frame wall in front of where the foundation would be. On the outside it didn’t look right and when I tapped on the parge coat, it was hollow sounding. So, back inside, I found a location where I could stick a small mirror and see that another sheathed frame wall was what was outside and none of the framing was PT wood. What a mess! Not a good idea to guess in this work…:shock:

We, as home inspectors, can learn much from a talented professional like yourself. Your pictures tell the story. Thanks for sharing here. :slight_smile:

Have posted these links many times, one builder here who gets it/most of this subject… 6th 6th 6th paragraph
…horizontal hydrostatic pressure against wall… this pressure will crack walls, cause leaks and in a worse case, collapse the wall inward.

SATURATED SOIL lateral soil pressure… against basement wall(s).