Foundation Crack How to report????

I inspected this 60 year old home and found this crack in the foundation. It ran from top to bottom, no displacement, and max width of 1/2 inch. The foundation juts out here as well (to the right of the crack).

As a newer inspector I never ran across this and was wondering how to report this.


Lawrence Olsen
Universal Inspections

Recommend evaluation by a foundation contractor with remedy as necessary.


There`s a nice lil beauty…got milk?

Careful on those injections as about 50% will RE-leak. See other-
injection links `n pics posted…

-applications and limitations
Epoxy injection has been successfully used in the repair of cracks in
buildings,bridges,dams and other types of concrete structures.
HOWEVER, unless the crack is dormant (or the CAUSE of cracking is
REMOVED, thereby making the crack dormant), it will probably RECUR,
possibly somewhere else in the structure…

and ummm, just because a crack seems/appears ‘dormant’ at that
point-in-time does not necessarily mean it wont,cant incur further
lateral pressure or other other pressures subjecting it to widen.
thats why its best to repair the dumb crack on exterior,and not to
recommend CHTT(injections,50% success rate) that doesn`t help
lessen,relieve exterior soil pressure or roots or possibly drive/patio slabs
or a porch footing etc.

…‘often however, the biggest load on the foundation is not the weight
of the house, but the pressure of the SOIL around the foundation…
called the lateral load…’

3.2 Lateral Wall Pressure

Try n save a couples pennies(injection) or go with TOMMY BOYs brake pads

Survivor/I Can`t Hold Back

Survivor/High On You


With a crack that wide (especially located at the corner of the foundation) the decision is best left up to a licensed structural engineer.

This crack is large enough and location make strongly recommeding a licensed structural engineer a must. Thats the only answer you should give.


I agree Curt and David;

That is structural failure, and an Engineer will be required to evaluate the repairs and establish cause, before remedial repairs are anticipated.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:


Thanks Guys

There was no sign of leaks. Strange but true.

Lawrence Olsen

Not all structural cracks will leak. I’ve had major foundation issues where there wasn’t a speck a water.

“Click to Enlarge”

Either way, you now know what to do.

A structura;l evalustion may mean that an initial measurement is taken, and re-taken at monthly intervals.

It must be established if the cause of the crack is still active.

Referr to a structural engineer.

As to verbiage, I know that Porter Valley has excellent foundation verbiage.

ouch! I bet the seller didn’t want to pay to have that fixed.

Joe, both the pictures above indicate structural failure for the composite of the material used.

Any structural engineer that knows what he is looking at will diagnose the problem and come up with a remedial plan.
The plan will encompass the cause and what will be necessary to be done in order to repair which might mean takeing down a portion of the concrete foundation.

As for the block foundation, it is an I have seen in cases where the structural lateral failures will produce a crack as such and not leak water, and that is only because such instances will produce evidence to a good water proofing product on the outside that was able to bridge the gap of failure.
A good positive drainage and soil conditions could be an other possiblilty, but I wood doubt it.

Hope this helps.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

1 Like


Unless you are a professional engineer, you shouldnt be making structural evaluations. If you are, then you have a leg-up on the rest of us.

Rob O’Connor, a PE, may disagree with you on which course of action to take. I could have sworn alternate reasoning or commentary on cracks in the past… cracks that I would have sworn indicated structural failure, only to be corrected by Rob. So, for me, all bets are off.

I have also seen PE’s not get too excited, if no lateral displacement is present, and actually use a crack gauge to establish measurements, then come back in 3 months, and if no further movement was detected, come back in another 3 months (or 6 months) before finally rendering an opinion or coming up with a solution.

My point in all of this is that our job is to observe and report.

Joe, I would have to agree with Marcel, a 1/2 vertical crack in the foundation indicates failure, but a structural engineer should always be recommended in a case like this.

PS in most real estate transactions months of evaluation are not reasonable.

Joe, I might not have the little piece of paper, but I do have the respect of hundreds of structural engineers in the State of Maine that I have built their foundations and erected their structural steel personnally.

I usually am complemented on saving their mistakes and coming up with solutions even. I also am well versed in geotech support for structural engineers.
In other words Joe, I am not quite your normal carpenter as you wish to see me as.



Marcel, I, like you have been in the trenches long enough to know that a crack like that usually indicates lateral pressure at the point on the vertical crack which indicates failure. As for the inspection process immediate evaluation should be completed by an engineer.

I have accompanied a structural engineer on many foundation inspections and a 1/2 crack like that would not be good news… here in the northeast that is!!!

That is exactly my point Peter and thanks for expressing it a little better than I can.

One more point of interest is the be able to express to some of our new Inspectors coming in on how to recognize what is a failure and what is not.

True, in all instances, if you are not sure, recommend a structural Engineer for an evaluation.
But, don’t make a mistake of recommending and it is a shrinkage crack.

Learn how to identify and differentiate the difference between failure, shrinkage and control cracking. Their are may books out their and a whole lot of foundation contractors you could also talk too.

Just trying to help everyone.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Good point on how to tell the difference which is not always our job and as usual you are helpful, from all our talks you probably have more experience on concrete and foundations than anyone else on this board.


Around these parts, there are no control joints in poured-in-place concrete foundations. So when you refer to a control crack, I have never seen one in a residential setting.

Where lateral displacement is a factor, of course the fondation is in trouble; it is significant. But, if you were to come up with an EVALUATION of the severity of the crack in a state which defines the practice as professional engineering, you’d be in trouble. Here in NY, you’d likely lose your HI license.

When licensing finally hits home, we had all better truly evaluate what we say during the course of inspecting. There is a line which exists between what a home inspection is, and what professional engneering is.

For instance, statng that an AC system is inadequately sized is clearly professional engineering. Any time one utilizes engineering principals and data to render an opinion or remedy during the course of a home inspection, that inspector has likely crossed the line.

Is the crack in question problematic? You bet. Why? It is greater than 1/4" wide and shows signs of lateral displacement. Has the foundation failed, I cant say and neither can you. We can only refer the matter to a PE for further evaluation.

Foundation contractors here employ engineers. :smiley:
As foundations here are engineered. :wink: