I found a crack in this foundation, about 1/4'' wide, there is no drywall cracking above, and no evidence of moisture in the basement, looks like its been there for a while, how would you call this?

Was the crack continuous through the foundation wall and visible in the basement as well?

Do you have pictures from farther back?

IMHO, 1/4" id not a small crack…depending on variables e.g. does it go through the wall, like Michael asked, does it go from floor to top of wall, other cracks, etc.?

I would describe it just as you said and move on. Tell them to seal it to keep any potential water out and keep an eye on for any future movement.


inside wall is drywalled and not visible, I am gonna buy an endascope, so I can see it from the top of the 2x4 wall. If it goes all the way through it’s a much bigger concern I assume?

Yes, and not to mention the moisture leakage it doesn’t go all the way through. Good luck.

Looks like cracked parging. If there is no apparent water damage inside, not an issue. Having said that, no cracks above grade ever leak.


If it’s caused by soil heaving or settling, it’s going to have an ascending or descending closure. If it’s uniform along its length, then the force that caused it would either be inward (as if caused by improper backfill), in which case the crack would be even wider on the inside, or outward, in which case the crack would be wider on the outside. Either way the foundation would be bowed out or in.
These are just a few of the pages in Harry Audell’s book Field Guide to Crack Patterns in Buildings, but they’re helpful in understanding the forces that create certain types of cracks.

IMG_20200128_0001 copy 2.pdf (955.2 KB)
IMG_20200128_0001 copy 3.pdf (968.9 KB)
IMG_20200128_0001 copy 4.pdf (944.9 KB)
IMG_20200128_0001.pdf (974.9 KB)
IMG_20200128_0001 copy.pdf (831.5 KB)
IMG_20200128_0001 copy 5.pdf (574.8 KB)

Parge coats are usually installed to cover problems or reduce or prevent continuing problems by acting as a sacrificial coating. This crack obviously happened after the parge coat wa installed, since the crack in the parge followed the crack in the foundation. Something is going on there.
Helps to locate movement in other building elements that may provide clues.

  1. Were the basement and first story floors level and the walls plumb?
  2. Was there any obvious bowing of the foundation wall in or out?
  3. A photo from further back might help.
  4. Is there a hose bib above this area?
  5. Where are you located?

Structural section: .
Observation: Foundation crack. Note: Front, Rear, Left or Right side.
Recommend. A licensed foundation crack repair contractor, evaluate and repair any foundation cracks observed.
Act upon any recommendations therein.
Limitation: Soil, Parging, Wall, floor and ceiling assemblies.

Exterior section:
Heavy impervious material. Poured concrete walkway against the foundation wall.
Not sealed.
*Note: Heavy impervious material can settle soil. Heavy impervious materials such as poured concrete impedes natural soil evaporation.
Recommend: A licensed handyman contractor Seal the poured concrete walkway where the concrete walkway abuts the foundation.
Monitor for cracks and slope annually. Repair as required.

Hope that helps.

there is a picture window above it, there is no sign of any movement or window cracking. The drywall appears original to the house and has never cracked. I can’t see the inside of the foundation, finished interior, but I will be opening it up as this crack is in my own house. I am hoping to repair the crack myself by filling it with hydraulic cement.

The crack between the sidewalk and the foundation is very difficult to seal as the sidewalk tends to move with the frost and the foundation does not, any recommendations? This house is in central Canada if that helps

The GAP between the walkway and foundation is easy to seal. I see no crack. To produce a crack it, the material, concrete, would have to be one monolithic pour.

Sealed gaps between many dissimulator/similar materials abuts for >< 3 decades using, Extruded foam Gap & Joint Filler Backer Rod. Atop the Backer Rod, an approved sealant. Be it exterior Silicon or polyurethane sealant.

I live in Montreal, Quebec Canada. Deepest frost line in Canada. Frost Movement is of no concern when you take the environment into consideration.

Looking inside the finished interior wall is a good idea. If there is nothing more to be concerned about, I’d fill it with a 2-part polyeurothane injection, and monitor for future change.