Seriousness of cracks in CBS

2007 home on concrete block foundation wall.

there were several hairline cracks around the foundation, but there was one that was more significant in size.

wondering if calling for a structural engineer is necessary for a crack that size.

also, I would say there were about 8 locations around the foundation of this 1200 sq foot home that had hairline cracks. And many of these were visible from inside the crawlspace.

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So, there is a lot of debate about when to call an engineer. I am not debating the need for one or not.

Remember, when you specify a trade discipline you are boxing in your client and yourself. Your choices here are plentiful.

  1. Qualified general contractor.
  2. Qualified masonry contractor.
  3. Qualified foundation contractor.
  4. Qualified soil specialist.

So, when in doubt. I go to the most generic term.
Recommend a qualified contractor.
This places the responsibility back on the buyer to qualify the contractor.

Now, everyone on this forum will help this along and opinions will vary.


What did that corner look like from inside the craws space??


I was going to recommend qualified fortune teller…that we we can tell what the crack will do in the future.

but decided against it… :wink:


it looked exactly the same from inside…let me look for a pic

By the way, the parge coat will crack and hairline cracks are typically not an issue. The one you have here is more significant and should be reported in my opinion. I would go with a foundation contractor. Let them elevate to an engineer if they deem necessary.


Have to agree with Brian. That inside corner appears to be a settlement crack that went through the half block mortar seam on top, through a full block, and again through a seam.

I too would recommend a foundation contractor first.


I also have concerns with it widening at the top.


That’s not just a crack. There’s movement there. Just saying. And for that much movement to occur since only 2007, something is going on.


Uplift. Heaving.

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I agree, movement / settlement. It almost appears as if the adjacent wall has rolled out some. Foundation specialist for sure.


one thing I have found around here is that when they excavate into a hillside to build a home, they push the dirt to the downslope and compact it. Of course it will never be as compacted as the uphill virgin soil.
so the downslope side begins to sink.


Local information is always helpful. They should not be doing that without proper footings down to undisturbed soil or approved engineered alternative.

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In those instances, I would usually recommend a masonry contractor that works with a structural engineer. That way the buyer, typically, has a smaller bill to consider because he has an in house, or familiar, structural engineer, to bounce ideas off of…JMHO.


Observation: Structure.
Foundation. CMU. Cracking. Vertical and serpentine cracks.
Cracks are wider at the top than the bottom which suggests heaving soil and uplift.
Recommend: Recommend a licensed foundation repairs contractor further evaluate the soil action and repair any foundation cracks therein.
*Note: An inspection and financial contingency set aside to improve below grade perimeter drainage and weep tiles.
Follow any recommendations offered.

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Settlement would have the crack opening wider at the bottom although I have read the opposite.

Could be one or the other in my opinion


I am still on the fence over that. Wider at the top suggests settlement. Suspend 2 boxes of playing cards butted together or use your hands. Push up slowly from the center and the top gaps gets wider at the top suggesting uplift. Separate your elbows to let you open butted hands drop and the gap gets wider at the bottom from settlement.

And cracks like that generally make themselves evident in other ways, above and below (or at least where water can get in)

I say the settlement illustration is wrong.