When To Be Concerned About Cracks In Block Walls

When should you be worried about cracks in block walls? This guide would reveal common concerns.

When a structure is built, it’s expected to last a certain period of time. This is known as its lifespan.

Now within this time, such structure has to be maintained. Maintenance is carried out to address the problem of deterioration. Here, we’ll be looking at structures having block walls.

It’s not uncommon to find block walls cracked. Now, not all cracks on block walls are signs of danger. Cracks on block walls should only raise concerns when they’re considered to be severe.

The logical question to be asked here is; when should one be concerned about such cracks even in foundations?

A series of answers have been provided in this article. As you read through, you’ll get a better grasp of how cracks appear and to what degree they should be taken seriously.

Types Of Cracks In Block Walls

To better understand when you need to be concerned about block wall cracks requires knowing the types.

Basically, there are about 3 types; vertical, horizontal, and diagonal cracks. You’re likely to find one or all of these on your structure. So, what are the causes of each type of crack?

  • Vertical Block Wall Cracks

This type of crack mostly occurs as a result of shrinking which is due to the curing process. As the name implies, you’ll find these running vertically along your block walls.

However, not all cases are severe. Some vertical cracks are so tiny they can’t be seen. As such, they’ll pose less danger to the structure.

  • Horizontal Block Wall Cracks

Cracks also appear horizontally on block walls.

Horizontal cracks may be due to stress which may be attributed to a push from earth mostly common with basement walls. Horizontal cracks may be mild as well as severe.

The latter requires urgent action.

  • Diagonal Block Wall Cracks

Diagonal cracks may also appear on block walls. It may be due to foundation settling as well as concrete shrinkage among other reasons. Whatever the causes are, their appearance portends danger.

How large the crack(s) determines how you respond.

Concerns About Block Wall Cracks

From our discussions so far, it’s clear that cracks are common but the extent of such cracks matters. There are some cracks (such as vertical cracks) that cannot be seen.

For these, there’s no need for fear or concern. However, some other cracks are visible and could even threaten the structural integrity of your building.

You should be concerned when such cracks worsen with openings as much as a quarter-inch wide or more.

At this point, selling or refinancing your home becomes almost impossible. It’s best to prevent cracks from escalating to this point by taking proactive steps to fix the problem at its early stage.

Solutions Lie in the Causes

Any block wall cracks as wide as a quarter-in or more are a major red flag. This calls for concerns and possible solutions. However, you’ll need to look at the causes find answers.

We briefly mentioned some of the causes to include foundation settlement and cement curing.

Asides from foundation settlement, another cause of block wall crack is uneven settling. By looking at the causes, appropriate action is taking in response to such causes.

Now, we’ll need to elaborate a little more on the causes of block wall cracks.

  • Foundation Settlement

When a new structure is built, expect its foundation to settle over time. Here, such a foundation gradually sinks into the ground. Such occurrence is due to the shifting of the soil beneath the foundation.

While this action isn’t entirely bad, it could lead to damage to your structure when it happens too fast.

  • Uneven Settling

Uneven settling occurs when a home’s foundation doesn’t settle uniformly. This leads to a situation where certain parts settle faster than others. It’s common to find such affecting the structure adversely.

Before long, such stress is transferred to the block walls with cracks appearing.

  • Hydrostatic Pressure

Walls built in areas or soils oversaturated with water are likely to develop cracks as a result of hydrostatic pressure. As water acts on your foundation, it creates a bow due to pressure and your foundation’s refusal to yield.

What happens next is that water gets into the wall enough to weaken it, thus resulting in cracks.

  • Other Causes of Cracks in Block Walls

There are other possible reasons why cracks appear on block walls.

Those mentioned above may not be among them. They include leaks, vacant homes, and the new building where new lumber containing significant moisture dries out, thus causing shifts.

With all of these causes explained, what you need to do is find out which applies to your situation. However, you might not be skilled enough to diagnose the problem. Here, your best bet will be to call the experts.

A thorough investigation of your wall cracks is performed to find the causes. Pinpointing the cause gives a starting point for solving the problem.

Doing otherwise won’t provide the much-needed solution as you’ll only be focused on the effects, thus leaving out the cause.

Who To Call for Inspection and Repair of Cracked Block Walls

Who to call for cracks in block walls is as important as getting the damage fixed.

This is because a novice will misdiagnose the causes and apply measures that won’t solve the problem. It’s best to call a professional to perform such a task.

GUIDE: A Guide To Basement Wall Repair

Structural engineers and foundation specialists are best suited for these kinds of jobs. These are trained and experienced professionals that understand the dynamics of construction.

Any diagnosis performed is usually spot-on and addresses the problem.

What more? Preventive measures are also adopted to forestall further cracks on block walls. In a nutshell, it’s best to let the pros handle the job.

By adopting this approach, you won’t have to deal with the problem more than once.

Cracks Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Every major crack on block walls once started small. Large cracks don’t suddenly appear unless when there’s a major adverse environmental condition such as an earthquake.

A preventive approach is always ideal. Here, you should have any small crack investigated by an expert.

Knowing when to be concerned about cracks in block walls is crucial to its solution. It’s clear from our discussion that certain actions are necessary and prove beneficial to solving such problems.

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