Knowing When a Crack in Your Home Should Be a Concern - observed on the home inspection Saratoga NY.


Saratoga Home Inspections Inspectors

We've all heard of the nightmare stories with structural cracks on founation walls. However not all cracks are the same. We will explain the difference in the cracks you may observed on a home.

Vertical Cracks in Basement Walls observed during a home inspection in homes located in Saratoga NY

After concrete is poured the concrete goes through a curing process. During the curing process the cement shrinks which leads to hairline cracks. Small cracks can range from barely visible to visible cracks. Typically cracks that are 1/8th" or smaller in width can be patched and or sealed to prevent water intrusion. Cracks that are over 1/8th" in size sho

Horizontal Cracks in Basement Walls observed during a home inspection in homes located in Saratoga NY

Horizontal cracks that are located about half way up your basement wall are more then likely hydrostatic pressure from the soil on the exterior of the foundation. These cracks are not typically structural cracks in nature unless there is bowing. Horizontal crack should be monitored. The owner can monitor these cracks by taking pictures and measurements of different sections of the crack. If movement consist you may need to call a home inspector or qualified contractor to inspect the area of concern.

Diagonal Cracks in Basement Walls observed during a home inspection in homes located in Saratoga NY

Diagonal cracks may have occured for one or more of 3 reasons:

  • The most common type will move diagonally from the top edge of a concrete basement wall down towards a corner. When there is also an inward tilt present at the highest point of the crack, the issue is typically caused by missing anchor bolts in the framing that attaches the basement wall to the floor above, which results in the wall being shoved in from the earth.

  • Another type of diagonal crack that indicates the foundation is settling will occur in random places on concrete basement walls. This is when the top portion of the fracture will be wider than the lower portion.

  • Finally, cracks that run diagonally from the corners of window frames or door frames is generally the same scenario as vertical cracks and caused by the concrete shrinking.

Basement walls made of concrete blocks typically develop stairway forming cracks. The reason is the same as poured concrete.

Foundation Cracks in Crawlspace or Garage observed during a home inspection in homes located in Saratoga NY

Crawl space and garage foundations are more susceptible to cracking and settling as the foundations are not as deep as the principle structure.


Cracks observed during a home inspection in Concrete Slabs in homes located in Saratoga NY

Cracks on slabs are usually cosmetic. Concrete slabs go through a shrinkage process just as concrete walls. If excessive cracking and or dipping occurs on a slab this may indicate that the installer did not tamp down the soil prior to pouring the slab. Typically slabs are not structural but may contribute to the overall stability of concrete walls/foundation.

Essentially, cracks in concrete occur from lots of variables, so if you’re concerned, consult a professional home inspector.


Shield Guard Building Inspection Services inspects all structural components of the home during the home inspection. Adam Clark the owner and operator has extensive experience when dealing with the structural components of the home. The owner Adam Clark has dealt with falling structures when he was a former building inspector for the city of Albany. Falling structural components must be observed closely and numerous variables such as the age of the structure, size and shape of crack along with many other contributing factors must be considered. Extensive structural cracks when discovered during a home inspection should be reviewed by a specialist and or qualified contractor.

Saratoga Home Inspectors Mold Assessors

The Author Adam Clark is the owner and operator of Shield Guard Building Inspection Services. Adam Clark is a local Home Inspector located in Saratoga NY that has performed over 8500 Inspections Book online

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