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Wall Cracks: Foundation Problem or Something Else?

Wall Cracks: Foundation Problem or Something Else?

You might notice those mysterious lines creeping across your walls, like little wall cracks in your home’s facade. But What’s the reason behind those wall cracks? Is it just the foundation problem or something else? Let’s explore the different types of wall cracks, their causes, and most importantly, whether there is a signal of a potentially serious foundation issue or simply a part of your home’s natural aging process.

Wall cracks are a common concern for homeowners, and they can appear for various reasons. But, not every crack is associated with structural integrity. Some cracks are minor which should not put your property at risk. Big cracks should be taken seriously. This article will thoroughly describe all the information about the wall cracks so that you can clearly understand what those cracks are trying to tell you and how to address them. So, let’s dive in and solve the mystery of wall cracks!

Does A Foundation Problem Cause Your Wall Crack?

Usually, wall cracks are taken as a sign of foundation movement. But that is not the case every time. A slight movement in the foundation can cause cracks to appear. However, not all cracks represent structural damage to the house. 

What Causes Wall Cracks?

Wall cracks can appear for several reasons, and here are some common causes:

Normal Settling 

Every soil occasionally experiences tiny vibrations. If this movement is little, it won’t affect the structure, but it might result in a few vertical fissures in the walls.

Destruction in Reinforced Concrete Construction. Defects at the Junction of Structural Elements of the Wall

Temperature and Weather 

Construction materials like wood can momentarily expand or contract when the seasons change and the temperature rises or falls. Small cracks may form as a result of this slight displacement.

Soil Expansion and Contraction 

During seasons of heavy moisture, drought, and cold spells, Oklahoma’s clay soil is prone to enlarge and compress. Homes in the Tulsa area may shift. As a result, they result in wall cracks.

Mistakes during Construction 

Poor construction practices or dishonest contractors can bring on numerous issues for homes. These errors may cause cracks and shifts in the walls.

Tree Roots

The roots of large trees in your yard could someday strain the walls and foundations of your house. This problem exists in many Oklahoma neighborhoods, especially older ones.

Excess Moisture

Water damage, which can result from leaking roofs, poor drainage, pipe bursts, flooding, and other problems, is the main cause of foundational damage. Therefore, you should have an examination as soon as possible if you think the cracks in your property are caused by moisture damage.

Types of Wall Cracks

Wall cracks come in various forms, and each type can provide valuable clues about their underlying causes. There’s a simple way to track down the movements of cracks. With the help of a pencil, mark the ends and note the date. After every period, check if the cracks have grown from the pencil marks. If it has, know that the situation is worsening. 

Let’s take a closer look at some common types of wall cracks:

Vertical Cracks

Vertical cracks appear on the walls because of the home settling. If the cracks are less than 1/8 inch-wide, they are not a serious problem. However, the cracks wider than 1/8 inch should be immediately inspected, especially if the cracks are located at the corner. 

Crack in concrete wall creating a grunge texture

Diagonal and Stair-Step Cracks

Diagonal fractures can develop in a wall, although they most frequently do so where ceilings and top corners of door frames meet. These fissures are frequently brought on by little settling. However, if you see a diagonal fracture and a wall leaning in, particularly in basement regions, this might indicate possible foundation problems.

Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal cracks in your walls are a cause for concern. Unlike some other cracks, these run parallel to the ground and may indicate serious structural issues. They can result from excessive pressure on your foundation due to water or soil, suggesting a need for prompt professional evaluation and repairs. Ignoring horizontal cracks can lead to more significant problems down the road.

DIY foundation repair is a very risky business, it can cause more damage if it fails. So call the professionals immediately for a quick inspection everywhere you notice horizontal cracks in your home.

How to Know When a Wall Crack Is Serious?

Its crucial for you to understand when a wall crack is a cause for concern. Ignoring significant issues can lead to costly repairs down the road, while overreacting to minor cracks can result in unnecessary expenses.

The sooner you are able to identify the issue, the easier it will be to solve it. Below we have mentioned a few issues which can occur in the foundation. If you observe them, take action immediately. 

Ceiling damage

If you’re experiencing ceiling damage in your home, it’s essential to address it promptly to prevent further deterioration and potential safety hazards. Ceiling damage can manifest in various forms, such as cracks, water stains, sagging, or even holes. In this article, we will explore the common causes of ceiling damage, how to identify the severity of the issue, and steps to take for repairs and maintenance. Whether your ceiling damage is a minor inconvenience or a significant concern, understanding the underlying causes and knowing how to address them is key to maintaining a safe and aesthetically pleasing living space.

crack in a house wall and ceiling

Popped nails or screws in walls

Popped nails or screws in walls should not be bursting out or becoming abruptly evident through drywall since it indicates pressure being created, which is bad for your walls.

Uneven flooring 

Uneven floors, especially on your ground level, indicate that the foundation has moved, slanted, or sunk.

Windows and doors won’t open

Wide gaps around door frames and diagonal fractures growing up the wall from the corners of doors and windows are further warning signs of a significant issue.

Water damage causing mold growth on the interior walls of a property

Does a crack in the wall indicate foundation problems?

A crack in your house’s wall may or may not indicate foundation problems. The severity and orientation of the crack are crucial factors to consider. Horizontal or stair-step cracks are more likely to suggest foundation issues and should prompt professional inspection, while vertical cracks may be less concerning and could be due to settling or minor structural shifts.

How to check if a crack is structural?

To check if your wall crack is structural, examine its orientation – horizontal and diagonal cracks are more concerning than vertical ones. Measure the crack’s width; if it’s wider than 25mm (about the width of a pencil), it could indicate structural issues. Lastly, monitor the crack over time; if it continues to widen or shows signs of displacement, it’s important to consult a professional for a structural assessment.

Why are cracks appearing in my walls?

Cracks can appear in your walls for various reasons. Common causes include natural settling of your home’s foundation, which can lead to minor cracks over time. Temperature fluctuations and humidity changes can also cause walls to expand and contract, resulting in cracks. Additionally, poor construction practices, moisture infiltration, and tree roots seeking water can contribute to wall cracks. Understanding the specific cause is essential for appropriate repairs.


Your home is an investment worth protecting. Wall cracks are your home’s way of communicating with you, urging you to pay attention to its needs. By understanding the causes and taking prompt action, you can ensure your home remains a safe and comfortable haven for years to come. So, don’t delay—take the initiative to protect your home today!

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