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Cracks in Foundation Walls

Cracks in your foundation walls can be a worrying sight.  

At Foundation Systems of Michigan, we have over 15 years of expertise in diagnosing and repairing all types of foundation cracks across Michigan and Northwestern Ohio.  

Read on for a comprehensive look at what causes these cracks, how to spot issues, and proven repair solutions to restore your foundation.  

With the right solutions from Foundation Systems of Michigan, you can confidently repair foundation cracks and reinforce your home’s structural stability. 

What Are Cracks in Foundation Walls? 

Your home’s foundation walls provide structural support, bearing the weight of the home above. Over time, various pressures and soil conditions can cause cracks to form in the foundation. These cracks indicate your foundation walls are under stress and at risk of further damage if left unchecked. 

Cracks may start small, but can expand, allowing water intrusion that accelerates deterioration. Wide cracks also compromise structural integrity, leading to more severe issues like wall bowing, tilting, or buckling. Early intervention to repair foundation cracks can reinforce your home’s structure and prevent costly damage down the road. 

What Causes Cracks in Foundation Walls 

Several primary factors cause cracks in foundation walls: 

Concrete Shrinkage 

As poured concrete cures, it shrinks slightly, which can create small cracks in walls. Shrinkage cracks are often less than 1/8” wide. They do not widen significantly from top to bottom. These minor shrinkage cracks pose little structural risk. 

Foundation Settlement 

Settlement occurs when the soil underneath the foundation compacts or shifts, causing uneven sinking. Settlement cracks often start in a corner and stair-step down a cinder block wall or run diagonally on a poured wall. This type of crack indicates ongoing movement requiring urgent foundation repair. 

Clay Soils 

Expansive clay soils swell when wet and shrink when dry. This movement exerts tremendous pressure on foundation walls. Cracks form as walls bow or lean in response to clay’s force. Left unaddressed, clay soil will cause walls to buckle or tilt inward. 

Hydrostatic Pressure 

After heavy rains or snowmelt, saturated soils push hydrostatic pressure onto foundation walls regardless of soil type. Concrete walls crack under this intense horizontal force. Improper drainage allows a damaging buildup of hydrostatic pressure. 

Poor Construction 

Weak spots due to poor installation, inadequate steel reinforcement, or substandard concrete also lead to foundation wall cracks. 

Identifying Foundation Cracks 

Catching cracks early allows for prompt repair before major damage occurs.  

Here’s what to look for: 

  • Vertical cracks 
  • Horizontal cracks or stair-step patterns signal structural issues 
  • Cracks exceeding 1⁄4 inch may represent serious problems 
  • Cracks showing rust stains from exposed rebar require urgent attention 
  • Cracks accompanied by other signs like sticking doors and windows, gaps along floors, or sloping floors 
  • Changes over time like new cracking or existing cracks widening 

Thoroughly inspect interior and exterior foundation walls, noting crack locations and measuring widths. Seek input from foundation repair specialists if you have any concerns. 

Can You Fix Cracks in Foundation Walls? 

The good news is that with the right solutions, foundation cracks can be repaired effectively. While simple crack fillers may seem like a quick fix, they are only temporary, and cracks will reappear.  

To fully resolve foundation cracks, the source of the damage must be addressed. This requires a whole-home approach to identify where cracks stem from and customize solutions to stabilize your foundation. 

With comprehensive solutions, we can permanently fix foundation cracks along with restoring structural stability. Don’t settle for fast crack patches that won’t last.  

How to Fix Cracks in Foundation Walls 

Foundation Systems of Michigan offers proven solutions to repair existing cracks and prevent new ones from forming.  

Our tailored approach addresses the root causes behind foundation cracks based on your home’s needs: 

Wall Anchors 

For cracks due to clay soils or hydrostatic pressure, we recommend our exclusive SettleStop® Wall Anchor System. Earth anchors installed in the ground outside your home connect to steel rods running through the foundation wall. Tightening the rods counteracts outside pressures that causes cracks and bowing.

Wall Braces 

In cramped spaces where exterior access is limited, FSM brace walls inside using our IntelliBrace® steel I-beam supports. The bracing systems stabilize and potentially straighten walls, closing existing cracks. 

Foundation Piers 

For settlement cracks, we install foundation piers beneath the foundation to stabilize and potentially lift sinking areas in an effort to close existing cracks. Stabilization stops uneven sinking that causes cracks. 


Improving drainage inside your home prevents buildup of hydrostatic pressure that can crack walls. Interior drains direct groundwater into a sump pump where it is pumped away from your home’s structure. 

Combining multiple solutions ensures a comprehensive approach to repair existing cracks and reinforce walls against future damage.  

Why Repair Foundation Wall Cracks Now? 

Don’t ignore cracks in your home’s foundation walls. Here are important reasons to take prompt action: 

  • Cracks allow water intrusion and soil shifting that accelerates deterioration. 
  • Expanding cracks compromise structural integrity and increase instability. 
  • Doors and windows will start to stick and jam as walls shift out of alignment. 
  • Uneven settling due to cracks causes floors and ceilings to slope noticeably. 
  • Ignoring cracks risks severe leaning, buckling, and potential wall collapse. 
  • Cracks must be disclosed when selling your home and lower property value. 

At Foundation Systems of Michigan, we restore the structural stability of your foundation using proven methods. Our solutions come with long-term, transferable warranties.  

Contact Foundation Systems of Michigan for Foundation Crack Repairs 

If cracks have emerged in your foundation walls, the time to take action is now before minor issues turn into major repairs.  

Foundation Systems of Michigan has specialized in interior perimeter waterproofing and foundation repair throughout Michigan and Northwestern Ohio for over 15 years.  

Our expert team offers high-quality repair solutions that reinforce your foundation and defend your home’s structural integrity from damage.  

We handle all aspects of the project from inspection to custom repair plan to tidy cleanup. 

Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and take the first step toward getting your foundation cracks fixed! 


Different soil types, such as expansive clay or poorly compacted soil, can exert pressure on foundation walls and contribute to cracks. Understanding your soil’s characteristics helps in devising effective repair strategies. 

Ignoring foundation cracks can lead to more significant issues, potentially lowering your home’s value during resale. Addressing cracks with professional repairs ensures a solid foundation and maintains property value. 

It’s not uncommon for concrete foundations to get minor shrinkage cracks as they age and settle. But cracks wider than 1/4 inch or showing signs of movement require repairs to prevent worsening damage. 

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