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How to Fix Foundation Cracks: Common Types, Causes, & Repairs

cracks in basement wall

Have you spotted cracks around your home but don’t know what to do? Learn how to fix foundation cracks the right way in our complete guide.

No, we’re not going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it. That’s not going to solve the problem.

Foundation cracks typically mean there’s something going on below the surface, something that’s difficult for homeowners to fix without professional assistance.

The key takeaway: learn to spot different types of cracks and call foundation repair professionals like Indiana Foundation Service for a permanent solution.

Look for 5 Types of Foundation Cracks

You might think a crack in the wall is just that, a crack in the wall. But cracks come in all shapes and sizes—vertical, horizontal, diagonal, stair-step, etc. They also have different sources and meanings.

Let’s explore five common foundation cracks you’re likely to find throughout your home:

drywall crack

1. Drywall Cracks

Your first floor and upper floors often are some of the first places you’ll find foundation cracks.

These cracks are usually in drywall and appear vertically or in a jagged, diagonal pattern stemming from the corners of windows and doors. You might also notice drywall nail pops and ceiling cracks.

Drywall cracks may look cosmetic, but they typically mean your house is settling.

cracking and bowing basement wall

2. Basement Wall Cracks

Your basement walls are also prime spots for cracks.

Concrete block walls typically have horizontal cracks and inward bowing. This means hydrostatic pressure is at work, impacting the wall’s structural integrity.

Poured concrete basement walls can suffer the same fate, but they often have vertical cracks, indicating lateral movement.

crack in concrete slab floor

3. Floor Cracks

Your concrete floors can crack, whether your home has a basement or a slab foundation.

Thin hairline cracks are typical as concrete cures. However, larger, deeper cracks that spread throughout the slab point to foundation settlement or heaving.

exterior brick cracks

4. Brick Cracks

You might also see brick cracks in your home’s exterior.

They can appear vertically, but you’ll most likely notice them following a stair-step pattern along the mortar joints. Cracks in brick, especially stair-step cracks, mean your foundation has differential settlement (settling at an uneven rate).

cracking and leaning chimney

5. Cracking and Leaning Chimney

Similarly, your exterior brick chimney can show the same kinds of cracks.

You may also see gaps where it separates from your house and starts leaning away from the rest of the structure. This is a more dramatic and dangerous symptom that could result in your chimney’s collapse.

What Causes Foundation Cracks?

We’ve mentioned two types of phenomena: foundation settlement and hydrostatic pressure. These sources of foundation cracks are rooted in the soil underneath and around your home.

Expansive clay soil is the most susceptible to fluctuating precipitation and moisture content. It expands and contracts with these changes, often forcing a lot of pressure on your foundation and walls. Cracks form when the pressure becomes too much for your home to bear, or when it lacks proper support.

How Not To Fix Foundation Cracks: “Quick Fixes” & DIY

We do not recommend attempting to repair foundation cracks yourself. Even with careful preparation, mistakes can easily happen.

Many homeowners first try temporary “quick fix” solutions like injecting epoxy into cracks, caulking them over, patching with hydraulic cement, or simply painting sealant over the fractures. However, these are just superficial bandages that conceal the cracking without addressing the underlying issue—unstable underlying soil.

These temporary cover-ups do nothing to permanently stabilize the foundation or prevent continued soil movement from worsening the cracking over time. It’s important to permanently stabilize the foundation with proven solutions to ensure long-term repair.

Top 6 Foundation Crack Repair Methods

Our team at Indiana Foundation Service understands no two homes are the same and that each requires its own unique set of repairs. Following a thorough, free inspection, we may recommend the following solutions:

installing push piers

1. Foundation Piers

We install three types of foundation piershelical, push, and slab—depending on your foundation type and the extent of the damage.

These methods, also known as underpinning, permanently stabilize and can potentially lift your settling foundation. In doing so, they also offer the opportunity to help close foundation cracks.

crew installing crawl space jacks

2. Crawl Space Jacks

Similarly, our heavy-duty crawl space jacks provide lasting reinforcement to weakened floors and floor joists.

We can adjust them and possibly lift floors to a more level position, thus helping close some cracks on the upper floors.

installing carbon fiber straps to fix foundation cracks

3. Carbon Fiber Wall Reinforcement

For basement walls with minimal cracking or inward bowing under two inches of displacement, we’ll install durable carbon fiber reinforcement straps along the interior wall surface. We can also fill and seal any visible wall cracks.

While extremely strong, these thin straps are designed to permanently stabilize and prevent any further inward wall movement from occurring. They securely hold compromised foundation walls in their current positions.

However, they do not have the capability to potentially straighten or restore bowing walls back to their original upright position.

IntelliBraceâ„¢ beams installed on basement wall

4. Wall Braces

For walls with more significant cracking and movement, our innovative IntelliBrace™ system uses heavy-duty galvanized steel beams secured flush against bowing basement walls by a unique floor bracket anchoring method.

Unlike rigid I-beams, the IntelliBrace™ beams feature design adjustability that allows for incremental improvement. Once installed, this system immediately halts any further wall displacement while providing the potential to gradually restore walls and close cracks over time through controlled tightening.

installing wall anchors

5. Wall Anchors

Similarly, our wall anchor system delivers robust lateral reinforcement for severe foundation wall failure with large cracks and more than two inches of movement.

It consists of interior wall anchor plates connected by steel rods to underground anchors embedded deep in stable soils away from the foundation walls.

Using specialized equipment, crews build tension within the anchor system by tightening the rods, creating powerful opposing forces between the interior and exterior anchors. This arrests wall bowing while simultaneously beginning to pull and straighten buckled walls.

channel anchor installed on cracking basement wall

6. Channel Anchors

If basement walls exhibit shearing movement or displacement concentrated near the base, channel anchors provide an effective repair solution.

Combining aspects of the IntelliBrace™ system and wall anchors, channel anchors utilize underground earth anchors connected to interior channel brackets that are floor-mounted. This braces and stabilizes shearing walls while allowing future tightening adjustments to gradually improve wall alignment over time.


Absolutely! While drywall cracks may indicate foundation problems, they can also indicate humidity changes, temperature fluctuations, or poor workmanship during the home’s construction. However, it’s important to get an expert evaluation to eliminate foundational concerns. 

Generally, thin, isolated hairline cracks are likely cosmetic, while larger cracks that run across the ceiling and down walls, cracks accompanied by sagging, or widespread cracking patterns may indicate structural concerns that require professional evaluation.

The cost of repairs depends on various factors, such as the size of your home, the extent of the damage, the repair method required, and permitting. However, we offer flexible financing options to fit repairs into your budget. The best way to determine the cost of repairs is to schedule a free inspection with us. During the inspection, we’ll provide an exact price for our work with no hidden fees. 

Trust the Pros To Fix Foundation Cracks the Right Way

Foundation cracks are more than just an eyesore. They signal underlying issues that could eventually compromise your home’s structural integrity and your family’s safety if left unrepaired. Don’t take chances with quick fixes that merely conceal the problem.

Your home’s safety and your peace of mind are our top priorities at Indiana Foundation Service. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and no-obligation repair quote.  Put your mind at ease by allowing our experts to get your home back on solid, unshakable ground.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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