Severe horizontal cracking in a concrete block foundtaion wall (C) Daniel Friedman Block Foundation Wall Damage FAQs

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Q&A on damaged masonry block foundations & walls:

Frequently-asked questions about the diagnosis & repair of damaged masonry block foundations & walls.

This article series explains the types of foundation cracks, crack patterns, differences in the meaning of cracks in different foundation materials, site conditions, building history, and other evidence of building movement and damage.

Types of foundation damage are described to assist in recognizing foundation defects and to help the inspector separate cosmetic or low-risk conditions from those likely to be important and potentially costly to repair.

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Questions & Answers on Masonry Block (concrete & "cinder block") Foundation & Wall Damage

Frost push damage to foundation wall (C) D Friedman A CarsonRecently-posted questions & answers about masonry block foundation wall defects

On 2017-02-16 by (mod): how to repair tree root damage to a concrete block foundation


You will want to hire a foundation contractor with experience in foundation repair. Unlike the great Carno I can't quite see, from here in Mexico, the condition of your foundation nor how your home is constructed.

But in general the contractor will install one or more horizontal beams supported by posts to support the structure from below over a sufficient expanse that the damaged foundation section can be removed and re-built.

Jacking up the building is kept to an absolute minimum, lest you break other building components. -

Search InspectApedia (using the Search box just above) for FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS to read more details. Or see FOUNDATION DAMAGE & REPAIR GUIDE - home.

On 2017-02-16 by Breezi

I have an older home build In 1910 that has a cement block foundation that has collapsed severely on one side due to a tree root. Any suggestion on how to go about jacking it up and fixing the wall?

On 2017-02-06 b (mod)

Tony: if the foundation is sound and the damage is to isolated blocks I'd consider removing loose material, applying a bonding agent, then repairing with a masonry patch concrete that you can stain or color to match the original.

On 2017-02-06 by Tony

I have a 15 foot high block wallmade with the red designer blocks. A couple are crumbling and I don't know how to fix them. Help?

On 2016-11-10 by (mod) - foundation coatings using Hydro-Seal 75 waterproofing

Thanks Rick for the clandestine ad along with installation tips for this waterproof coating product.

Warning to readers: some, perhaps many coatings will be pushed off of the interior wall surface if you do not also get water away from the building exterior.

On 2016-11-10 by Rick Bernard

When applying Hydro-Seal 75 waterproof coating to basement walls and floors we run into cracked and spalling concrete surfaces all the time.

1. Remover all loose concrete with wire brush and chisel.

2. Apply coat of Hydro-Seal 75 with paint brush to act as a bonding agent for patching mortar

3. Apply Hydro-Seal 75 Mortar made from Hydro-Seal 75 Portland Cement & Sand applied with putty knife or trowel on large resurfacing areas.

4. Apply Hydro-Seal 75 over entire surface with brushes and rollers

On 2016-09-14 by (mod)


Why not invite your neighbor to stand there and watch your wall. Start with a clean dry wall and then have an accomplice pour water on the neighbors side.

Let your neighbor watch the water coming through the wall. At that point your neighbor can see what any normal fair-minded person would acknowledge that if you pour water on one side of a concrete block wall it's going to come through on the other side.

S. Danahy.

Use the page Bottom CONTACT link to send me some sharp photos and we can comment further.

On 2016-09-14 by S Danahy

My cinder blocks(1976) on the one corner of my house seems to be flaking or scaling in planes, professionals are trying to sell me a foundation kit however there is no symptoms in the frames, Windows & doors showing any signs, as well as the exterior & interior walls.

They want just over $18000.please your input would be more knowledge.

On 2016-09-09 by Bill

I have a common cinder block wall,shared with a neighbor. He has a planter on his side, with 8-10 inches of soil against the wall. when he waters the planter the water LEACHES into the wall and is causing damage.

He denies any responsibily. Need literature or help with proving my case

On 2016-09-08 by (mod)

I could use some of that physical persuasion power - to improve communications with a couple of fellows who steal our website traffic by swiping our content and images, thus carrying off the pittance of an income that permits InspectApedia to give away information to anybody who wants it.

On 2016-09-08 by Anonymous

Cheers moderator, I will check the search description you have recommended.

Still I might tell people it's caused by my punching power :)

On 2016-09-07 by (mod) Pounding a punching bag causes foundation wall damage?


I'm not sure what's meant by breeze block walls; vertical cracks in masonry walls often mean that there has been settlement in the wall footing.

You may be a heck of a guy who packs a whale of a punch, but I'd be surprised if hitting a punching bag would cause foundation settlement or cracking.

Search InspectApedia for VERTICAL MOVEMENT IN FOUNDATIONS to read details.

Just covering a crack with cement won't stop the cracks from recurring if there is settlement going on.

On 2016-09-07 by Mick Fenton

Hi I have cracks running vertically through the cemented corners to the breeze block walls in my garage, not sure if these are serious and what caused them.

I do have a punching bag hanging from the timbered roof of the garage and was wondering if this has caused the cracking and whether just covering with more cement would cure it?

Any help would be gratefully received.


On 2016-07-29 by (mod) chipping falling concrete block, with stairstep cracks

Connie, I cannot guess how serious is chipping or cracking block from your e-text; It depends on the size, location, cause of cracking, the amount of movement and thus its impact on the structure.

Certainly I'd be surprised if installing a starter strip for siding would cause structural damage to a building;

Similarly I'd be surprised if drilling a 1/4" hole to pass a cable into a building could cause structural damage. More likely something else is going on.

On 2016-07-28 by Connie c

Hi, we just moved into a well built brick house with a block basement. We had a tv satellite company to hook us up to a dish and they drilled a hole through our block foundation for the cable. We now have several cracks in our block. Some are stair stepped and some go through the block.

And there is some chipping and falling pieces of block. How serious is this? Thanks. Connie

On 2016-07-27 by Bill Coulter

Seven years ago my Townhome Association replaced our siding. They attached a 6" cedar strip as a starting point for applying the siding.

Over time alot of my neighbors have noticed the foundation block where the board was attached show signs of the concrete block deteriorating, I have found indications that in attaching these strips nails were driven into the concrete blocks. Could this be a contributing factor to the block deteriorating?

On 2016-07-26 by (mod) water-main flood damaged foundation wall - is there a collapse risk?


I can't buy enough insurance to promise, based on a mere e-text question, that someone's house is safe from collapse nor much else.

Your lawyer, being a lawyer, would enjoy litigation, so is willing to do research for you that more properly, and more sensibly, would be decided by an on-site expert who knows foundations, old types of masonry block, and structural failures.

This might be a licensed professional engineer IF she/he has experience in these specific areas.

Some masons and even some home inspectors might also have the right experience and background to assess your foundation.

I can offer a general remark that if the block has retained its hardness, position, surface texture, then it's likely to not be showing signs of structural failure. If it's crushing, crumbling, leaning, bending, bowing, bulging, or if you can poke a hole in it with your finger or a screwdriver, it's rather unreliable and could be unsafe.

I'd also worry about the other effects of water or moisture on your building: mold, insect damage, rot.

On 2016-07-26 by Ken barrett

My basement is ash cinderblock from the 1950's. A 36" water main broke in the woods behind my house and eventually flooded me 7 times over a year..the block is severely discolored, black ,gray is my back wall supporting my there danger of collapse because it is "ash cinder?

My lawyer says he cannot find any information on ash cinderblock exposed to long term water damage..PLEASE HELP!! THANK YOU.
MY EMAIL..kenbarrett67@gmail

On 2016-05-24 9 by Charles

in the corner of the foundation on lower row of 12" cement blocks there is one broken cement block, with about 80% of the block gone.

I'm not sure how this happened but I'm trying to get the best method for fixing it.
Is this a repair that I can do myself or do I need to contact a foundation contractor.

On 2016-04-12 by (mod) horizontal cracks in a foundation deserve careful examination

Horizontal cracking in a concrete block wall is more likely to be caused by earth pressure than a sinkhole.

I suggest that you ask for an evaluation by an experienced mason or by a structural or civil engineer who has familiarity with residential foundation repair.

On 2016-04-10 by JMCFLA

My house has a lower horizontal crack that turns into steps. It was small and has now (over 3 weeks) grown to go across the entire outside wall in 3 different sections at the same level, all of which have a long horizontal look then stairs with each of them.

I am afraid of sinkholes here in florida and wonder if that is what is causing these (a sinkhole under the bedroom) at that wall. Could it be something else? Thank you!!

On 2016-02-02 by David

If my cinder block foundation (crawl space) has an outline the shape of a rectangle on its outside face, does that mean moisture is building up behind it and wicking through?

On 2016-01-29 by Joe

Need reason for house length cinderblock separation, for insurance to repair

On 2015-08-19 by (mod) mold cleanup before foundation repair?


If building interior surfaces, ceilings, insulation, were wet it would make sense to remove wet materials that cannot be cleaned and dried - including insulation, and to be alert for visible mold or building IAQ complaints.

On 2015-08-19 by Anonymous

if a buildings ceiling falls in in the winter time and is not fixed for a long period of time should they look for black mold before putting on a new roof.

Also some of the installation was removed but not all of it. Can black mold come about because of them neglecting them to check the ceiling first?


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