When you see a small foundation crack, remember it for later!
It might show up again!
Small foundation cracks are normal.
All foundations will move, some more than others.
Usually a foundation will find its position and stop moving in 3 to 5 years.
But not always!
Can you see it? This is a very small crack.
Often such small cracks don't even bisect the wall. A poured-concrete foundation wall, like this one, is about 9" thick. It is filled with supportive re bar and very strong.
But concrete cracks! For various reasons. And a single crack here or there is not unusual.
Often indoors such cracks are hidden by finished walls and impossible to see. Sometimes they are hidden behind insulation and you can't see the crack. In each of these locations it is often not possible to see anything a crack may be causing, like leaking into the house.
But sometimes, just sometimes, you can see evidence of leaking!
And in this house, such evidence was evidently evident.
Staining is visible on the floor molding of the furnace room, very close to where the foundation crack was seen outdoors.
You can see that this staining has happened often, showing many shapes and colors.
Recently we have had snow here, and melting snow. The ground is quite saturated.
That saturation moves slowly, increasing pressure against foundation walls. Sump pump drainage will eventually carry it off, but in the meantime there is water pressure against foundation walls.
And behind the door, behind the staining on the outside door trim, there is visible wetness. And wetness with mud! That is a sure sign this is ongoing leaking, from the small foundation crack right in that location, which is bisecting the wall.
It's not a huge leak. But a continuous one. And it's an easy fix, with an epoxy injection into the crack.
In this case access to the crack makes for that easy repair. Insulation is easy to remove and replace. Much easier than drywall.
My recommendation: when you see a crack outside, remember it for later. It may or may not demonstrate indoors, but when it does a plan can be made to deal with it. This crack is not frightening. An epoxy injection is a common fix, and very permanent. It stops cracks in their tracks!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560