I bought a house in 2017 that was built in 1998. The previous owner had notified me of two foundation cracks that he had repaired from the interior (epoxy injection). In February 2019 (second winter in the home) both foundation cracks ended up leaking (water in the basement). I had both cracks repaired again from the outside this time with a water proof membrane.

I spoke with the old owner and he claims the epoxy injection was done 6 years ago.

Is it normal for foundation cracks to continue after so many years? I’m concerned that there are more serious issues with the house. I’ve looked online for other symptoms and do not see any other symptoms with the house(i.e. sagging floors, stuck windows or doors).

Do foundation cracks automatically mean we have a foundation issue, or is it normal for a house to have a couple of foundation cracks? If they are repaired with a waterproof membrane is this the end of it or is it possible that they continue to crack wider and wider creating more problems? If the house was 19 years old when we bought it, would it have already been identified if there were serious foundation issues (i.e if the house’s footing was broken)?

  • Cracks leaking water is not, itself, terribly concerning. Residential foundations are often totally unreinforced concrete (save a few pennies on something the owner won't see) and can crack very easily. Significant motion (beyond just cracking and weeping water) would be much more of a concern, as an indication that the ground is moving. You may wish to attach something to each side of the cracks inside and make marks so you can tell if they move, or not. Water leak repairs done from inside are almost always going to fail, so that part is not surprising. Did you fix the drainage when dug out? – Ecnerwal Apr 16 at 1:50
  • Thanks for your response that is reassuring. What do you mean exactly by fixing the drainage? The previous owner did not have any drain extensions installed so I imagine 19 years of water draining near the house didn’t help. When i purchased the home i installed drain extensions and re-leveled the ground around the house. – Justin w Apr 16 at 1:58
  • If you have enough water pressure outside the foundation wall to cause leaks, that's an indication that you should have drainage to relieve that pressure. Unless your entire foundation is as watertight as a boat hull (possible, but unlikely in a house) sticking it in a wet hole in the ground will means leaks, eventually. Patching over the cracks from the outside is better than from the inside, but the best approach is (while the wall is dug out anyway, or better yet, when the footing was being placed in the first place) running drainage pipes to relieve the water pressure outside. – Ecnerwal Apr 16 at 2:02
  • Fixing the slope around the house and extending downspout drains will certainly help, so that's good to have done. – Ecnerwal Apr 16 at 2:03
  • Thanks for that information. I had the repairs done by a contractor and I do recall him mentioning something about drainage, but being a novice in this area I did not completely understand what he was talking about. I imagine it was that but I will follow up with them to confirm. – Justin w Apr 16 at 2:04

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