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shrinkage crack on 10" concrete wall

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Hi Dave:


One hairline crack?  Why are you concerned?  This is appropriate to expect after adequate design and construction.


  1. It could be shrinkage if it is in a location that supports that assumption.
  2. It may be due to foundation/soil settlement if the crack extends through the footing.
  3. It also may be due to (or exacerbated by) movement due to a seismic event in Orange County, California.
  4. I have seen cracks of this nature caused by tree roots which were planted too close to the structure.  I have also seen expansive soils cause this type of crack.  If it is expansive soils, you may want to investigate improper drainage of water and check the depth of the existing footing below the adjacent finished grade.
  5. What is the structural load above the crack?  Is there a beam(s) with a very heavy concentrated load?  If so, is the wall designed to adequately transfer the load into the foundation?


If it is No. 2, you may want to monitor it with a plastic target which the geotechnical folks use for this purpose over a period of time.


If there is evidence of continued movement, fixing the crack structurally would only lead to a new crack very close to the one you see.


If the owner elects to do a structural repair, we have successfully used epoxy injection from Sika or others.


Is it a painted concrete wall?  If so, have you considered filling the crack with drywall mud, and re-painting?  This may be appropriate if it is, in fact, shrinkage.



IDS Group, Inc.

Bob Freeman, AIA, EIT

(949) 387-8500