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is my concrete crack dangerous

How do I know if a crack in a concrete building is serious?

One does not have to be a structural engineer to know that a crack anywhere on a building is not a good sign.  Aside from being ugly, cracks can be the first sign of structural issues in a building. However, some of the cracks in your concrete walls, columns, or slabs might not necessarily compromise the structural integrity of a building.  The truth of the matter is that cracks come in all shapes and sizes and depending on many factors, can hint at a serious issue or are merely superficial and can be repaired rather easily.

Non structural concrete cracks

Having performed thousands of inspections as a structural engineer, I can categorically state that the majority of the cracks I have seen are not serious to the point where a structural emergency repair is necessary.  That is not to say that you can relax and ignore any crack. Although they may not need emergency repairs chances are if left untreated the crack can open up over time and start to cause the underlying reinforcement which is typically made of steel to rust and lose its strength.  If you decide to ignore a crack in your house, you are risking that the crack is indeed serious and it could eventually lead to a safety risk.

 I will try to keep this article in layman’s terms and do my best to explain some of the more common types of cracking that South Florida building owners are exposed to. The most common type of cracking is what I would call a “surface crack” because it is of little structural consequence and it is basically what the name denotes.  The origins of these cracks are varied but many times have to do with how the stucco is applied to the surface or how the plasterer mixed the stucco (maybe with too much water in the mix or not enough rocks).  

If you look at most properties closely, you will see these types of cracks somewhere.  These cracks are not serious in the sense that the structure will collapse. These cracks, however, are serious in the sense that they could allow water and moisture into the property and damage the interior or allow humidity and salt molecules that are suspended in the air to penetrate and cause degradation of the reinforcing steel underneath. These cracks can be repaired by removing any loose concrete and filling it with a construction-grade epoxy.

If these superficial cracks in a building’s concrete elements are addressed early you will save thousands of dollars on future repairs. As a concrete repair contractor we have helped buildings across South Florida identify these potentially problematic cracks in concrete and analyze them to come up with several repair options. 


Concrete structures are designed by engineers to withstand outside forces. When a building is subjected to forces that the property was not designed to withstand, then cracks will inevitably appear. These outside forces include, but are not necessarily limited to, hurricanes, humidity, loads imposed by the occupants, salt molecules suspended in the air, and settlement of the soils underneath, just to name a few.

Here in Florida, it is common to see cracks in the corners of a house that are diagonal.  An experienced engineer will be able to identify the type of crack and, depending on the severity, provide a solution to deal with the problem.  Other cracks can appear near a staircase, on a balcony, or next to a window. These types of cracks are easy to point out but are more difficult to diagnose and provide solutions for. However, an experienced concrete contractor will be able to diagnose the crack and come up with a quick solution. 

Structural cracks are a serious matter since they can become worse over time and eventually render the structure unsafe.  Engineers employ different investigative techniques and tools to diagnose different structural failures, but nothing compares to the experience the engineer has. With over 30 years of experience as concrete contractors, we know a thing or two about cracks. While it is not in the scope of this blog to educate the reader about all the different types of cracking, their seriousness, and their consequences, it is important to note that hiring a structural engineer to look into it is essential.

If you suspect that there is a crack on your property, I strongly suggest that you give us a call or seek out a local structural engineer or experienced concrete repair contractor to take a look at it.  Depending on your area, an inspection and a report will cost you between $200 to $500.  The report should contain the engineer’s observations, conclusions, and recommendations on what the next steps should be.  If it is indeed a serious problem, the engineer should tell you right there and then.

What to do if you see cracks in your building

As soon as you start to see cracks in your building we recommend giving us a call. As concrete repair contractors and structural engineers, we have the experience and know-how to get your cracks patched up. The first thing we will do is provide a visual inspection of the crack and provide you with engineering plans to pull a permit and start the repairs. Once the permit is pulled and the plans are done, our team of concrete restoration specialists can take care of fixing the cracks or carrying out the repairs outlined in the engineering plans. 

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