Let's start off by saying that there is no 'one solution fits all'. Anything relating to foundations is complex and therefore must be assessed and inspected before proper recommendations. However, if you're home does not have a basement and your foundation is cracked, it's in our experience that these issues derive from foundation settlement. Settlement is your foundation (and home) literally sinking into the ground. This is caused by shifts in the soil underneath your foundation. How to fix a cracked foundation? Cure the source of the problem: unstable shifting that redistributes the weight of your home improperly causing 'stress' and cracks.
How can you tell if your home is sinking or settling?
In most cases you'll notice a crack in certain areas of your foundation. These cracks are produced by stress within the concrete, where one part of the foundation is secured at a certain leveling point and another part is not. It's hard to describe in words, but in a 3-dimensional plane: if one point moves and the other does not, this causes a break in between the points.
What's the difference between a basement wall crack and a foundation wall crack?
In some cases they are described the same in layman's terms. Technically, a basement wall is a foundation wall, whereas the basement wall is the foundation of which your home rests on. Sometimes foundation wall cracks are describing cracks in the wall portion of your foundation (even if you don't have a basement). It can be complicated to understand, however the solutions are usually the same: foundation pier for foundation cracks, and wall anchors for basement wall cracks.
I have cracks on the walls in my home (not concrete). What do I do?
This a definite sign of foundation settlement. While sinking foundations usually harm the concrete, if the problem has persisted for too long or the circumstance has presented a huge shift in soil, it can effect your home's interior. This can also result in 'sticking' or 'stuck' windows and doors. This is caused by the frame of these object being compromised as the house shifts in different angles.
What are bowed walls? Isn't that the same thing as wall cracks?
Actually, they are relatively similar. Some cases present themselves as wall cracks for sinking foundation problems, while other wall cracks are caused by exterior soil pressure. As this pressure builds, it presses against the basement wall causing it to bow inwards. This is what causes the wall to crack. In most cases you won't be able to see the bowing until the problem presists over long periods of time.