Foundation wall cracks and the impending structural damage is caused by the soil surrounding your home. When the soil absorbs water during wet, rainy seasons, it expands. Conversely, the soil will shrink during dry seasons and droughts. This pattern of expansion and contraction puts enormous pressure on the foundation walls, and can cause the foundation to crack, heave and shift. Poured basement walls typically fail from the top corners inward, resulting in longer diagonal cracks that emanate from the corners of the foundation wall. Block foundation walls most often fail horizontally in the middle, bowing in as the mortar joints break. The evidence of a failing foundation block wall, then, will usually consist of horizontal foundation wall cracks midway up a basement wall. You may also see stairstep cracks as the joints fail around concrete blocks at different levels. If you do see foundation wall cracks of this type, don’t panic — most foundations can be stabilized and even lifted back to their original position using specialized equipment. This is often less expensive and far less disruptive than total foundation repair.