Cracks in foundation walls are often indications that the footings are failing. The cause may be that the footings were not poured to the proper depth, the reinforcing steel is missing, undersized or the soil supporting the footing is not stable. When significant cracks are discovered in a foundation wall a structural engineer or specialty contractor should be hired to investigate the cause and determine a solution to the problem. Vertical cracks appearing on the outside of a foundation wall are usually an indication of footing failure issues. The following photo demonstrates a vertical crack in the exterior stucco finish of a concrete block foundation wall system.
When cracks appear in the exterior mortar or brick veneer there are likely settling issues with the footing below. The photo below shows cracked brick and mortar that has been pointed up.
The next photo shows more crack in the brick and mortar at a different location of the same home.
Vertical cracks straight through concrete block foundations are an indication of significant footing failure below grade. The following photo shows a significant foundation failure on an exterior foundation wall system.