When you begin seeing cracks form in the basement wall, it can be of serious concern. Perhaps you didn’t notice them before, or maybe they are new cracks that now appear to be expanding.
Cracks in the basement wall are not only an unsightly problem but can also lead to other issues. Those issues can include the possibility of water intrusion, bug infestation, or weakening of the walls that could lead to foundation failure.
That is why you need to understand more about the cracks you may see in your basement wall. Are they normal cracks, or are they something that should cause alarm? What causes the cracks, and what can be done to fix them?
These are the factors that will be considered in this article. They will equip you to decide what to do when basement wall cracks become a problem.
What Causes Basement Walls to Crack?
Not every crack you see in concrete indicates that your home is falling around you. Some cracks are normal and are just a part of the concrete curing process. Other cracks, however, are a sign of bigger problems.
Generally, monitoring any basement wall cracks you see from when you first see them is a good idea. If it is a small hairline crack that doesn’t get any wider, then it is likely just a normal crack that is not worthy of concern.
However, if a crack is expanding and getting wider, it could be a structural crack. The same is also true if you have cracks in the basement wall that allow water to seep in. These cracks tend to get worse over time and often are a sign of bigger problems with the foundation.
In addition, the orientation of the crack is also something to consider. Most vertical cracks are not a big problem, but horizontal cracks may indicate hydrostatic pressure. That is especially true if you notice that the basement wall is bowing.
Other cracks may also be of concern, such as those originating at windows, doors, or the corner of the foundation. These cracks may be diagonal or stair step.
If you have any basement wall cracks or are concerned about the possibility of foundation problems, it’s always best to have a foundation inspection. AMC911 offers free foundation inspections to our neighbors with no obligations attached.
Are There Signs of a Bigger Problem?
There is always a possibility that any basement wall cracks are a sign that a bigger problem is occurring. These cracks can take place due to differential settlement or hydrostatic pressure. What are those issues?
Differential Settlement: When the soil under part of the foundation can no longer support the structure’s weight, it may begin to sink. Since the structure is sinking at a different rate in different areas, it can significantly torque the home’s frame and may cause basement wall cracks.
Hydrostatic Pressure: This is often a problem in areas of poor drainage. When there is excessive water near the foundation wall, the soil could expand and put pressure (hydrostatic pressure) on the basement wall from the outside. This problem often causes long horizontal cracks in the basement wall and basement wall bowing.
Aside from seeing issues with the basement walls, you may also notice problems in other areas of the home as well. These may all be a sign of foundation issues and should be monitored carefully for worsening.
Leaning Chimneys: The chimney is not often as well supported as the rest of the house. As a result, you may notice cracks in the chimney, or the chimney may separate from the main structure or lean. This is often one of the first signs of foundation problems.
Uneven Floors: Do you feel dizzy or like you are falling when walking across the room or down the hallway? This could be your body telling you that the floor is uneven.
Sticking Doors and Windows: The shift in the foundation also causes the window and door frames to get out of square. This can cause the doors and windows to stick when you open or close them.
Cracks in the Drywall: As the torque increases on the home’s frame, it can cause weaker building materials, such as drywall, to crack. These cracks may originate near the doors and windows, and in some cases, they may carry over from the wall to the ceiling.
These are just a few of the many different signs of foundation problems. If you recognize these issues in your home, contact AMC911 for assistance.
3 Methods of Basement Wall Crack Repair
When cracks appear in the basement wall, not all is lost. There are methods to repair the basement wall cracks so they are no longer a problem. These are professional solutions, but they are the solutions that work.
Underpinning: The underpinning process involves using push or helical piers inserted into the ground until they reach load bearing strata. The pier can then be attached to the foundation and used to stabilize it and, if necessary, for a hydraulic lift.
Carbon Fiber Straps: Carbon fiber straps can be used when a crack threatens the foundation wall’s strength. They stabilize the foundation wall and keep the crack from widening. They can be left in position after the repair takes place and can be painted so they practically disappear.
Epoxy Injections: The cracks can be sealed permanently using high-quality epoxy injections. The epoxy is injected at various places along the crack to ensure it is filled. Once dry, the epoxy is a permanent solution.
The First Step to Crack Repair: Foundation Inspection
They sometimes say that the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. The first step in this journey is to have your foundation inspected.
AMC911 offers free foundation inspections to our neighbors throughout the region without obligation. You can contact us on our website or by calling, and one of our foundation professionals will start the process.