Tips on basement foundation cracks
The foundation walls and floor of your basement are built to support your house and to keep out the moisture that surrounds them. Their purpose is to keep your home dry and create a stable structure for you and your family. When foundation walls crack, it can cause moisture or harmful gases from the ground to seep into your basement, decreasing the air quality, causing mold growth and damaging personal property.
There is no viable quick fix when it comes to basement foundation crack repair. There are different correction methods and knowledge needed to fix them correctly. Let’s take a look at the list below for some tips and a little more knowledge about foundation cracks.
1. There are three reasons for cracks in your basement foundation:
Shrinkage is caused by the poured concrete, walls or floor, drying too fast. The quick-drying time causes the concrete to shrink, and hairline cracks are the result. Shrinkage is noticeable not long after the construction of the house.
Settling causes cracks in the basement foundation when the ground below the foundation continues to compress under the weight of the poured concrete. The cracks that happen are a result of settling and directly related to the amount of ground compression. If the ground under the basement foundation only compresses for a short time, the cracks are generally minor. However, if the ground continues to settle for a more extended period, the cracks can become more numerous and troublesome.
The most common cause of basement foundation cracks is movement. Movement and shifting in the ground under the foundation can cause foundation cracks. As with settling, if the movement continues, the cracks will get worse.
2. Cracks in foundation walls and floors happen for the same reasons, but are not the same when it comes to fixing them
Cracks in the basement foundation floor can be more challenging to fix, especially if you are noticing leaking or wetness. Typically, the floor cracks will only leak when there is a significant amount of water leaking underneath your basement floor.
If you are noticing leaking on your foundation floor, it would be a good idea to check your sump pump. Often, when you see water coming through the cracks in the basement foundation floor, the sump pump has stopped working as it should. If your sump pump is working, then an underground drainage system could solve your floor leakage issues.
When water leaks are noted, basement foundation crack repair becomes very difficult. Wet concrete will not allow waterproofing products to adhere well or permanently. Also, for the best seal, the product would have to be applied to the top and underside of the floor which would be very difficult at best.
3. Basement foundation cracks can negatively affect the air quality in your basement
Though water leakage, through foundation cracks, can be a big hassle, cracks in basement foundation walls and floors could be an entry for other potentially dangerous gases, such as Radon, Methane, and even pesticides.
When the cracks give these gases a possible entry into your basement, the air quality in your basement could become a problem for you and your family.
Basement foundation walls that have water leaks can potentially cause a mold infestation in your basement due to the excessive moisture that can soak into the concrete. Mold can slowly spread throughout other areas of your home.
At a glance, mold on your walls is unpleasant to look at and could cause a nasty smell as well. However, the potential health risks and structural risks to your family and home could be a lot more dangerous. Mold not only destroys the material it colonizes on, but it can also adversely change the air quality that in turn could cause illness.
5. Different types of basement foundations require different types of repair for optimal results
- Poured concrete: Poured concrete walls are stable and formed as a solid block of concrete. If you need to repair cracks in this type of structure, an expanding urethane-based sealant can be injected into the cracks to seal them.
- Block, Brick or Stone: Walls made out of these materials are made up of multiple parts patched together with cement or mortar. Repairing cracks in these types of structures is best done from the outside rather than the inside of the basement. A flexible elastomeric membrane is a preferred material for this type of basement foundation crack repair.
6. Epoxy for basement foundation repair
Epoxy is a substance that can be used to fix cracks in poured concrete basement foundation structures. Using epoxy for crack repair may not stop the wall from cracking or leaking again in the future if there is a continued problem with the ground pressure pushing against the walls. However, this could be a quick-fix option until further investigation is done on your foundation.
7. Repairing previously repaired cracks
It is vital that previously repaired cracks are repaired correctly as they are different than a new crack and require additional preparation and knowledge when selecting a method of repair that will be effective.
Taking the time to remove as much of the previous repair medium as possible, and injecting the crack with urethane on the inside of the structure, is a suitable method.
A previously repaired crack can also be corrected from the outside using either the elastomeric membrane or sodium bentonite as the preferred repair medium.
8. Don’t just fix the leaking cracks, fix them all
If you have multiple cracks in your walls but are only seeking crack repair for the ones that are leaking, the other cracks will eventually leak if you don’t fix the source of the accumulated water.
Water follows the path of least resistance and the cracks that weren’t leaking before become the new doorway for the built-up water to escape.
It is more cost-effective to have all your basement foundation crack repairs done at the same time rather than having someone come out multiple times to fix the other cracks as they start to leak.
Basement foundation crack repair is a necessary investment to protect your home and your family from potential problems associated with the cracks. Whether it be structural instability or potential health risks, it is essential to have basement foundation cracks repaired quickly and correctly.
Many problems can be prevented by taking simple precautions while others may require a more complicated approach. If you are experiencing difficulty resolving a foundation, basement, crawlspace or a drainage issue, contact your friends at Family Waterproofing Solutions today (708) 330‑4466.
- What causes cracks in basement floor
- How to pick window well covers
- Why concrete sinks
- Better options than mudjacking
- Spring checklist