There are numerous kinds of basement cracks, which can be caused by a number of things. Some of those cracks might be purely aesthetic, and only be of minor concern to your house’s structural integrity. Others might be much dire, and should be of much concern to anybody that spends any time in their basement. Basement walls take on considerably more stress when they are constantly being pushed and pulled, but a cracked wall is the surest sign that your foundation is under some strain. Fortunately, there are some really easy methods of detecting problems with basement walls. If you’re suffering from basement leaks, cracks, or other basement foundation problems, this article will show you how to quickly find the problem, which will help save you a lot of money in the long run.
Basement cracks may appear anywhere on your basement walls, but they are most common around your foundation footer drain. The cause of this is almost always soil expansion. Foundation footer drains gradually become clogged with compacted soil, causing them to become full of air pockets, which in turn cause them to expand. This expansion is what leads to basement leaks and cracks. You can tell if your foundation drain is clogged by looking at where it meets your house. Any cracks that occur in the footer drain will almost certainly be traced back to soil movement within the house.
A very common cause of basement wall cracks is vertical displacement. Basically this means that you are walking on a crack. This kind of crack usually has two dimensions: a horizontal crack width and a vertical crack length. Knowing the vertical displacement of a particular crack can often save you quite a bit of money because you can easily buy replacement windows or doors with the same size and shape.
Many people try to solve leaking cracks with simple caulking. While this does help, especially when the crack has a few bends, it is not a long term solution because it does not address the root cause of the problem. If the drainage is poor in your home, the soil may simply move too quickly through the cracks in your foundation. This can easily happen if your house has drainage problems, or if the drainage is poorly maintained in other parts of your house. In these situations you may need to hire a contractor for basement repair who can make a customized solution to your problems.
Basement cracks that are caused by soil movement are often a bit more difficult to repair. For these situations you will most likely need a specialized basement repair contractor. One of the first things they will do is take a complete soil sample and map out any possible places where soil can break loose. Once they have determined where the potential cracking is, they will likely need to cut out or shave down portions of the concrete floor to get to the area where the crack is. This type of repair is known as shrinkage repair.
Another problem basement owners face is settling. This is another situation that can be very complex and expensive if left untreated. Basically when water gets into cracks it starts to expand until the whole area starts to collapse in on itself. In order to avoid this happening, homeowners need to take several steps to stop water from getting into the basement floor and causing foundation problems. One option that can be used is to take action to control the settling of the ground around the house.
One of the easiest ways to deal with soil and groundwater settling is to install a new reinforced concrete slab around the house. In many cases, this is all it takes to cure basement cracks types that cannot be fixed with simple caulking or stapling. In cases where settling is not caused by soil or groundwater pressure, a stair-step cracks reinforcement system can be installed. These stair-stepping systems are essentially non-rigid polyethylene struts that will expand to accommodate expansion and contraction as the earth settle.
Homeowners need to keep in mind that the foundation is typically the foundation that causes the most problems for the home. Basements are the place where most houses suffer from settling that ends up affecting both the interior and exterior of the house. For this reason, basement floors need to be carefully maintained. A good way to make sure that your basement floor is kept in shape is to follow a few simple steps. First, if you notice that there are any cracks in the floor, fix them before they become bigger. Second, use a sealant to protect your concrete from eventual cracking and to minimize cracking damage to walls and other surfaces.