Basement cracks can be very disturbing to look at. They can seem like a major flaw in your overall design, or even a hint of a larger problem that should have been taken care of long before. Unfortunately, many people do not know much about basement leaks until it is too late to fix them properly. Basement cracking, especially if accompanied by mildew smells, may mean that there is a larger issue at work.
Basement cracks can be caused by soil shifting, which can result in foundation cracks and further soil movement. Before you think about patching your basement, reach out to your local home inspector and have him or her to examine your basement for any signs of structural damage. If left unchecked, these cracks can mean your walls, floor, or foundation is deteriorating, which means that soil moving along with it is compromising your home’s structural integrity. Often, basement cracks are signs of a much larger problem, which means that your home is unstable and foundation problems may be in your immediate future.
There are many things that contribute to basement cracks, including natural causes such as earthquakes, subsidence, soil movement, groundwater pressure, or even tree roots. While these things cannot always be prevented, you can help prevent weakening of your basement walls by following a few simple tips. First of all, keep your basement dry. Any excess moisture, especially around the baseboards, must be removed and directed away from your home.
Another way to prevent basement cracks from occurring is by preventing soil from shifting. As soon as you notice any signs of movement in your basement walls, such as cracks, contact a local home improvement contractor to get your basement walls back into shape. Any groundwater pressure from your surrounding area should also be assessed and repaired as soon as possible. Finally, keep your basement walls and roof in good condition by cleaning, inspecting, and repairing all cracks on a regular basis.
There are some very common types of basement cracks that homeowners tend to ignore. These include pocket holes, crack in the concrete, “sink holes” (also called leaker dams), and wet bars. Pocket holes are the most common of these problems, since they often occur when drainage mechanisms are compromised or weak. A pocket hole can be very small or quite large, causing your basement to dampen air circulation around the area. A small pocket hole won’t usually cause significant problems unless there is no exterior access to the area, but if there is, then it could lead to water damage that could weaken the walls.
Cracks in the concrete are another common type of basement cracks, usually caused by improper waterproofing methods. These problems are typically caused by insufficient joint reinforcement, or poor construction techniques. When soil pressure is high, the concrete will often break away from the walls, creating an access hole through which water can seep in. If you have cracked or missing concrete around your foundation, then it’s important to repair them as soon as possible. If the damage is inside the concrete, however, it can usually be fixed with the help of a professional foundation repair company.
Wet bars are another very common type of basement cracks. Although basement walls do provide some protection from the ground, they don’t waterproof the interior completely and you’re likely to run into issues with condensation all the time. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can just fix on your own, especially if you want to avoid the expense of hiring a professional foundation repair contractor. While it’s possible for you to fill in wet bars with mortar using a paver, this option is extremely messy and time-consuming, not to mention expensive. If you have a crack in the basement walls, then using mortar is not an option. Instead, you need to hire a professional foundation repair service to fix your basement walls.
The final type of basement cracks is what are called sagging walls. Landlords often use these when they are renovating a house and there is no way to add new drywall. Unfortunately, sagging walls aren’t always the fault of the building company you have hired. Sometimes the problem comes from settling of the soil over time. In this case, the only real option is to remove the part of the wall that is sagging and replace it with new drywall. Your best bet is to talk to a reputable building company to discuss your options.