Homeownership involves learning a lot about things like air conditioning maintenance, changing filters, yard maintenance, and basement repairs. Basement wall repair is a subject all homeowners should be familiar with since they are a vital part of the foundation of your home. Basement walls work to support your home’s structure and keep moisture out which ensures a dry environment inside your home.
While basement walls serve a vital role in the integrity of your home, concrete is a porous material and will absorb moisture from the environment. This means that if the soil around your foundation is water-saturated, the hydrostatic pressure will push moisture into basement walls via cracks and joints, If cracks are present throughout the foundation, you’ll end up with a wet or damp basement. This creates an ideal environment for mold growth and if it gets bad enough it could damage both carpets and furniture.
How to identify if a crack is “normal” or a sign of structural damage:
Not all basement wall cracks indicate structural damage. There are three main causes of cracks in your foundation: shrinkage, settling & shifting.
Shrinkage is caused when the concrete for your foundation dries too fast. The quick drying time causes the concrete to shrink, and hairline cracks are the result. You will typically notice shrinkage long after your house is built.
Settling occurs when the ground below the foundation compresses under the weight of the foundation concrete. These cracks are a direct result of settling the amount of ground compression. If the ground under the basement foundation only compresses for a short time, the cracks are generally minor. But if the ground continues to settle, the cracks will continue to grow and will need to be fixed.
Shifting is when the ground under the foundation shifts. This is actually the most common cause of basement foundation crack. As with settling, if the movement continues, the cracks will get worse.
Repairing a basement wall
When it comes to basement wall repair, there’s no cookie cutter solution. While hairline cracks that aren’t growing in size can probably be fixed by the homeowner, larger cracks, or basement walls that are leaning or bulging, are jobs for an experienced foundation repair specialist.
The good news is that most basement wall cracks aren’t caused by structural damage. However, that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. Basement wall cracks can allow both water and radon gas to enter your home. So, they should be filled. While it’s certainly possible to repair small basement wall cracks – the kind that have been caused by normal settling – larger cracks definitely need to be inspected by a professional to make sure they haven’t been caused by structural damage. BDB Waterproofing foundation repair contractors are professionals and highly trained in basement wall crack repairs and foundation crack repair. Cracks should be addressed before water starts seeping in through them, or they grow into a serious problem.