A crack in your basement walls or floors is never a good sign. Obviously, it’s always a signal of damage to your lower level, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a trigger for expensive and obtrusive repairs.
That’s why it’s important to differentiate between serious and not so serious basement cracks. There are cracks that need major repair, there are cracks that indicate your foundation is in trouble, there are cracks that mean you have a moisture problem, and there are cracks that might not be serious at all. Here’s what your basement cracks might be telling you about what’s going on around your foundation:
- Cracks on the interior walls are often the first indication of foundation damage. Sometimes these signs may go unnoticed because usually changes occur slowly. When in doubt, call an expert to assess your home’s foundation.
- Horizontal cracks on the basement walls are usually caused by pressure against the sides of the walls. That often means water pressure pushing on the foundation.
- Vertical cracks in a foundation wall are most often caused by the shrinking of concrete as it cures. They are usually less damaging than horizontal cracks, but they may indicate damage from a settling foundation.
- A stair step crack – one the proceeds both horizontally and vertically in a step pattern – is a serious problem: It’s a sign that your wall is pulling apart from itself in all four directions and needs to be stabilized accordingly.
- A crack in the floor slab is a common way for water to enter a basement or crawlspace. Most commonly, this crack is actually a joint of two pieces of concrete that have dried at different rates/times, called a cold joint. While cold joints are standard in the building process, there could also be water coming up through the basement floor through a different kind of crack in the concrete. Due to the way in which water behaves, finding the path of the least resistance, sometimes the path water finds is into your home through a crack in the floor slab.
- A separation may develop in your basement or crawlspace where the floor meets the wall (an area called the cove). In the most general terms, here’s what’s happening: water is collecting on the outside of your home – either next to your foundation, or below it. As the water continues to collect in a finite space, the pressure of the water will build. This will enable the water to find the path of the least resistance to reduce the pressure. Sometimes, the path of the least resistance is into your home, resulting in water seepage in your basement floor or wall.
Some of these problems require simple fixes; others are the sign of serious problems. BDry can help you figure out which is which. We are always available for a free, no-obligation consultation. Give us a call and let us help you get your basement back in pristine order – no matter what the remedy is.