Cracks in basement walls or floor, when to worry
Basement Wall or Floor Cracks
It is interesting to know that cracks in basement walls or floors are rather common in many households. Very often, they do not imply that homeowners will come across any disastrous problem soon. Though, when these basement cracks start leaking, they can cause immense flooding in the basement, and any crack of such kind can become a devastating issue that needs immediate attention.
If you notice that the crack in the wall, especially, if it is made of a cinder block, consider the possibility of its becoming larger and larger. Now, the excess water can easily penetrate into the basement. In some cases, the cracks may become so large that the wall is actually divided into two pieces. Then, you can expect the shift of the walls and further opening of such a crack due to hydrostatic pressure pushing it apart. In such an event, the problem becomes too severe to be fixed with any patching. To learn more, read: Cracks In Basement Walls When To Worry.
Finding and Monitoring Basement Wall or Floor Cracks
Many homeowners do not think about the possible blow-up problem and completely ignore considering it until the basement wall cracks become large and dangerous. Most often, such fractures appear and develop very fast at pipe entrances, tie rods, or window junctures. They may also emerge in the flat and wide spans of the open wall. Splits can also start their formation in pour lines, service outlets, and/or corners.
Basement Rips and Cracks Going Vertically
As for vertical cracks, they develop in the concrete and they are almost unavoidable. When the fresh concrete is left to cure for some time, the material shrinks and tiny defects are always formed. So, the vertical gaps can be found in concrete walls of any age. Such minor rips do not influence the structure of the wall – they are even impossible to observe.
However, even the tiniest blow-ups can allow excess water to enter the basement. It happens when the exterior waterproofing is lacking or when it is rough and not flexible at all. If you notice the seeping water from the wall fractures of such kind, ask a reliable contractor in charge of basement waterproofing to have a thorough look at the leakage and give some advice. If the gap in the concrete is not larger, it can be repaired with a sealer injection, so that the moisture cannot infiltrate inside. The width of such basement wall cracks can be up to 1/16 of the hairline. The width of larger splits in the walls can reach 1/8 or even be larger. In this case, you will need a more thorough review and more complicated measures to be taken. They may be a result of the excess pressure or distress and should be considered and treated properly.
Rips and Cracks Going Diagonally
The widely spread diagonal cracks in basement walls are of different types. The most frequently encountered type means that the blow-up appears at the top and then runs downward diagonally to the bottom corner. The inner distortion of the upper part of the wall is also observed. The factors leading to these defects vary. They involve the excess ground that makes up the additional pressure, or it has been a mistake in the connection (for example, anchor bolts can be missing) so that the connection of the first-floor framing and the lower wall becomes loose.
Many fractures are caused by the settling of the foundation. They appear in any part of the surface. They look larger at the top and smaller at their bottom.
There is one more frequently encountered type of diagonal fractures. Such gaps appear at the frame of the door or, more often, at the corners of the window structure. The most important factor to think about when looking for the cause of such damage is the concrete shrinking while it dries out. The phenomenon is quite similar to what is happening when a vertical rip appears.
If you desire to learn more about other types of diagonal fractures and ways of their repair, click here.
Rips and Cracks Going Horizontally
When speaking about the horizontal cracks, they can be small and hairline-like, and they are usually formed in the plaster because of its shrinkage. Mostly, they are minor by nature and do not lead to anything more serious. However, there are some fractures that can develop and cause more serious outcomes. A considerate building inspection is needed in such cases to identify the seriousness of the wall blow-up. More severe cracks are usually a result of the excess soil pressure applied to the concrete block foundation walls. Occasionally, horizontal rips can be caused by bad construction work while building the wall. This, in turn, leads to load-bearing issues that can produce such defects. This is an immense safety concern, so addressing it to experts for a good piece of advice is a must.
Rips and Cracks in the Floor of the Foundation
Even minor rips on the foundation floor can start leaking. You are likely to expect devastating flooding from them in the nearest future. Such gaps in the floor will also let the radon penetrate into your house, and this gas substance is rather harmful to health. Read more about it by clicking here…
Are Fractured Basement Walls Serious?
Even the most experienced experts cannot judge about the seriousness of your crack problem without a thorough examination. Only after estimating the severity of the issue, they can make up an adequate cost estimate of the damage remediation and a consistent working plan. That is why it is so important to start considering the cracks and monitoring their development as soon as they have appeared.
Remember that some factors, such as crack direction, location, and development pace, should be considered first of all since they indicate how serious the problem is. That is why it is recommended to take photos and make some measurements of the gap in the wall as soon as you have detected it. In this case, it will be easier for you and, in a while, for qualified construction inspectors, to track the progress of the crack, its development, and possible outcomes over time.
Do not forget that some types of basement wall cracks can become very dangerous for you, your family, and the entire household. If you have noticed such signs as popping nails, twisting, and screws coming out onto the surface as well as bowing or leaning of the whole construction, you may expect the complete wall destruction. So, treat these signs as a severe emergency and trust the problem to professionals instantly.
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