Foundation cracks in the basement – what is worth knowing?

Basement foundation cracks are a serious problem that can lead to serious consequences. Such as landslides, dampness and even destabilization of the entire building. In every building, foundations play an extremely important role, constituting the foundation of the structure.

The basement, as one of the lowest levels of the building, is exposed to significant loads. This makes its foundations particularly susceptible to damage and cracks. In this article, we will provide an introduction to basement foundation cracks, focusing on the causes, symptoms and possible solutions to this problem.

How wide are the foundation cracks?

On a poured foundation, a network of micro-cracks or widely spaced vertical cracks less than 3mm wide usually means that the concrete has shrunk a bit too much during curing. As long as they don’t expand or leak water, they can usually be left alone. Cracks that are 1/8 inch wide (approximately 3mm) or larger deserve a closer look.

What is the orientation of the cracks?

Vertical cracks indicate that the soil is exerting enough pressure on the wall to cause it to bulge inwards. They are often accompanied by diagonal cracks in poured foundations or stepped cracks in block foundations. Diagonal or stepped cracks may indicate that the top of the foundation bulges inwards. This is because it is not properly connected to the structure of the house, or because the footings settle unevenly. Any of these cracks may signal the need for major structural repairs. In this case, it is worth calling a structural engineer who will determine the cause and recommend professional repair.

Is water getting in through the cracks in the foundations?

foundation cracks

It is recommended to seal stable but leaking cracks in poured foundations with epoxy. Polyurethane foam is then injected along the entire length of the crack. For block walls facing out, they excavate the existing soil, add aggregate to improve drainage, and slope the ground away from the foundation by at least 10 feet (about 3 meters). Both approaches should be carried out by a basement waterproofing specialist.

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