While putting away Christmas decorations in the basement, you see it–there are cracks in the basement wall. Perhaps they’re hidden away in a corner, maybe they’re spidering down from a window, or maybe there are multiple different types of cracks. In any case, cracks in the basement cause most people to jump to bad conclusions or to promptly ignore the issue. In either case, the important thing to do is to find out as much information as possible about the cracks in the basement wall and then go from there. The easiest way to do this is to get a free inspection from Foundation Systems of WV. But, what if you want to start with your own investigation? Let’s learn about some of the types of basement wall cracks.
If you see vertical cracks in the basement wall, it is most likely that the cracks are caused by settlement. This can either be natural settlement that occurs with most all homes, or it can be a more serious type of settlement that can cause a lot of damage to your home. How can you tell the difference between the two? Watch for movement. When you first see the crack, place a piece of blue tape on either side of it and then draw a line with a ruler across both pieces. Check back each day to make sure that the lines are still straight. If they are not (i.e. one has moved up or down), then there is settlement going on that could be more dangerous to your home. If the cracks are smaller than the width of a penny and they do not move they are likely just natural settlement. However, it’s important to get this checked out with a professional contractor who can tell you exactly what’s going on.
Horizontal wall cracks usually mean that the home has bowing walls. Bowing walls are most likely caused by hydrostatic pressure in the soil (water saturated soil pushing against the home foundation) and causing cracks. The horizontal cracks usually mean that the wall is getting ready to begin bowing inwards. Horizontal wall cracks should be addressed as soon as possible. Call a professional contractor and get a free estimate of the issue.
Diagonal cracks in the basement can definitely be cause for concern. Sometimes when you see this type of crack, you might have settlement. With this type of settlement, one area of the home may be lower than another which causes the diagonal cracks. This type of foundation repair may be a little bit more expensive than vertical cracks because the soil may need remediation. Stair step cracks take place on concrete block foundations along the mortar joints. They are usually due to hydrostatic pressure from the soil, as previously mentioned. This type of crack can lead to leaks and water damage in your basement and it should be addressed as soon as possible.
If you see cracks in the basement wall, don’t panic! First, evaluate the situation and then go from there. It’s important to always call a licensed, professional contractor like those at Foundation Systems of West Virginia, to perform an inspection of your home. This will help you determine what you need to do to resolve the issue and how it will fit into your budget. Contact Foundation Systems of West Virginia today to set up a free estimate.