Have you taken the time to look for foundation cracks around your basement walls lately? You might be surprised at what you find.
Many Hamilton and Burlington homeowners, especially those with unfinished basements, may never look past the boxes that are stacked up against their foundation or look deep into the corners of their basement.
Even so, it’s a good idea to check out your basement walls once in a while because you just never know when you’re going to find a foundation crack. You might even find that you have a leaky basement – oh no!
And if you find one or two foundation cracks in your basement, what should you do about it?
Well, it all depends on your situation – are you about to sell or finish the basement? Perhaps you’re concerned that crack may get bigger… and then what?
So, you found a crack in your basement wall – great. What do you do now? Fix it right away or take the popular “wait and see” approach? Before you do anything you should consider the different types of basement wall cracks and the type of foundation you have:
Thin Cracks – When you find a crack in the basement wall, get a ruler or tape measure and measure its width. If the crack is less than 1/8” wide, it probably does not represent a structural problem with your foundation BUT it could be a source of seepage into your basement.
Wide Cracks – If the crack measures more than 1/8”, there is a strong possibility that it is compromising the structural integrity of your foundation wall. If you find one of these foundation cracks in your Hamilton home, keep searching because there’s a chance there are more like it and you might want to consider calling an expert (like BasementWorx) to talk about foundation repair.
Cracks That Are Dry – If there is no sign of water in or around the crack that means that it is not seeping – yet. The chance of it spreading and causing a leaky basement is high. Once you have spotted the crack, check it periodically, especially during periods of heavy rain or snowmelt when the soil around your foundation is most saturated.
Damp or Leaking Cracks – Obviously, if the crack is causing a leaky basement, or worse, a totally wet basement, it’s a problem. Both narrow and wide cracks can allow seepage and you should really consider having an expert talk to you about your foundation repair options today.
If the foundation in your home is poured concrete, basement cracks in the wall can run in any direction – up & down, straight across or at an angle. Non-structural cracks are the most common and are usually due to the shrinkage of concrete as it cures. Structural cracks typically show up in pairs typically indicating a sagging foundation.
Concrete block foundations are very common in Hamilton and Burlington homes. Typically, concrete cracks occur in the mortar joints between the block and often follow a “stair step” pattern. Other times you will see a horizontal crack along the same mortar joint indicating a bowed wall. This is a structural concern and you will want to deal with it properly.
These different concrete cracks have one thing in common – they become worse by the lateral pressure exerted on foundation walls when the soil outside the foundation expands when it is saturated with water either from a heavy rainfall or during the spring thaw.
The good thing is that all of these cracks are repairable. Non-structural seeping cracks in poured concrete walls can be permanently repaired using both inside and outside methods. Similar concrete cracks require an outside repair, applying an exterior waterproofing system to the foundation that channels water down to exterior weeping tile.
The repairs indicated by structural cracks go beyond the cracks themselves and sometimes into the soil on which the foundation stands. Most structural cracks can be repaired by applying engineered carbon fiber straps to the wall; severe ones require a more advanced structural repair that will need to be reviewed by an engineer.
So back to the question of should you “fix it now or wait & see?” Only a narrow crack that isn’t seeping falls into the “Wait and See” category.
Some cracks just happen and they never leak or get bigger but they shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you are going to finish the basement. The others mentioned above require foundation repair to avoid a wet basement or even worse, significant structural damage.
When you discover a basement crack in your home after looking behind those stacks of boxes, you’ll want an expert opinion from a professional who knows the difference between a structural and a non-structural crack and how repairing a concrete block foundation differs from fixing a poured concrete one.
H&N Basement Worx has repaired hundreds of cracks in the Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford area…so doesn’t it make sense to ask for our free advice?
If you want to know more about basement cracks in and around Hamilton, please feel free to contact us or call us at 289-880-7988. We’re here to help and fixing your foundation might not be as expensive as you think.