Cracks in concrete basement walls – both poured walls and block walls – can mean different things. Cracks in basement walls can be categorized into two groups: a) Short, Horizontal and Vertical cracks 1/16” or less in width; and b) Diagonal and Horizontal cracks greater than 1/16” wide.
Most short, narrow (less than 1/16”) horizontal and vertical cracks that occur in a poured concrete wall are the result of a fast cure of the concrete due to weather conditions when poured. These short, narrow cracks can also be caused by a temporary overloading of the foundation wall from human activity, heavy snows or an earthquake.
Other, more pronounced, wider diagonal and horizontal cracks are the result of foundation settlement. The foundation settlement is due to weak or eroded soils, or extreme hydrostatic pressures generated from saturated, expansive soils. The hydrostatic pressure exerts tremendous forces against the foundation walls, causing the cracks.
Do I Need to Fix This?
Yes, small untreated cracks can allow water and insects into your home…you don’t want that. Further, wider cracks indicate a more serious issue caused by foundation settlement and/or hydrostatic pressure. Substantial cracks indicate a potentially compromised foundation that can easily lead to additional foundation damage and severe problems like large drywall cracking and separation, doors and windows that don’t open or close, uneven and cracked floors, and more.
Narrow cracks can be treated and permanently repaired by our crack repair specialists before they worsen. We utilize various epoxy compounds designed for the specific sized crack in your wall to seal off the potential entry point. The epoxy will keep out water and insects, and restore the structural integrity of your wall.
The wider, diagonal cracks or horizontal cracks in the wall that are more serious can be stabilized and possibly reversed using the Grip-Tite Push Pier System or Grip-Tite Helical Pile System which will provide a strong, stable support system resting upon a strong soil stratum far below the problem area. The horizontal, shear-type cracks can be stabilized and sometimes corrected utilizing the Grip-Tite Wall Anchor System which provides an anchor that can withstand the lateral forces against the wall by anchoring far away from the affected area and creating a stable, soil wedge with a soil anchor engineered to overcome the forces against the wall.
There are cases where the cracks in the wall have caused damaged to the point that the wall cannot be repaired. When too much of the wall’s integrity has been lost, the wall will need to be replaced. In those cases, we will replace the affected and compromised wall completely. In these situations, we will excavate the soil around the compromised wall, brace the above and surrounding structure to prevent additional damage, remove the existing wall, and replace with a robust wall to carry the above and surrounding structure load.