When your basement is frequently wet or damp, it can lead to even more serious problems with mold and bad odors in your house. Different things can cause your basement to have moisture problems, but a common reason is cracks in the foundation. Finding a crack in your basement wall can be frightening, but not all cracks are structurally dangerous. However, a crack can allow water and even bugs to get inside your basement. Here's how to fix the problem.
Identify The Type Of Crack
Cracks form in foundation walls for a few reasons. It could be due to shrinking of the concrete as it ages or it could be due to frost heaving or soil shifting under your house. Cracks caused by shrinking are usually small. The ones caused by heaving and settling are often larger and run on a diagonal or stair-step pattern. As long as the cracks are small, they may not affect the stability of your home and can be repaired to stop the water leak. Large cracks might indicate structural damage. The first thing your contractor will determine is the type of crack and if it indicates structural damage to your home. This helps decide the best way to begin repairs.
Seal The Crack To Stop Leaking
In some cases, it is appropriate to repair the cracks by injecting a filler that closes the gap. This work can be done inside the basement and it is a quick repair. The filler plugs the crack so water can't leak through and it also helps stabilize the crack so it won't spread. Different materials can be used to fill a crack in a foundation wall. Your contractor will choose one based on factors such as the size of the crack and whether the concrete is wet or dry.
Cover The Crack On The Outside
If sealing the crack isn't appropriate or if it isn't enough on its own, your contractor may recommend excavating the wall of your foundation and applying a waterproof membrane to the exterior wall. This blocks water from seeping through the crack. This could be the best option if the crack on the inside is in a place that can't be reached easily, such as behind a finished wall. Repairing a crack this way takes much longer since weather conditions must be considered, permits obtained, and underground utilities marked.
If it's determined the cracks are a structural problem, the first step is to repair the damage to the foundation which might require bracing or adding other forms of support. Once that's done, the cracks can be filled or covered to stop water leaks. Contact a basement waterproofing company for help.