Since your basement is below the ground, it's prone to dampness and water leaking in from the outside. Several things can cause wet basement problems from poor drainage around the house to cracks in the foundation. Many times, cracks may seem serious, but they're not a danger to the structure of your house. Still, they can be problems when they let water leak into the basement. Here are some tips for dealing with cracks in the foundation and how they're repaired.
What To Do When You See Foundation Cracks
It's best to bring in a professional to look at the cracks to determine if they are structural in nature. Structural cracks indicate the need for foundation repairs. Non-structural cracks just need to be filled to keep water out. A contractor can tell by the location of the cracks and their size if the cracks are a danger to your home. Non-structural cracks tend to be narrow cracks that run down the walls of your basement. These form due to the pressure of the soil against the walls and that pressure is what drives water into the basement when the soil is saturated after a rain.
Structural cracks are usually bigger, and they may be uneven. This can happen after a sudden shift in the soil underneath the house. These cracks may not leak water, and filling the cracks does not fix the problem. Instead, the contractor will recommend foundation repairs.
How Non-Structural Cracks Are Repaired
Repairing leaky non-structural cracks is easy to do. The contractor uses a filler that is pushed into the crack. The filler expands once it's in place, so it moves through the crack to the other side. Then it hardens in place so water can't get through the crack. In addition to sealing up these types of cracks in your concrete, the contractor can also seal up gaps around pipes and the window frame so no water can seep in through the walls of the foundation.
It can be troubling to see cracks in your basement wall, but they aren't always serious, and it is common to see cracks as your home ages, and the house settles. The important thing is to determine if the cracks indicate structural damage or not. If they are only a source of water seepage, then filling in the cracks is one of the easier and less expensive forms of basement waterproofing you might have to do.
While filling the cracks is a permanent repair, it's always possible your home will develop new cracks as it continues to age. If you want to dry out the basement to turn it into living space, then talk to your contractor about the need to install a drain system or other form of basement waterproofing to prevent problems in the future when your renovation is complete.
For more information, contact a company like The Dwyer Company.