Crack In Basement Wall
Stone seems like it should last forever. It’s hard, it’s hard to move, and the mountains and hills made of stone rise towards the sky year after year, no matter how much the rain falls or how hard the wind blows. Few things are as solid as stone, and that’s why concrete is so important to modern construction. It’s like having stone made to order, ready to fill any shape an architect could want.
However, stone isn’t nearly as indestructible as we’d like. Boulders crack, stone faces crumble, and even mountains and hills wear down eventually. If you’ve ever spent more than a few years in one place, you know that pavement will eventually form cracks and potholes, and if nobody comes in to repave it, the road will eventually fall to pieces and turn into gravel. So if you see a crack in your basement wall, you should keep in mind that it will only get worse if you do nothing about it.
Understanding Foundation Cracks
A crack in a basement wall isn’t necessarily the end of the world, or the end of the foundation’s integrity, but it’s not the sort of thing you should leave for later, either. “A stitch in time saves nine,” as the saying goes, and the longer you leave a crack alone, the faster it’ll expand.
One reason this happens is because of how water works. Every home and building is designed from the ground up to keep water from building up against foundation stones and basement walls, and some of these methods are very clever, but sometimes a window well or a gutter will clog up with debris and stop working correctly. Even when that’s not the issue, you can usually count on a little water running up against a building’s basement walls, and if that water gets into the crack, and if it freezes later, it’ll expand and force the crack open wider.
The Power Of The Earth
Then there’s the fact that dirt slowly moves around on its own. Trees and plants grow, earthworms and other burrowers move around, and soil on hilltops slowly moves down into valleys thanks to rain and gravity. This slow movement can create what’s called lateral earth pressure, and this pressure may be the cause of a given crack in a basement wall. When this happens, the crack will definitely expand over time no matter what the water situation is.
How We Can Help
AA Action Waterproofing and other basement and foundation contractors have a variety of tools and techniques we use to repair cracks and whatever other damage you might be worrying about.
For instance, when a crack in a basement wall is connected to water infiltration, it’s just as important to find out where that water is coming from and fix whatever’s allowing it to build up along your foundation. Once we’ve taken care of that problem, we repair the crack: for poured cement basement walls, this is a simple matter of filling the crack in with additional cement or mortar, while cement block basements do well with an epoxy mixture.
This sort of repair is simple enough that you might be able to do them yourself, although you should make absolutely sure you know what you’re doing, first.
However, some jobs are best left to the professionals. A long horizontal crack in a basement wall may indicate that the wall is buckling from lateral earth pressure, and if the pressure keeps up then the whole house may collapse even if you keep repairing the crack. However, you still have several options available: you can brace the walls from the inside with strips of tough carbon fiber or steel, or you can attach wall anchors to the nearby bedrock. The last option is particularly expensive, but it may be your best bet in extreme circumstances.
If you see a crack in your basement or foundation, and if you live in or near the state of Maryland, you should contact AA Action Waterproofing. Not every crack is worth worrying about, but that’s why we offer a free, no-obligation initial estimate. We’ll let you know what you ought to do and how much our services will cost if you decide to go with us, so feel free to give us a call.