The Causes Of Basement Wall Cracks & Cost-Effective Ways To Repair Your Basement Walls

by | Jan 28, 2021 | Basement Wall Stabilization

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The Causes Of Basement Wall Cracks & Cost-Effective Ways To Repair Your Basement Walls

The reality of every situation dealing with the foundation of any building still remains, “Nothing can stand without a sure foundation!”  Basement wall cracks are the first sign of your foundation walls becoming compromised. Regardless of your wall’s composition, concrete block, poured concrete, brick, tile or pre-formed concrete walls, structural change is absolutely taking place when cracks or bowing occur.

You can view various Basement Wall Photos of Basement Wall de-Stabilization causes on our Basement De-Watering Website Here.

Those owners that choose to leave their basement wall cracks untouched simply risk even more extensive costs in recovering the stability of their foundation in the future. Left unattended for too long and owners face the costs of possibly replacing the entire wall that is presently showing the building’s deterioration.  Note; Like every repair on your business or home, the longer you wait, the more expensive it usually is. Call us for a Free Estimate and you might be very amazed how inexpensive basement wall stabilization repairs can be.

Best to make everyone aware, and tell the absolute truth upfront. Regardless of the type and severity of your wall cracks, (see illustrations & examples here), eventually in short order these cracks will get worse. Due to the nature of the basement wall cracks and reasons for occurrence, they will not remain the same. The cracks will get worse. The simple nature of the expansion and contraction of the soil along with varying temperatures cause movement in the soil and your basement walls. Also, once cracks are formed, moisture has a sure path to the interior of your basement. Should this expansion occur in winter with the moisture filling these cracks, expect rapid enlargement of the cracks.

What are some of the reasons or causes for basement walls cracking?

Soil Composition

Soil Composition is the various structures of the soil itself. Plus, the soil’s ability to support the structure through various temperate transitions it will experience from the surrounding terrain and climate. Proper testing should always be considered before designing a proper foundation for any structures. Many states actually require soil testing before build-outs. Most require a solid core examination before excavation can begin.

Soil Re-Constitution

Soil Re-Constitution is probably one of the single greatest causes for poor foundational structural integrity where basements, tri-levels or submerged crawl-spaces are the basis of the dwelling’s foundation for construction. Simply put, after core samples and determination of the proper foundation design is engineered before excavations, foresight needs to be used to properly return the soil to its original layered and compacted composition after excavations. What? Actually, it is very easy when dealing with virgin soil composition vs. fill soil. To begin, actually backpile excavated soil by composition type.

Then, when backfilling after your structure is excavated, re-install the soil in the appropriate original layers for the correct percolating capacity of the soil. Dependent on the structure’s location and soil types, hard-pan or grayed clay is at the base, followed by yellow or red clay, then sub-soil and then top soil. Water then percolates properly through the soil surrounding the structure and does not rush down to the foundation as when unproperly backfilled. Remember, water always seeks the area of least resistance. So, backfill those excavations correctly.

Unprepared Stress Points

An extremely frequent cause of cracks in a poured concrete wall construction are unprepared stress points. The best way to understand and realize the impact is to think of your basement wall as a dam. Instead of pure water only, your structure’s basement walls hold back soil pressure, ground-movement, water pressure and worst of all water-saturated soil pressure. (Not to mention small earth tremors.)

So, what are unprepared poured concrete wall Stress points?  Well, most commonly they are unprepared entrances that need to be made after the concrete wall has been poured or blocks have been laid.. Wall entrances such as gas lines, plumbing lines, underground electrical lines, and the list goes on and on. Entrances that could have been easily prepared for, … before the concrete pour was made or blocks were laid.  Even windows and doors for ingress-exgress in basement walls should be readily pre-prepared before the basement wall construction. Hence the basement wall/dam, has been drilled or holes cut into it, that cannot hold back the various pressures on the wall’s exterior, and overtime the cracks begin at these exact stress points. We see cracks all the time in window well corners, door cut-ins, and especially where holes were drilled in the wall allowing some type of service entrance.

The good news is that if addressed quickly and properly through crack injection and/or carbon fiber straps, these starting cracks can be stabilized very quickly and inexpensively. You will see we say the following frequently. “Only allow Certified Professionals who have years of experience to deal with your basement wall cracks, foundation issues or other basement structural issues”. BDWS has seen way too many costly mistakes made by DIYers, and the local handyman who purchased an over-the-counter fix-it kit. Improperly addressed basement wall cracks will only expand more rapidly.

Rhino Carbon Fiber Straps for Cracks

Improper Foundation Preparation

This can be a very long list. Rest assured after over forty years of reviewing, estimating and repairing well over 10,000 basements, and crawl-spaces for water damage, basement wall repairs, and foundation repairs, we understand a multitude of situations and reliable cost-effective solutions to remedy all of your basement’s structural situations.

Probably the single source of the majority of basement wall cracks and repairs outside of poor construction is improper drainage from hydrostatic pressure on the interior and exterior of the basement foundation, walls and sub-structure. Thankfully, the remedies we offer to resolve these situations are numerous and not as expensive as most owners think.

Lack of Proper Foundation Drainage Systems

As we stated above, proper foundation drainage is not an after-thought in new construction. But if it was, Basement De-Watering Systems offers multiple products to permanently resolve these previously persistent issues. Regardless of the age of your dwelling or building’s basement structure, inclusive of the severity of a basement’s wall cracks, there are cost-effective products that can simply and easily correct your alarming situation. From the addition of sump pumps to installing additional drain tile, proven remedies can be installed in short-order to resolve your situation(s).

Improper Basement Wall Materials & Basement Wall Construction

First and foremost, all structures should be constructed according to local building codes based on age-old construction and engineering techniques. That said, all materials and products used in the structure should also be of the best possible quality. Inclusive of poured concrete, concrete blocks, hardened brick or ceramic tile.

Structures that were built with the proper materials and utilized the best possible building code practices, in general usually require the least in foundational repairs. Effective facts on the proper practices for building a basement or crawl-space structure can be found at most cities building codes offices. Here are some Quick Foundation Construction Tips Courtesy of Concrete Foundation of North America.

Excessive Soil Saturation

Central Illinois is no stranger to Excessive Soil Saturation. 2019 was no exception. At last glance, the Spring of 2019 was recorded the 5th wettest in history for the Basement De-Watering System’s Service Area. In turn, homeowner’s and business owners throughout the region reported more basement water seepage and the appearance of an abundance of basement wall cracks needing repairs.

As the soil expands with the addition of excessive water, it simply adds more and more pressure on the exterior basement walls. This exterior pressure will eventually find the weakest point in your basement or crawl-space wall. Once it finds that point, a crack usually begins to form. In many instances, those cracks will seep water into the interior of the basement. Left unattended, these cracks will eventually expand and cause further damage to your structure’s foundation. BDWS offers our proven epoxies for Basement Wall Cracks. By proven, we mean over forty-years of continuous application with resounding success.

Excessive Soil Run-Off

Commonly the exterior Basement Walls do not have an adequate exterior soil slope for proper water run-off away from the foundation walls. Hence, water stands next to the basement or crawlspace walls and causes excessive pressure on the walls. Regardless if block, poured concrete or brick walls, this constant exposure to moisture over a period of time will break-down the integrity of foundation walls. Resulting in cracks, spalling or in general deterioration of the foundation’s ability to properly stabilize your structure. In addition to the proper sloping or grade of the foundation soil, your surrounding foundation exterior landscaping needs to disperse such rains away from the foundation. Thus avoiding ponding so your wall stabilization remains dry for the most part.

Insufficient Soil Moisture

Unlikely as it seems, severe deprivation of moisture surrounding a structure’s basement wall can cause extreme settling in the foundation and lead to basement wall crack’s overnight. Many homeowners are advised to soak the soil around their homes during long-lasting droughts. In some drought cases, you will actually see the soil contracting away from the basement walls further causing greater pressures to produce wall cracks. It is said after a pro-longed drought, that basement walls can actually be heard to blast a boom and create shaking when the basement walls crack all at once under extreme pressures.

Tell Tale Signs of Basement Wall Cracks

Most owners usually notice the first basement wall foundation deterioration in first or second floor door jambs. Doors suddenly do not close properly or sometimes catch on the door trim.  In severe cases the door latch does not catch the strike properly and lock. Others mention windows not closing as easily. In the most severe cases where basement foundation walls start bowing or settling is rapidly occurring, the floor levels will actually change. Most of these changes are gradual, so do occasionally inspect your basement walls if possible. Remember, most of the techniques and products that BDWS uses can be applied even in finished basements.

By now you can understand the severity that basement wall deterioration can cause on any structure. Most owners also start to worry about the cost and extensiveness of the repairs needed to remedy and stabilize their basement walls. Equally you can also understand the imperativeness of expediency in addressing these destabilizing issues in your structure.

Expertise is Needed for Basement Wall Stabilization

That said, this is not a situation where you call the local handyman. Expertise has to be gained to assuredly resolve your basement foundation in a permanent and cost-effective manner. Over the last forty years, Basement De-Watering Systems has seen every type of wall crack or foundation repair imaginable. If experienced professionals are not used properly in determining the correct actions needed, further structural deterioration can happen quickly.

As with all estimates in establishing the correct method, product actions and costs to ensure success, the knowledge gained through years of countless projects is invaluable. The Basement De-Watering Systems Lead Estimators have over 30 Years of experience each under their belts. Rest assured you are working with not only some of the best expertise in Central Illinois, but also the best of products and professional applications.

Consider the Products Basement De-Watering Systems Use

Rhino Carbon Fiber Straps

When choosing a contractor to resolve your unwanted basement wall cracks or structural settling, it is imperative to use the precise products needed to permanently resolve your structures situation. Basement De-Watering Systems proudly uses what is considered the Best Possible Carbon-Fiber Wall Anchors on the market. These Wall Straps offer a resounding solution to a dire structural problem at a very affordable price.

Plus, BDWS’s Wall Crack Injection Techniques will resolve further crack deterioration and possible water seepage. Visit the BDWS Basement Wall Stabilization Webpage to read more here.

Need more info, … call today for a Free No-Obligaion Estimate. If BDWS cannot assist you, we will know someone who can. 1.800.331.2943