If you have a wet basement or a basement wall leaking water, basement cracks must be addressed. But the problems could potentially run a lot deeper than just mildew and even flooding – these leaks could be a symptom of damage to the foundation of your home.
When the soil beneath a house’s foundation settles, it sometimes causes the foundation itself to shift. If too much movement occurs, the concrete cracks or bows. These foundation cracks can lead to water entering into the structure. If the damage is significant, it can jeopardize the structural integrity of your home and put you and your family at risk.
Your foundation can also be damaged by drought conditions, tree roots, and leaky exterior pipes.
If you have a basement wall leaking water or moisture buildup inside your house, it’s imperative you have an expert assess the damage. Complete the form to right and one of our foundation leak repair experts will determine whether foundation damage in your home is to blame for basement leaks.
Bowing Basement Walls
Going beyond the actual integrity of the construction, the most important factor in the stability of a house foundation is the soil and earth around it.
For example, many soils are rich in clay which can contract and expand depending on the amount of moisture in it. When clay is saturated with water it expands and consequently weakens the soil making it more ‘elastic’. Backfilled soil is another type of soils that can cause movement in the foundations of a house. If not compacted in the right way, it too can be weak and allow the foundation of a house to move.
Another main cause of structural movement in a building is the presence of large foliage in the surrounding area. A mature tree, for example, can take in as much as 30 gallons of water in a solitary day. This drains the moisture of the soil nearby and can lead to reduced strength in the neighboring dry soil.
Conversely, bad drainage in the surrounding area of a house can have the opposite effect. As moisture builds up in the soil it becomes heavier and therefore put extra pressure on the walls. Then when the soils dries out it pulls away again.
These forces push and pull at the basement walls and over time caused them to change their shape. This is where the bowing occurs. An early sign of bowing walls are cracks in the surface. If you do see these it’s worth getting someone out to look at the overall structure. This is not a do it yourself job and you should contact a foundation repair contractor to come out and give you a free quote and assess the extent of the damage.
Cracks in Bricks
Cracks in brick walls around your house exterior are unsightly, but worse, they can be early warning signs of serious structural damage to your home. Stair Step Crack.
As your home ages, the soil underneath its foundation can settle and shift. This causes the foundation itself to move, as well. Too much movement; whether due to expanding/contracting soil, weather events, or poor drainage; can cause the foundation to crack, putting the structural integrity of your house at risk. But, if your home’s exterior is made of brick, you’re likely to see brick cracks around your home before any major structural damage becomes apparent. Don’t make the mistake many homeowners make in ignoring these early warning signs and dismissing them as cosmetic issues. Foundation damage may be the cause of brick cracks, and needs to be addressed.
It’s important for homeowners to be proactive in addressing cracks in exterior brick by bringing in a foundation repair expert to evaluate their home’s foundation.
Interior Wall Cracks
Interior wall cracks usually appear if the foundation of the house starts settling. There are several reasons, which can create this situation. When the house is constructed, factors such as compression stress, soil shrinkage, slippage, concrete shrinkage are considered. As these changes are minor, the variations are not very obvious. The major changes appear during settling of the house, which results in serious, potentially dangerous cracks.
The chimney is typically the heaviest part of your house. When soil problems occur, it is usually the chimney that shows the first effects of the shift. Leaning ChimneyWhen it submerges, it starts to arc away from the structure. This effect, known as ‘settling’ can have other consequences, not least of which is a sharp drop in the value of the structure.
These signs are ominous and once they start, the problem usually continues to worsen. As soon as you see any sort of deterioration in the chimney, it’s best to get it sorted out. You can easily get a free quote for the repair of the structure.
Sticking Windows and Doors
Some people will notice that their windows are cracking along the caulking area. There may be splits or cracks that are growing in size. While they may begin small, over a short time they may quickly spread. Cracks and gaps along the frame could be an indication of a problem with the house. Cracking around the brick close to a window may also cause the windows to get stuck.
A door that will not close properly and needs a further push could indicate issues with the home. Some doors will get stuck while trying to open it or may have a hard time closing and small cracks, openings or gaps around the border of the frame could indicate a separation.
Gaps in any of the doors and windows could be from shifts in the home and early indicators that the foundation is changing and being moved around. Homeowners should inspect their house once a year to check for any signs of a deeper issue. Catching things early and getting the work done is the best way to ensure that the trouble remains small and that it gets done when it should.
Information provided by CHANCE® Foundation Solutions