Is your basement cracking up?
Your home, no matter its size, has a number of basic components. The most important of these parts is the foundation. Most of the mechanics of your home are imbedded there and it’s the place you store belongings. You may even have comfortable living and entertaining space in this level of your home. Even if you haven’t finished your basement it is important to keep it dry and sound.
There are a variety of scenarios where you might find there are cracks in your foundation and you have to identify and resolve the problem quickly. You should look for the warning signs that include: visually seeing the cracks, doors and windows that don’t open and close as easily, or problems with your flooring are also be important clues that your foundation is not as solid as it should be.
What might have caused these cracks to appear? Your basement walls or floor may have cracked after a long dry spell. When the soil around your home is dry for extended periods of time, the ground around the base of your home shrinks and creates the perfect conditions for your foundation to shift. When there is rain, moisture now gets between the dried out soil and your foundation where it can put pressure on the concrete that causes it to crack. Too much moisture can also put pressure on the foundation by saturating the soil around your home causing the soil to expand and exert pressure on the walls of your basement. Run-off from your gutters or poor drainage can add more water against your foundation as well. Freezing conditions and spring thaws often bring this problem to light.
If your home is new, it might be poor construction or settling. There may have been some mistakes when the home was built which could lead to having cracks appear in the foundation. If your home is older, it could be as a result of long-term shifting of the soils around your home. Either way, it is important to keep an eye on the integrity of your foundation.
Trees and bushes that are too close to your home’s foundation are also potential sources of cracking concrete foundations. Roots can break through as the trees or bushes grow larger. Your lovely landscaping should be monitored for its potential to turn beauty into a problem.
So now you know why you might have cracks, how do you know if the cracks in your basement are something to worry about? Identifying the kind of crack is your first task. The size and extent of the crack is also a measure of your need to be concerned. Small cracks may be insignificant but expanding cracks can indicate you have a major problem. Let’s have a look at some of the types of cracks you may see in your foundation’s walls or floor.
Step cracks are those that, as the name indicates, look like steps up the side of the wall of your basement. They are likely to run along the edges of cinderblocks and can allow water to ooze into your basement. These cracks should be assessed by a professional before you have a serious problem. Cracks in the cinderblocks themselves are equally worrying.
Horizontal cracks in the walls of your foundation can be a sign that the wall support for your home is at risk. These cracks can be created through winter/spring thaws or from excessive weather situations where rainwater or flooding has put exceptional pressure on the base of your foundation.
Vertical cracks might show that the foundation has shifted and you should have the footing checked. If your home is in need of footing repairs, the cracks will appear on two opposing sides of your foundation walls. One vertical crack could be simply a result of the concrete shrinking as it set. These can be less worrisome but it is important to keep an eye on the extent of the cracking or faults in your foundation.
Repairs to remedy the cracks in your basement include using professional foundation waterproofing specialists such as City Wide Group. The family-owned company has more than 55 years of experience in working with Toronto homeowners to ensure their foundations protect their most valuable asset – their family home. Once the cracks and their sources have been identified, the technicians can recommend the appropriate repair process. Sealing cracks and using materials that are flexible is often the most straightforward solution. Major foundation repairs may seem expensive but can prevent much more structural damage being done to the home. After the repairs, or to prevent the cracks in the first place, exterior waterproofing can be considered to provide you the assurance that your home’s foundation will not crack and let water to wreck your property.
If your home is new, you should check your builder’s warranty. There are various conditions where the builder might be obligated to repair the foundation. Keep in mind, however, they may not use highly qualified foundation waterproofing specialists to conduct those repairs. You may still need to take steps to provide for the long-term waterproofing of your property.
So, what if you descend the stairs and find water pooling on the basement floor? How did it get in? Was a tap left on in the laundry room? Was there a fault in the pipes or drainage? Is it dripping from the floor above? It seems to be seeping in from a crack in the floor or wall of your foundation? You don’t remember seeing that crack before! Homeowners should always conduct regular inspections of their basement’s walls and floors to make sure any problems are caught and fixed early. If you are going to finish your basement to create more living space there, it is highly recommended that you ensure it is waterproofed first.
If you find cracks in your foundation, make sure to call the professionals at City Wide Group to conduct a thorough inspection and make a recommended course of action. The technician will provide you with an estimate and written contract. When the work is complete, not only will you have a solid, dry basement, you will also have a transferable warranty guaranteeing that it will stay that way.