The basement wall is one of the most important structures of every home and building.
It supports part of the weight of the home, protects against water damage, and works to keep pests out of the building.
Cracks can begin to form for a wide variety of reasons, so it is important to understand why a basement wall is cracking so an appropriate repair can be made.
Fixing Vertical Basement Wall Cracks
Vertical basement wall cracks are one of the most dangerous situations that a basement wall faces.
These cracks usually begin forming when there are outward pressures on the wall that are caused by the foundation shifting.
It can also be an indication that there is too much direct pressure being applied to the wall.
If the pressure is not relieved, then repairing the crack in the wall will only be a temporary fix instead of a permanent solution.
Vertical cracks can often be sealed with a simple caulking or epoxy method.
You’ll want to make sure the product you use can fill in the crack completely.
To do this, you’ll want to use the “V” method of stabilization.
Make one end of the crack wider than the other so that it can support itself appropriately.
You may need to scrape the crack out, wash it out, and let it dry before starting the repair.
The issue with most vertical cracks is that there is a problem with erosion control.
When precipitation falls or when landscaping plants are being watered, the moisture is overwhelming the soil supports around the foundation.
A little moisture is fine, but too much will erode the soil base and cause place pressure on the foundation.
Look at the drainage patterns on the property and consider moving plants away from the home as external fixes for the basement wall cracks.
Fixing Stairway Basement Wall Cracks
When the cracks on your basement wall look like a set of stairs, this is usually an indication that the entire foundation is settling.
Many times these cracks are just minor and can be sealed up right away to prevent moisture from entering through the wall.
If left untreated, however, it is very possible for the crack to expand and become problematic.
This type of basement crack tends to retain moisture within it more than vertical or horizontal cracks.
You can eliminate the moisture by running a hair dryer along the crack for several minutes before attempting the repair.
Wait about 15-20 minutes after running the hair dryer to see if the crack stays dry.
If it does not, you’ll need to wait for the area to dry out on its own.
Using an epoxy injection system is usually a best practice for this type of repair.
The epoxy helps to strengthen the wall and prevent moisture from getting in to become an ongoing problem.
You’ll want to let the epoxy cure for about 5 days before removing the injection ports.
Fixing Horizontal Basement Wall Cracks
Horizontal basement wall cracks are also considered a critical repair, but because they have outward pressures being placed on them.
This occurs from the expanding and contracting of the soil around the foundation of the home.
You can relieve this pressure somewhat by keeping the soil near the foundation fairly moist all year long, but once the cracks appear, it becomes necessary to immediately repair the wall to prevent it from buckling.
Because the crack indicates that the wall has already buckled somewhat, you may need to reinforce the wall before repairing the crack.
This may mean having a complete foundation leveling completed.
Only a professional contractor should be performing that part of the repair because the foundation itself may need to be lifted to provide materials that can help to stabilize the basement wall.
Once the wall has been stabilized, you can then fill in the crack with your preferred repair method and the wall should remain stable.
You’ll need to be proactive in the future, however, about changing outdoor conditions to prevent too much pressure from being on the basement wall in the future.
Not relieving the pressure and just repairing the crack can further increase the problem and it may void your homeowner’s insurance as well.
Knowing how to repair basement wall cracks can help to keep a home standing strong.
Examine the crack, clean it out, and make sure it is dry before repairing it.
If the repair doesn’t hold or there are several issues that must be addressed, then be sure to speak with a local contractor to discuss what your options may be.