Dealing with cracks in your basement walls or floor
Have You Started Noticing Cracks in Your Basement’s Cement Floor or Walls?
These cracks are not only visually unpleasant, they point to a deeper, more serious issue with your home’s foundation.
Letting these cracks grow over time can only lead to more damage to your home’s foundation, and costly repairs in the future.
If you have cracks in your foundation, call Access Basement Systems today.
We will inspect the foundation, recommend a solution, and provide a complete, final repair to your home’s foundation.
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Fill out the simple request form below or call 717-826-4667.
Here are the Four Most Common Types of Cracks that Form in Basements in Pennsylvania:
Horizontal Wall Cracks
These are cracks that form horizontally across a wall, often at a mortar joint between the blocks. Normally forming about 3 feet below ground level, these are commonly called a "freeze line" crack because it lines up where the surface soil freezes during the winter. As part of the normal freeze and thaw cycle, ground water near your foundation expands and contracts. This movement, when it encounters a weak spot in your foundation, creates a horizontal crack or bubble. This type of crack in your foundation is serious, as it will continue to slowly expand until it gets to the point of failure and the wall collapses.
Unlike stair step cracks, which are limited to the mortar joints, vertical cracks will split cement block in two. This is a serious, high stress crack, showing that there is enough pressure on the foundation to force these blocks to sheer or split vertically. Underneath the wall, the footer is likely cracked as well.
This type of crack signals an extremely dangerous problem with your foundation, one that requires immediate attention before even more serious damage or a collapse occurs.
Stair Step Cracks
Stair step cracks form in the mortar joints in between your foundation's concrete blocks. Commonly occurring near the corners of a foundation, these cracks indicate movement in your wall's footer.
A footer is the base upon which your foundation's walls rest. When the footer moves, it can crack and become unstable. This leads to stair step cracks in your walls, as well as visible cracks above windows and door frames in your home.
Sealing these cracks in the wall is not enough; you need to remove the water affecting the basement's footer for a permanent, lasting solution.
While cracks in your basement's poured concrete floor is not as structurally-damaging as those in your wall, their appearance are still a cause for concern. Floor cracks can provide an entrance for ground water to build pressure and break through, flooding your basement.
Floor cracks usually start near a wall and branch out throughout the basement. The starting point of this crack generally indicates the area where foundation stress is high or where the floor was weakened. You may also see many cracks over a larger area. This is called "honeycombing", and it indicates upward water pressure trying to erupt through your floor.
Fixing the cracks themselves is not as important as solving the problem that caused the cracks in the first place. By removing the water pressure under your floor, we can keep your basement dry.
When Should I fix Cracks in My Foundation?
With the exception of earthquakes and other catastrophic events, damage to your basement's walls doesn't happen all at once. And where we live in southeastern Pennsylvania, we don't have to worry too much about these events. For our area, cracks in a foundation occur after years of building pressure, settling, and movement.
Don't wait until the cracks leak to get
them repaired; not all basement cracks
will leak, but most cracks point to
significant structural issues.
The Right Way to Fix Cracks in the Foundation
Since cracks in your foundation are a symptom of a greater problem, the proper fix is not to fill the cracks. Some homeowners and inexperienced contractors think cracks are just a cosmetic issue, filling the cracks and calling the problem fixed. Unfortunately, this is merely masking the problem, leaving the structural movement unresolved.
At Access Basement Systems, we treat the root cause of your basement's cracks. We will diagnose the source of pressure and stress on your foundation, providing you with a plan and quote for relieving the stress permanently.
Our goal is to reduce, remove, or redirect the forces that are pushing against your foundation. We will also fix structural damage and patch cracks. At the end of our repairs, your foundation will be structurally sound and ready to support your home for years to come.
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