The next time you go into your basement, take some time to look around and check your foundation walls. They may have some cracks.
Homeowners and builders often approach us to help them fix problems with foundations. This includes foundations that have just been poured. This doesn’t mean that they have done a bad job.
So why do these foundation wall cracks occur?
Take a look at the corners in the walls of your foundation. These are the points that suffer the most stress every time you core through the wall of the basement. You may core through the wall during the installation of gas lines, electric lines or sewers. The stress caused by the coring results in weakening of the concrete which results in cracking of the foundation.
Saturation of the soil
Soil saturation refers to saturation of soil with water. That means your basement is built on wet ground. The walls of your foundation are supported by footings. These are at the base of the walls and are what hold your house up. If the footings are over-saturated with water they will ‘settle’. This will result in foundation wall cracks.
Over-saturation of the soil around the footings results in the soil’s expansion in volume. The excess weight will result in an inward push by the soil. This is evident through diagonal cracks emerging from the corners of the walls.
Too much water is bad for the foundation walls and too little or no water at all is just as bad. When the soil around the footings of the foundation walls is too dry it shrinks and leaves spaces. The foundation walls therefore lack adequate support and shift outward.
This type of damage usually occurs when trees, shrubs or other plants that are planted near the foundation of the house develop a deep root system that extends deep into the ground in search of moisture. The roots draw moisture from the surrounding soil causing the desiccation.
Shrinking of the concrete as a result of various factors will result in foundation wall cracks. Concrete contracts when it dries as a result of the loss of water. There are several factors that affect the drying process. This includes the mix of the concrete, the level of humidity and the type of aggregate used.
The solution to a cracked basement is simple. You need to get a professional to fix it.