Most homeowners would agree that basements are one of the most useful areas any home can have. However, your basement can quickly become damaged due to groundwater. When a crack forms in your basement wall, it’s a sign that things are only going to get worse.
Unfortunately, cracks in any basement wall indicate a major threat to your entire foundation. As with all signs of foundation damage, don’t wait to act. In this article, we will cover how these cracks form in the first place, and how to fix them for good.
An Enemy to Basements: Hydrostatic Pressure
As you know, basements are built underground. For that reason, the walls of your basement are completely surrounded by soil. Since the walls of your basement are made of concrete, they can generally hold the weight of any soil around your home without a problem.
However, other factors cause the soil around your basement to become heavy – usually groundwater. One major issue that basement walls face is hydrostatic pressure. While you might not have heard of this term before, you’ve probably experienced it in some capacity.
Think about what happens when you dive deeper into a body of water. As you travel down, the pressure in your ears or around your head seems to build. Groundwater works in the same way as it drains further below the surface.
As water seeps lower and lower into the ground, its pressure begins to build. When large amounts of water are able to sink below the surface around your basement walls, hydrostatic pressure can build over time and cause the wet soil to push against the concrete.
Since water finds the path of least resistance, it’s going to keep pushing and pushing until your wall eventually crumbles under the pressure. So, what are some sources of water that can cause hydrostatic pressure to build in the first place?
Sources of Water to Watch Out For
Hydrostatic pressure comes from many water sources. From rain to lakes, to gutters, we’ll outline the most common ones so you can be better prepared as a homeowner.
Rain and Snow
Storms may be the most obvious source of water, but they can also cause the most damage depending on their intensity. Indianapolis and its surrounding areas receive about 42 inches of rain per year, just over the national average of 38 inches. Snow can also cause a similar issue as it melts and drains into the soil.
We believe the importance of proper gutters cannot be overstated. If your gutters drain directly above your basement, hydrostatic pressure is bound to occur. Look into extending your gutters further away or installing drainage gutters at another location around your property.
Lakes, Rivers, and Water Table
If your home is built close to lakes, rivers, or the water table, hydrostatic is more likely to occur. Since these bodies of water contain massive amounts of water, they can put a lot of pressure on surrounding soil (and consequently, your basement walls).
Other Cracked Wall Causes
Water can certainly cause a ton of problems for your basement, but it’s not the only danger that your foundation faces. Soil that becomes weak on its own can also cause major problems for your basement walls.
Sometimes soil can settle unevenly or become weak due to environmental factors such as storms, drought, or improper compaction. Whatever is causing the soil to weaken, your basement will suffer. As the soil shifts, so too do the walls of your basement – potentially cracking in the process.
Solutions for Cracked Basement Walls
No matter the issue affecting your basement walls, Indiana Foundation Service has the tools to prevent any more damage from happening. We’ll highlight a few to give you an idea of our many available options.
Wall Reinforcement Tools
Since your wall is the main structure at risk in your basement, our team has plenty of options that provide extra support for your while. Here’s the most common ones that can solve basement wall issues:
IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System
IntelliBrace™ is an I-beam wall support system with rust-resistant zinc coating and adjustable heights to fit your basement best and adapt to any situation. During installation, the top of each brace is attached to a floor joist near the mudsill at the top of the wall and will not damage your floor.
Unlike static I-beam supports which cannot move, IntelliBrace™ wall supports can be adjusted at regular intervals to restore bowing walls and close cracks over time. With this method, your wall stays protected even as conditions change with an adaptable tool.
Carbon Fiber Wall Repair
Carbon fiber supports are best used to keep your wall in its current position. If you want to stay proactive against hydrostatic pressure, these supports can get the job done by keeping your wall in one fixed position.
For this installation process, our team makes sure your wall is clean and determines the amount of pressure being exerted onto the wall. After this initial process, one of our experts cuts a fiber carbon strap and coats it with epoxy resin, providing staunch support for your wall. The best part is it can be painted over for easy concealment!
Wall anchors are a fantastic form of wall support, as they protect the foundation without requiring complete foundation replacement. These supports are entrenched into stable soil below and outside your basement walls. Deep soil is not affected by weather or water in the same way surface soil is, so it doesn’t settle or shift over time.
Furthermore, wall anchors can be tightened to move your wall back to its original position. As the anchors tighten and become fixed even further into deep soils, your wall is given an immovable support system.
Options to Avoid
With every home improvement project, there are options you should avoid. Using any of the following methods may result in further damage to your basement walls:
- Static I-beams
- “Waterproof” paint
- Crack sealant
None of these options address the actual issues affecting your basement wall — water and settling soil. Store-bought paint, sealant, and caulk are often unreliable and static I-beams cannot adapt to changing pressures. All of these will break down over time, wasting your time and money.
Don’t Let Your Basement Walls Get Worse
If you’ve noticed cracks in your basement walls, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re dedicated to keeping you and your home safe with our service. Explore more of our website and get a free quote when you call us today!