Even if you’re not scared of the dark, it can be a scary experience to go into the basement and see that the floor is starting to crack. The good news is that these cracks are not a cause for concern the majority of the time. This is because they are frequently caused by the house’s natural settling process or the concrete foundation drying.
These cracks do not present any structural problems, but they can be a place where pests, moisture, or dangerous gases from soil can enter your home. It is important to seal these cracks to protect your home.
Here are the possible causes of cracks in your basement.
Wear and Tear
Over time, all homes settle. This is a natural process. The concrete can also dry out, and the soil around the foundation can change temperature and water content. We’ll talk more about this below. This is normal wear and tear that will cause small hairline cracks. These cracks might not be pleasing to look at, but they are not a sign of any structural problems.
It isn’t an indication of structural issues, but wear and tear can be a doorway for pests if the gaps are greater than 1/16 of an inch, in which case it’s critical to fill them. So, get Basement Crack Repair Cost from a professional to budget appropriately for the project.
Poor drainage near the foundation
Water flowing towards the foundation instead of away can cause problems. If water accumulates around the foundation and under the basement floor, this can cause damage to the home. The resultant hydrostatic pressure can cause the foundation to crack.
If your floor is cracked due to a drainage issue, you’ll need to repair the drain. Then, you may fix the flaws by grading around the foundation to divert water away from your house. You should also ensure the gutters and downspouts are cleared of debris to ensure that water does not flow toward the foundation.
If you see the floor in your basement cracking and heaving, it means you have a big problem with your foundation. When the floor cracks and a part of it go up, it is called heaving. This happens when the two sides of the crack are not aligned. When this happens, several things may be happening. The soil might cause it beneath the foundation to push up on the concrete floor and crack it in some cases.
Tree roots growing beneath the home might lead to heaving. If you have an issue with your home’s foundation, it is best to call a professional. The problem is more severe than what a concrete patch can fix, and it will cost more money.
Concrete is a combination of water and concrete. The concrete slowly shrinks as the water evaporates. The temperature in the basement determines the rate at which the water evaporates. In older basements, high temperatures might cause the concrete to harden too quickly and fracture. Similarly, if the temperature drops too low, moisture in the concrete may freeze, causing fractures.
Shrinkage can be seen more in areas that are closed in, like corners or closed doors. This happens because concrete shrinks over time, which can cause it to break. Fortunately, shrinkage is rarely enough to create cracks that cause structural damage. However, pests may use them as access points, so it’s critical to seal them when they appear.
When the weight of the home causes the ground soil beneath it to shift, settlement occurs. The majority of houses can tolerate up to an inch of earth movement. Settlement can also be caused by tree roots and poor drainage in the basement. When this shift happens, the foundation may fracture.
Another way to tell if the settlement is causing the cracks is to inspect other house parts. If any floorboards are slightly pulled away from the walls or gaps between the ceiling and walls, this could be a sign that the settlement is causing the cracks.
If you notice cracks on the walls, it could be a sign that your house is settling. If you see that the doors and windows are difficult to open or close or there is a noticeable slope in the walls or floors, it might be time to call in a professional.
Frost heave can also cause cracks in the basement. When the ground under and around your home freezes, thaws, and refreezes during the winter months, it can shift. This may lead to fissures in your flooring. Water with a high water capacity, such as soil, is the most frequent cause of these fractures around support columns in the floor.
If you see any of these cracks, there are a few ways to stop frost heave. One way is to fill sand or gravel around the foundation. You can also install a drainage system around the foundation or insulate the foundation and ground around it. Check for any blockages in the gutter and downspout systems of your property. If there are any obstructions, water will not flow away from the foundation as it should, resulting in damp soil that can cause structural damage to your home.
While not all cracks in your basement are a cause for alarm, it is important to be proactive and address any issues as soon as they arise. By being aware of the most common causes of basement cracking, you can take steps to prevent them from becoming bigger problems down the road. If you do notice any significant damage, be sure to call in a professional to get it fixed before it causes further damage.