When it comes to homeownership, keeping your property safe and dry can be surprisingly difficult. From faulty basement windows to plumbing floods, dampness can find many different pathways into your home. Cracks in a property’s basement floor or foundation can allow a surprising amount of water into your basement. In fact, if the cracks are severe, they can lead to standing water in a property’s basement. Thankfully, the solution to this issue is relatively simple, even if the damage looks severe.
What Can Cause Cracks in a Basement Floor
The most common causes of damage to a basement floor are found within a property’s foundation or structure. The placement of the cracks and the manner in which cracks spread can be incredibly helpful in identifying the possible causes of the damage. The most common causes of cracks in a basement floor are:
Foundation settlement occurs when excessive soil dehydration causes it to shrink. As the soil shrinks, it can crack, and the chasms that open up remove support from your foundation in many places. In this case, sections of a property’s foundation can settle into the cracks. This, in turn, can crack the basement floor above it. If it does not, the water that seeps up through the cracks in the foundation may eventually cause the basement floor to crack over time.
Subsidence occurs when the soil under a property becomes so saturated that it cannot support it. When this happens, the property’s foundation can begin to sink. Of course, it will not usually sink evenly, and the way that uneven sinking causes a property to tilt can put an uneven strain on the structure of a home. This will inevitably lead to cracks forming not just in the property foundation and basement floor, but in walls too.
- Excess Hydrostatic Pressure
Excessive levels of hydrostatic pressure can cause cracks to form in your basement floor and walls. This is most common when the perimeter of your property is consistently flooded or ice and snow pile up around your property.
- Foundation Heave
Foundation heave can occur in a number of ways. First, it can be caused by frost. Sudden freezes can cause your foundation to bulge upward, cracking both your foundation and basement floor. Foundation heave can also be caused by tree root invasion.
Whatever the cause of cracks in your basement floor, the inevitable result will be water and dampness. Water and dampness in your property can cause a number of serious issues, but the most common and pressing are:
- Mold and mildew formation
- Musty odors
- Pest infestation
- Rotting or warping floorboards
- Decreased energy efficiency
These side effects of dampness can also contribute to other more complex co-occurring issues. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to prevent a cracked basement floor from significantly impacting the climate inside your home.
How to Fix Cracked Basement Floors
If you have noticed spreading cracks in your basement flooring, don’t panic. This may be a serious issue, but it is not a disaster. There are many solutions available to fix cracks in a basement floor and prevent them from recurring at a later date. First and foremost, however, it is important to identify the precise cause of the cracks to ensure the right solutions are deployed. We at Innovative Basement Authority specialize in foundation repair and basement waterproofing measures. Our team is expert in identifying the precise causes of damage and dampness in a basement and will be able to provide you with a solution that is entirely tailored to your property and situation.
When it comes to fixing a cracked and leaky basement floor there are four basic steps our team always takes.
Investigating the precise causes of cracks in a basement floor is an important step that cannot be missed. If all the contributing factors are not discovered and dealt with, the cracks will simply recur, after all. The list of possible factors include:
- Foundation heave
- Hydrostatic pressure
Our team members are very skilled at identifying underlying causes.
Once we know exactly what is causing the cracks in your basement floor, our team will take steps to prepare it for repair. This means draining any standing water in your basement to ensure your space is in the best possible shape to go ahead with repairs.
Waterproofing measures are a necessary step when it comes to repairing this kind of damage in your basement. If you have foundation damage, this will need to be repaired before we can finalize the repairs to your basement floor. If your foundation is intact, there are several potential waterproofing measures that can be taken to help manage the water seeping into your property through the cracks in your basement floor.
Depending on the nature of the cracks in your basement floor, an interior drainage system could provide an excellent solution. A perimeter drainage system can catch water before it reaches the center of the room, while more serious cracks may require direct drainage. In these cases, our team can remove a section of the basement floor and run a line of PVC underneath it to channel water into the perimeter drains or toward your sump pump. If you do not have a sump pump in your home, installing one is a great idea, especially if you have serious issues with flooding and standing water in your property. When paired with a dehumidifier, these measures will ensure your basement stays clean, dry, and comfortable.
Once the source of the cracks has been addressed and the dampness in your basement is under control, our team will restore your floors to their former state. By backfilling cracks and applying fresh concrete, our team will leave you with a smooth and flawless finish. You should let this new layer cure for three days before you walk on it or apply weight to the surface.
Are Lateral Drains the Right Choice?
Lateral drains will not usually be recommended for waterproofing when you have basement cracks to deal with. Most of the water that gets into your basement will be dealt with by your sump pump or perimeter drainage system before it can well up into your basement. In the case of larger, more serious cracks, excavation and a lateral, PVC line will ensure the water is funneled directly to your drainage systems.
There are many potential causes of cracking in a basement floor, but they all really boil down to the same thing—excessive pressure concentrated in the wrong places. Whether this pressure is applied by the soil under a home, by water, or by an external force, the result is the same—cracking and dampness.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
The soil surrounding your foundation is susceptible to absorbing a lot of water over the years, whether this be through excessive rainfall, storms, or underground water sources. This can cause immense hydrostatic pressure against the walls of your basement and your property foundation can cause cracks to form and widen. In turn, this damage can spread out to other parts of your home and negatively affect them as well.
There is yet another form of hydrostatic pressure that can affect your foundation and basement. Water can easily become trapped in the pores of the concrete foundation. When winter comes, this water will easily freeze over and the expanding ice can also cause your foundation to crack from within.
- Tree Root Invasion
Tree roots can be shockingly destructive when they start interfering with a property’s structure. It will not matter if the tree you have in your yard is large or small. Tree roots of any size tree will present a problem the longer they are left to spread out and grow if you do not take steps to control that growth.
If a tree root makes its way under your foundation, it can cause it to heave upwards and crack your foundation and basement floor from below. You may even find that the tree roots will grow through the cracks they made and wreck your foundation even more. Once this happens, you might find other structures in your home slowly deteriorating over time, too. This is why you need to call the foundation experts at Innovative Basement Authority for repairs as soon as you notice any cracks along your basement.
The most obvious signs of foundation damage, of course, are spreading cracks in your basement floor and walls. These cracks, and where they lie, can help you to understand the nature of the damage. Of course, there are other, subtler signs of damage that you may also be able to catch, too.
If the air in your basement is humid, you find the walls are wet, or there is dampness around the cracks in your basement flooring, this is a sign that water is seeping up from under the floor. As foundation damage is one of the most common causes of cracks in a basement floor or walls, it is important that you learn to recognize it. If you refuse to take steps to deal with it, your basement will face frequent flooding.
Not only that, but the constant water damage can also create other problems, as well. For one, you might detect a musty smell from all the standing water or sewage infiltrating your basement. You might also find mold, mildew, or even pests infesting your basement, too.
- Ruined Infrastructure
If your foundation becomes damaged, the rest of your home will start to show signs of damage, too. For instance, you might notice your floor starting to sag or bounce in places. This will often be accompanied by cracks in the corners of your basement. This occurs due to the foundation shifting or even splintering apart your floor’s support beams (also known as joists). These joists carry the weight of you, your family, and all your belongings, which is why it is so crucial to protect them alongside your foundation.
Similarly, you might notice that your doors and windows are harder to open. A damaged foundation can cause your doorways and windowsills to tilt, effectively trapping your doors and windows in their frames.
You might find yourself exerting more effort just to open them as a result. You might also find your walls starting to tilt or sway over time, too, which often means your house is close to collapsing in on itself.
It is best that you do not attempt to seal and fix cracks in your basement floor alone. While it can be tempting to try to take a DIY approach to this issue, we recommend that you instead seek professional help. If you attempt to fix this issue alone you run the risk of:
- Covering Up Serious Problems
If you simply ignore your basement cracks or other issues, you run the risk of covering up damage and problems that need to be addressed. This could lead to them slowly getting worse until they cause larger, harder to ignore issues. Inevitably, these issues will cost you a lot more money to repair than these smaller problems you should have had repaired in the first place.
You should never attempt to fix these basement issues on your own, either. If you try to fix the problem alone, there is a chance that you could make it worse. This can happen if you install a solution that is actively unsuitable for the issue at hand or a result of inexperience.
- Installing an Ineffective Solution
If you install an ineffective solution, you may not make the problem worse, but you won’t fix the issue or underlying causes, either. In this case, the cracks will recur over time. Any DIY repairs you find at a home improvement store will similarly not solve your basement issues in the long run. At best, they work as temporary relief against your problems while you schedule an appointment with our basement experts.
It’s really best to let professionals handle the repairs. This will cost you less in the long run, prevent avoidable damage and breakdowns, and ensure you get the best possible results. Our experts are trained to handle any issues your basement or home overall might face. You can trust us to treat your home as gently as if it were our own!
Don’t Try to Go it Alone
While it may be tempting to try to fix small cracks alone, it is imperative that you don’t do this. Trying to fix or fill cracks alone can lead to a huge number of complications. First, you could end up covering up serious problems, thereby allowing them to grow and snowball unchecked. Secondly, you could actually make the cracks worse by applying an improper solution to the problem.
If this happens, you will end up costing yourself far more money in the long run than you would have if you had simply let a professional handle the problem to begin with. Finally, repairing damage like this is a skilled job that requires a set kind of knowledge and technical skill that most people simply do not have. A professional contractor will give you the best results at the best prices.
Let Innovative Basement Authority Deal with Your Cracked Basement Floors
If you have noticed cracks in your basement floor and walls, please do not hesitate to contact Innovative
Basement Authority for a free inspection and repair estimate. Our team is well-versed in foundation and basement issues, and they will be able to diagnose your home’s issues with a thorough evaluation. Then we will use the best solutions to repair and protect your home so it will be a safe living environment for you and your family.
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