How to Repair Cracks in Basement Walls


Unless repaired, cracks in basement walls can leak and cause mold, mildew, or even radon to enter the home. Cracks in poured concrete foundation walls can be sealed with a trowel-on urethane caulking compound. For more details about basement repair services, visit Handyman Naperville IL.

HandymanBowing basement walls are a serious problem that must be professionally addressed to prevent further damage to the house. You can test for bowing by holding a string weighted with a heavy object against the wall and measuring the deflection.

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that basement wall cracks are quite common. While some are minor and hardly noticeable, others are much more serious. Some can even become structural problems, allowing water to leak into the house and cause damage to interior walls and flooring. When cracks occur, it’s important to take action immediately if you want to avoid more expensive repairs in the future.

Many cracks in basement walls can be repaired using a simple waterproofing method. However, this is not an effective solution if the cracks widen over time. This can make the problem worse by trapping moisture in the cracks and leading to further deterioration of the concrete.

A specialized, low-pressure injection method is the best way to seal basement wall cracks. This is used for poured concrete foundation walls and includes injecting a flexible, expanding urethane sealant into the cracks. Injection ports are installed every 4 to 6 inches along the surface and are sealed to the concrete. A special epoxy is then spread over and beyond the injection ports.

This is then topped with a waterproof, trowel-on coating. The coating will prevent the edges of the crack from chipping away and will also help to direct any leaking water to the basement floor drains.

For larger, structural cracks in basement walls, professionals recommend installing wall plate anchors or helical tieback anchors. In these systems, a metal plate is attached to the inside of the basement wall, and an outside anchor is connected to it with high-strength rods. These anchors then pull outward against the wall, stopping any further buckling and stabilizing it.

For non-structural cracks in basement walls, a patented system called FlexiSpan can be used. This system works similar to epoxy crack injection, but it uses a hidden drainage channel that can flex in response to any movement in the basement wall. In addition to the waterproofing, this system can also be paired with an interior French drain to provide additional protection against moisture infiltration.

Bowing walls are often a sign of serious problems in the foundation and basement. These issues can cause severe damage, reduce property value and create safety hazards. It’s important to take care of these issues quickly, before they get worse. There are several ways to repair bowing basement walls, but it’s important to find out the root cause of the problem before starting repairs.

Bowed basement walls are often caused by expansive soils that expand when wet and shrink when dry. The shifting of the soil puts tremendous lateral pressure on the foundation and can lead to bowing, cracking and other forms of damage. Other causes of basement wall bowing include frost heaving, water pressure and buried debris.

There are three main ways to repair basement bowing walls: wall braces, anchor systems and basement wall replacement. Most contractors will use carbon fiber straps to stabilize basement walls, especially in conjunction with water mitigation measures. These straps are placed vertically on the inside of the basement walls at about every 4 feet. These straps distribute the stress evenly across the basement wall and help to correct the bowing.

Helical tiebacks are also used to stabilize basement walls. These are drilled into the ground outside of the basement and connected to a steel plate on the inside of the basement wall. The helical tieback is then twisted to a specific torque that holds it firmly in place. Helical tiebacks are the most expensive method of repairing bowing walls, but they are the most secure.

Bowed basement walls can be very dangerous and should always be repaired by a professional. This is a complex process that requires expert knowledge of foundation and basement problems and the use of advanced tools and equipment. Homeowners should carefully compare costs when selecting a contractor to repair bowing basement walls. The best way to do this is to evaluate long-term value and avoid contractors who charge by the hour. Instead, look for a contractor who charges by the day and supplies to make sure that you are getting the best value for your money.

Basement drains prevent water leaks and flooding by removing groundwater from around your house’s foundation. They can be especially useful in older houses without a floor drain. The installation process involves digging a trench and installing perforated pipe, called drain tile, beneath the basement floor. It also involves directing the pipe toward the existing plumbing pipes, where it will connect to a sump pump and backwater valve (to keep sewage from entering the basement).

Ideally, basement drains are installed during initial construction when contractors can easily incorporate them into the foundation design. This ensures that the floor and the soil are sloped correctly so that water naturally flows into the basement drain rather than into cracks in the walls. However, this is not always possible with older houses that need a floor drain.

Leaks in basement walls often appear as stains and efflorescence, a powdery white substance that appears on the surface of the concrete. If left untreated, the leaks will eventually cause a sagging and crumbling of the wall. An effective interior basement drainage system can solve these problems and protect your home’s structure and value.

The primary reasons for wet basements are poor construction, improper drainage, and uncontrolled soil movement. Poorly graded earth that slopes back toward the foundation can send water down the footings and seep into the basement.

Insufficiently thick concrete in basement walls can allow groundwater to seep through them. Uncontrolled soil movement can cause the soil underneath the foundation to loosen and shift, which can also weaken and damage the foundation.

A professional basement waterproofer can fix most leaks in a basement. They can seal cracks in the basement walls, install floor drains, and install French drains for effective water removal. They can also address other common sources of wetness in basements, including window well leaks and uncapped vents. If you decide to hire a contractor or waterproofing company for your repairs, choose one that has a proven track record and is licensed and insured. Ask for references, customer reviews, and a written contract that clearly outlines the work to be done, the timeline, and the projected cost. A labor warranty should be included in the contract as well.

Ideally, foundation drains are installed before the concrete floor slab is poured. This prevents the sand, gravel, and soil that make up a basement footing from shifting around and eventually entering the basement walls or floor. Often, building codes require perimeter drains for newer homes to be installed before the concrete footing is backfilled. Adding these drains to a new home is a simple task, but retrofitting them in an existing house can be challenging.

Perimeter drains work by catching water that seeps into the basement and channeling it with gravity to a sump pump or drainage pipe. This is one of the most effective waterproofing methods available for preventing basement problems. However, it is important to note that these drains do not stop wall seepage. If water is seeping through a basement wall, the underlying problem may be a structural issue with the foundation or a crack in the basement wall.

Many basements have a monolithic foundation, which means that the basement floor and footing are all poured together. In this case, jackhammering trenches to install a drain would be difficult and damaging. The Grate Products Fast Track Basement System has a unique design that solves this problem by creating a capillary break between the wet soil and basement wall. The system uses a membrane material or a layer of gravel or crushed stone that goes against the basement wall. This creates a physical barrier that stops the transfer of water vapor between the basement soil and concrete foundation walls.

Interior drain systems can be cheaper than exterior french drains to install. They also offer some advantages over a curtain drain system. However, they still do not stop wall seepage and must be inspected for clogging frequently. Additionally, these systems can be expensive to maintain. This is because a trench must be dug to install these drains, and it is very easy for the gravel or dirt in that trench to become compressed and block the flow of water through the drain pipes. If the clogging becomes too severe, it will not be possible to remove all of the water that has seeped into the basement through the drain system.