If your basement leaks when it rains, there’s a chance you have a cracked foundation. Basement water leaks can be caused by water accumulation in the soil around the perimeter of your house seeping in through the cracks in your foundation. If these cracks are wider than a quarter of an inch.
When repairing cracks in foundation walls, it is important to know what you’re up against. There are several different types of foundation cracks that you should be aware of for your basement waterproofing project.
Types of Foundation Cracks
- Vertical – This foundation crack is quite common and can often occur within a few years of construction. Vertical cracks likely won’t cause structural issues with a home, but they certainly can allow water to seep into your basement. The most advised course of action would be to have cracks of this type sealed with epoxy by a professional.
- Horizontal – If you find any horizontal cracks in your basement, call a professional immediately. Cracks of this type are a marker of an unstable foundation and leaving them without repair could lead to your house collapsing. Horizontal cracks represent inward bowing of the foundation, which is never good. The weight of your home will accelerate the bowing over time. This type of crack can actually be caused by excessive rain accumulating around the perimeter of your foundation. If that water undergoes a rapid freeze, the wet ground will become a solid force expanding into your foundation, forcing it inward. Besides the risks associated with water damage, you risk serious structural instability if you leave horizontal cracks untreated.
- Stair Step – This type of crack is much less doom and gloom than horizontal cracks, but can still pose a threat to your basement. Water damage, as you know, can be quite destructive. Step cracks are usually found on the exterior wall of brick and mortar houses, above the foundation. They signify movement/settlement in the foundation and need to be repaired by a Foundation Repair company. The stair-stepping is caused by separation in the brick by shifting foundations. For older homes with leaky basements, this type of foundation crack is often the culprit. While the problem can be fixed with help from contractors, wear and tear is simply a fact of life in an older house.