Cracks in the walls or floor of your basement or crawl space are serious business. Many home owners think that cracking is just a natural part of having a basement, “it’s just the house settling,” is a common justification.
But, the truth is that having cracks is indicative of much deeper problems. And, often times these problems are not visible because they’re occuring outside your home, outside the foundation walls in the soil and dirt around your house’s perimeter.
Why Are Cracks in the Basement Walls So Dangerous?
Even if the crack is fairly small when you discover it, it can quickly grow, spread and cause other cracks and holes to develop. They are always an indication that a bigger problem exists outside the home.
Water from rain, snow, even watering your lawn drains into the ground around your home. If that ground contains clay soil, you’ll have a big problem on your hands.
Because clay has such poor drainage, the water will not sift through but instead sit in the soil, cause the clay to swell and will put pressure on your foundation or cellar walls from the outside. It can also exert the same pressure on your floor from underneath.
Once this happens, tiny cracks form. These cracks grow and allow water and moisture to get in. This leads to:
- Mold and Mildew Growth around the cracks
- Broken and collapsed walls
- A dramatic reduction in home value
If left untreated, these problems could carry a price tag in excess of $75,0000. Many homes have actually been condemned because of serious cracks in the basement or foundation if they were found to be unsafe to live in.
However, if you get to the problem early, chances are you can fix it for a reasonable price and increase your home’s value.
A bowed wall typically can be repaired using structural support and wall bracing. It is also imperative to reduce the pressure on the outside wall. This usually requires the replacement of the exterior drainage system to reduce the soil moisture and hydrostatic pressure being exerted on the wall.
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