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3 Methods to Protect Your Foundation From Pooling Water This Winter

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Canadian winters can always be counted on to bring plenty of rain, ice, sleet and snowfall.

In the same way, Canadian homeowners can always be counted on to get nervous about how winter weather will affect their home.

Here in Canada, we regularly face homeownership issues that our neighbours to the south don't have. Owning a home here in the north requires special preparations to protect the foundation from pooling water during the winter season.

In our years of serving customers throughout the Hamilton and surrounding areas, we have found three protective measures that consistently outperform the rest to keep your home safe and dry - learn about them here.

What Happens When Water Pools Around Your Foundation?

If you are a first-time homeowner, you are likely navigating the steep learning curve that comes with owning a home.

So you may not yet know what will happen if water is allowed to pool around your home’s foundation. After all, that foundation is thick, sturdy, solid cement. How could water get through that?

Micro-fissures

Concrete is a strange choice of building material. It is naturally porous, and more so as it dries and sets. This porous quality causes micro-fissures to form from the start. Water can easily find its way inside these fissures – at least until it can go no further and becomes trapped.

In the cold season, trapped water freezes solid, expanding and stressing the fissures so they widen. In thaw cycles, the trapped water travels deeper into the now-larger fissures. The wider the fissure, the higher the risk of leaks.

Hydrostatic pressure

When runoff water seeps down into the surrounding soil, it once again gets trapped. As soil moisture content increases, the water exerts tremendous pressure against any solid surface preventing its escape.

Often, that solid surface is your foundation or, if your home has a basement, your basement walls and flooring. The continuous pressure can literally cause walls to lean, joints to buckle, window wells and drains to back up and sump pumps to get overtaxed.

3 Ways to Keep Water from Pooling Around Your Home Foundation

Now that you understand the dangers of pooling water near your home’s foundation, it is time to explore the best ways to prevent this from occurring.

Depending on how severe the issue is at your home, prevention may represent an investment, but we can absolutely verify that any amount of preventative expense is a drop in the bucket compared with budgeting for major foundation repair or black mould remediation.

Gutter guards and downspout extensions to the rescue

Like most structural home aids, gutters and downspouts typically don’t get attention from homeowners until they stop doing their jobs properly.

Gutter guards prevent gutters from getting clogged with fall leaves, storm debris, animal nests and other detritus. This preserves their ability to function as water conduits to the downspouts.

Downspout extensions route water runoff away from your home’s foundation to flow into storm drains where it belongs.

For mild home grading issues, downspout extensions can sometimes even delay the need for regrading your existing landscaping, so they are really handy to have!

Regrading that naturally routes water away from your home

Speaking of regrading, it is natural to see some change to the surrounding soil and landscape over time. Older homes often do something called “settling,” where the sheer weight of the home causes it to sink a little deeper into the surrounding soil.

(By the way, if this happens, it is just the nature of how a heavy home and changing soil content can often interact.)

At first, this settling is not even noticeable. But as the years pass, it can cause a little water moat to form around your home during heavy rainstorms.

At this point, downspout extensions can provide a temporary fix if your budget requires it, but ultimately the only way to permanently address the issue is to have your home regraded.

Interior basement waterproofing as a permanent solution

If your home includes a crawl space or a basement, the concern goes beyond what may happen to your foundation itself when water widens cracks and causes increasing instability.

There is also a concern about leakage and flooding.

Mould and mildew can quickly take root and then move into your home aboveground. Leaks can damage the structural integrity of your whole home space. Flooding becomes possible once fissures widen into cracks. Window wells and drains can become blocked with storm detritus that flows in with the water.

The best, most cost-efficient, permanent solution to these concerns depends on what exists below your home’s foundation. For a crawl space, it is encapsulation. For a basement, it is interior basement waterproofing.

Crawl space encapsulation and basement waterproofing permanently prevent additional water from entering the area and causing damage.

These are easier fixes than the old-school traditional approach: installation of French drains, which often clog with soil and back up when you need them most.

Depending on the severity of your water pooling issues, it may also be necessary to dry out and remediate your belowground space. Dehumidifiers can remove excess moisture and allow the structure to dry out fully.

We also recommend repairing any visible, accessible fissures or cracks in your ceiling, walls or flooring to avoid moisture getting trapped behind the waterproofing treatment and continuing to cause structural problems.

For homes with uninsulated or poorly insulated crawl spaces or basements, the best next step is to install special moisture-resistant insulation made for these belowground environments.

Once these fixes have been completed (if applicable), the encapsulation or affordable basement waterproofing treatment can typically be installed in just a day or two.

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Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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5 Essential Foundation Savers for Winter in Ontario

icy downspout by foundation

Whether you have a brand-new home or you live in an older home with uncertain maintenance history, one thing remains the same: your foundation is going to need some help from you to get through the winter.

Winter in Canada is hard on even the most solidly laid foundation! One minute it is super-dry, and the next it is sopping wet. Ice can form and snow can settle in the most inconvenient places and turn into mush.

In this timely post, learn about five essential preventative foundation savers for winter, sent with warm wishes from our family to yours.

Get the Ice Out of Your Gutters and Downspouts ASAP

All those picturesque stalactites of glittering ice on your gutters and downspouts can look oh-so-sentimental on a holiday postcard. But the picture changes as that heavy ice buildup dislodges gutters and downspouts and even your shingles.

For this, there truly is no better preventative aid than de-icing cables. If you don’t have these installed in your existing gutter and downspout system, you can do it at the next thaw. It will help you avoid having to hack apart ice sculptures for the rest of the winter – the cables will literally do the work for you.

If time or budget does not permit the installation of de-icing cables now, your only other option is manual labor. But this is still better and much cheaper than watching your gutter and downspout system come crashing down and having to pay to repair or replace it.

3 Reasons to Keep Vents Clear of Snow and Ice

There are three key reasons you want to be vigilant about clearing away ice and snow that may be blocking your home’s exterior exhaust vents.

1. Avoid a home fire risk

Home fires can occur when the exhaust vents get covered by ice and snow and cannot do their jobs.

2. Guard against mould and mildew

Mould loves moisture and will readily colonize damp vents and spread from there into your home and basement.

3. Keep moisture from making its way into your basement

As ice and snow thaw, moisture often pools at the base of your foundation and enters your basement (more about this in the next section).

Shovel All That Snow AWAY From Your Home’s Foundation

Many homeowners don't realize just how heavy snowfall can be. As winter drags on and more snow accumulates, it is not uncommon to see the weight actually changing the grading around homes!

No one really likes to shovel snow. But your home’s foundation will not thank you for taking this approach. Sooner or later that built-up snow will start to melt and form its own kind of dangerous moat around your home. Before too long, the trapped water will find its own exit, which can send it into your crawl space or basement.

The best way to guard against those melting rivulets running down into your crawl space or basement is actually a multiphase approach.

4 Steps to Full Foundation Protection

While climate change has definitely made winter less predictable than in past decades, we can still count on receiving lots of rain, ice, snow and cold weather.

This makes protecting your home’s foundation a project that will begin to pay off the moment you complete it. These four steps offer instant foundation protection.

1. Enhanced exterior landscape grading

For most homeowners, the first order of business will likely be giving some long-overdue attention to your home’s exterior grading.

If landscaping causes water to pool around your home’s foundation, it is only a matter of time before exterior pooled water becomes interior pooled water.

2. Extended downspouts and gutter guards

As soon as the weather permits, it is smart to check the length of your existing downspouts and extend them to further route melting snow and ice away from your home’s foundation.

In addition to the de-icing cables mentioned here earlier, adding gutter guards can help to keep leaf litter, twigs and other clog-making debris out of your gutters.

3. Crawl space encapsulation

If your home is equipped with a crawl space, you are lucky enough to have easy access to many of your home’s utilities when maintenance is required. But those same utilities also need protection from moisture.

Crawl space encapsulation places a permanent barrier in between incoming moisture and water and the interior workings of your home’s pipes, plumbing, appliances and HVAC system.

4. Interior basement waterproofing

If your home is equipped with a basement, there is a 98 percent likelihood it will take on water in the future. This statistic comes straight from the North American homeowners insurance industry, not from us!

Many homeowners think basement waterproofing requires extensive landscape replacement and expensive upgrades. But interior basement waterproofing requires none of this and takes only a day or two to complete.

Basement waterproofing starts with finding and repairing any existing detectable leaks. It continues with the application of a permanent waterproofing treatment that transforms your basement into a livable space.

Best of all, affordable basement waterproofing can be easily done whether your basement is finished or not.

Get in Touch

Are you concerned about your leaking, creaking, sagging, sloping foundation? We can help! Our fast, free EasyQuote system will deliver your quote asap!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Common Winter Foundation Problems & How to Fix Them

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Winter in Canada is always an event. Even the mildest of Canadian winters is guaranteed to produce plenty of rain, sleet, ice and (often) snow as well.

This coming winter is projected to break new records, with an especially harsh potential impact on Ontario.

Very cold temperatures, storms, ice, sleet and snow are all in the forecast this winter season.

While this can be great news if you are already eyeing the slopes with eagerness, it isn’t quite so awesome for your foundation back at home.

In this post, learn about the most common foundation issues in winter and what to do to fix them.

Warning Signs Your Foundation Is in Trouble

First, you need to learn about the telltale warning signs your foundation will send up when it is compromised.

  • You see new wall, ceiling or floor cracks inside or out

  • Your chimney appears to be leaning

  • Doors, windows and/or drawers won’t open or stay shut

  • Flooring starts to pop up or shift

  • The floor begins to slope or dip.

  • Hot spots start to form in areas on the floor.

All of these warning signals can indicate your foundation is on the move and your home along with it.

Common Winter Foundation Problems

These are some of the most common foundation problems that keep our service technicians busy all winter long.

Frost heaves

If you have never heard the term “frost heave” before now, you are definitely not alone. Yet you are likely already quite familiar with their effect from simply walking around outside in winter weather.

Frost heaves refer to what happens when moisture trapped underneath the soil surface freezes. Frozen water takes up more space than liquid water. If your soil has moisture-retention properties, trapped frozen water can take up a significant amount of space.

This phenomenon earned the nickname of a “heave” because when the water freezes, it pushes out, seeking more space in all directions, including up.

If you’ve ever had the experience of walking across your lawn one day after a storm has produced a noticeable temperature drop in its wake, you might have caught yourself thinking, “Wow – when did this small hill form?” That is how noticeable the impact of a frost heave can be.

Now imagine what happens when the heave occurs near your foundation. The upward, outward soil expansion will place extra pressure on your foundation. This can in turn cause cracks or outright buckling of the cement.

Freeze-thaw cycles

Freeze-thaw cycles affect your foundation a bit differently than do frost heaves. Every foundation and basement space has micro-fissures and tiny cracks, many not even visible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, they are there.

During winter’s thaw cycles, water naturally finds its way inside these tiny apertures and travels as far as it can go. Then when a freeze arrives, that water freezes. It expands and pushes the aperture just that much wider apart.

With repeated freeze-thaw cycles, what was once a microscopic fissure easily becomes a small visible crack that widens further over time.

Soil shifts

Soil shifts are common during severe winter weather. Think back to the last time you went through a major snowstorm. All that snow looked so light and fluffy as it came down. But once it reached the ground and started to pile up, it actually weighed quite a lot! Trees can take some of that weight off, but can withstand lasting damage as a result.

Enter the soil shift. Suddenly, open areas around your home will have to find a way to somehow cope with all that sudden weight. After all, your foundation was only rated to support a home of a certain weight. When that weight limit suddenly increases, your foundation will bear the brunt of the impact.

While shifts of four to eight inches are relatively normal, much greater shifts have occurred during severe storms.

Frozen pipes

Frozen pipes are something every Canadian homeowner understands and dreads. What can make them much, much worse is when a subsequent thaw cycle coincides with another common winter event, the power outage.

If you don’t have a backup sump pump in place, the likelihood of significant basement damage and foundation shifting is high.

How to Fix Winter Foundation Problems

To be honest, we vastly prefer taking a proactive approach for the sake of your wallet and mental health.

No one does well when faced with a wet basement, leaning chimney, sagging crawl space or sloping floor. These are some of the most stressful experiences you will have as a homeowner.

But we also realize that, budgets being what they will, foundation repair may not even be at the top of your list.

Here is what we recommend as a remedy for these types of common winter foundation problems.

Back up your sump pump

The first key thing to do is get your sump pump a backup. A battery-powered or generator-driven backup pump is the key to preventing major flooding catastrophes.

Interior basement waterproofing

With interior basement waterproofing, you can actively repel inward-seeking moisture from hydrostatic pressure, frost heaves, freeze-thaw cycles and other causes.

Upgrade your drainage system

Downspout extensions, refreshed grading, clean and clear window wells and floor drains, and enhanced gutters and downspouts can keep winter water from impacting your foundation.

Insulate those pipes

Finally, you don’t want to head into winter with exposed pipes or unprotected exterior spigots. This may mean insulating exterior-facing walls, adding insulating spigot caps, using space heaters in less accessible places to keep pipes warm or all of the above.

Get in Touch

Are you concerned about the stability of your home’s foundation this winter? Our FREE EasyQuote process is fast and easy!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Winter Is Coming - Is Your Foundation Ready?

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From our experience, foundations don’t like winter much. It’s long and cold, and places tremendous stress on their primary support system: the soil.

Winter is also when homeowners are least likely to notice and correctly identify developing foundation issues.

This makes fall the perfect time to give your foundation that all-important once-over to check for developing cracks, leaks, instability and drainage issues.

With a little time and investment now, you can forestall a potentially devastating situation from unfolding during the most difficult season of the Canadian year.

Fall Foundation Problems to Watch For

These fall foundation problems serve as early warning signs of a more serious foundation problem.

Creaking or squeaking floors

Perhaps the most common earning warning sign is when your floor starts to creak or squeak. This is great when you are planning for your Halloween party, but not so great when your are planning your home maintenance budget.

Unless you have unfinished concrete floors in your home, it is pretty hard to know exactly what is causing these sounds. 

In the best-case scenario, your floorboards are simply getting dry and cold. Winter causes contraction, which can create gaps between the floorboards and supporting subfloor structure.

The worst-case scenario typically involves some combination of shifting soils, rotting joists, cracked concrete or sheet rock and similar issues.

Hot spots

Hot spots in a particular area of your floor can signal an underground plumbing line leak or a burst pipe. The prevalence of frozen, burst pipes in winter can generate a lot of calls to our office!

Sloping floors

When your floor starts to slope, it’s another worrisome indication that your foundation itself may be settling.

When the surrounding soil begins to move, the support your foundation relies on to stay level moves with it. The result is often a floor that slopes.

Sagging crawl space

A sagging crawl space points to a similar change in the surrounding structural support. Older crawl spaces outfitted with traditional ventilation systems (or no ventilation) are often very humid and this can lead to wood rotting.

When the wood joists mould or rot due to contact with moisture, they cannot support your crawl space properly. Sagging is often the result.

Walls bowing inward or outward

A shifting foundation frequently produces a telltale bowing of the walls. Here, identifying what is causing the foundation shift is a critical step in choosing the right repair solution.

Foundation settling, high clay content in the surrounding soil (clay is expansive and holds onto moisture), hydro-static pressure (water pressure from moisture trapped in the surrounding soil) and wall cracks can all cause the appearance of bowing walls.

Leaning chimney

The same types of issues that can cause the walls of your home or basement to begin to bow inward or outward can create a leaning chimney.

This is one of the most structurally dangerous issues for your home and you should not wait to seek a professional’s guidance!

Windows or doors sticking or refusing to stay shut

It is only natural that windows and doors will move a bit over time. But when those that used to function perfectly begin to swing open or stick shut, your home is definitely trying to send you a message!

A shifting foundation is one of the most common reasons that these movable structures stop working properly.

White powdery dust in strange places

One of the strangest sights a homeowner will ever see is “dust” where no dust should ever exist. Sure, you expect to see dust on tables, chairs or windowsills. But in the middle of a wall or floor?

As you might have guessed, this isn’t dust at all. It is efflorescence, a fancy term for what happens when water evaporates and leaves mineral salts residue behind.

Efflorescence, like dust, typically recurs in the same places. Small interior leaks can create a passageway for water to the wall’s surface, where efflorescence will serve as a calling card to let you know water was once there.

Fall Foundation Fixes: What We Recommend

Modern foundation fixes are faster and more affordable than ever before.

But like any repair, the faster you identify and confirm the problem and begin the repair work, the less likely a minor issue is to become a major issue – and a major expense!

The first step is to identify the issue(s) causing structural instability with your foundation, walls or crawl space. Then we can match the fix to the problem.

Wall supports

Wall supports include anchors, braces, reinforcers, piers and jack posts. Each solution is designed to provide support to a key part or the whole wall or floor area.

Our wall support solutions are strong and sturdy, durable and very long-lasting.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing solutions exist for both crawl space and basement moisture problems.

In either case, waterproofing treatment can be applied from the inside, which is particularly ideal in winter when the ground outside is frozen solid and difficult to work with.

In the case of a crawl space that is sagging or rotting, crawl space encapsulation along with insulation and improved drainage is the ideal route to restoration.

For a basement with signs of mould and mildew, cracks, damp or humidity, efflorescence or standing water, interior basement waterproofing typically takes only one to two days and will resolve all of these issues with a single treatment.

Get in Touch

Do you see telltale signs of foundation problems? We can help! Ask about our EasyQuote free no-obligation inspection and repair estimate.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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6 Reasons to Fix That Exterior Wall Foundation Crack Now

foundation crack repair

As a homeowner, you just never know when the day will come that you walk outside, casually glance up at the wall of your house and see a crack. Talk about a recipe for instant stress!

What should you do? Who should you call? How much time do you have before your house falls down?

While the appearance of an exterior wall crack can bring up all of these worries and more, a crack in the early stages is rarely cause for panic. Rather, you can think of it as your home’s early warning system kicking into gear to send up a distress S.O.S. alert before things get any worse.

On that note, the one and only thing you want to make sure you don’t do when you see an exterior wall crack is ignore it. That wall crack is not going to fix itself. It may not get worse anytime soon, but it definitely won’t get any better.

In this article, we outline the most common outcomes we have seen over the years when exterior wall cracks are neglected.

1. What is now a trickle could become a flood

Concrete by its very nature is a porous material. While it is quite popular and affordable for building, and especially for crawl spaces and basements, concrete does have its drawbacks. “Settling” is one of them.

When concrete dries, whether into pre-poured bricks or freshly poured walls, it begins to settle. The settling process often forms very tiny air bubbles and micro-fissures deep in the interior where you can’t see them.

Over time, as the surrounding soil shifts and humidity and moisture seeps in, air bubbles can merge with fissures and turn into small cracks. Pressurized water from the surrounding soil is continually forcing its way in, widening those cracks still further.

When you see a crack pop into view in your exterior (or interior) wall, it is time to take action. Otherwise, if a plumbing pipe bursts, a water main leaks, the water table rises or you have a serious weather event, what is now a trickle could easily become a flood.

2. Trapped water that freezes can expand and widen the crack

You only have to live through one Canadian winter to know they are memorable. Rain, sleet, ice, snow – even a mild winter season delivers them all quite reliably.

When the weather temporarily warms and the ice melts, released water will fill the fissures and cracks in your walls. But as temperatures plunge again, that now-trapped water will freeze, expand, and push the cracks farther apart.

3. Unseen micro-fissures invite mould and mildew growth

As if winter doesn’t bring enough extreme weather to push your home’s structure to its limits, then along comes spring and summer with all that humidity and heat.

Before you know it, the risk of frozen water is replaced with the risk of damp and moisture and mould colonies taking root inside the cracks in your walls.

Over time, you may see the areas around the wall crack starting to turn whitish-brown, greenish-brown or even black, letting you know in no uncertain terms that you have new fungal guests who intend to stay.

4. All insects see is a “Welcome Home” sign

The great wild outdoors is a stressful and often dangerous place to live. The average insect spends as much time each day hiding as it does hunting. And little in life looks quite so welcoming as an exterior wall crack when you are ready to hang it up and catch a break already.

The thing about exterior wall cracks is that they often lead through to interior wall cracks and thus to the inside of your house. If you have ever watched a spider scuttle across the floor or an ant tiptoe along a wall crevice and wondered, “How did THAT get in here?” well, now you know.

5. Moisture from outside can cause rotting wood inside

The mould and mildew we talked about in No. 3 is unwelcome enough. But as an exterior wall crack is allowed to linger over time, and as more moisture seeps inside as a consequence, this can layer on another worry in addition to the resident fungi.

The new worry is rotting wood and drywall. Depending on the type of insulation your home has, you may find the insulation degrading as well as a result of the constant onslaught of moisture and damp.

6. No one loves finding rodents in their basement

From the inside of your home looking out, it may appear as if moisture and water is all too easy to find. There it is again, dripping off your eaves and running in rivulets down your window panes.

But to a wild animal, water can be surprisingly scarce. Finding reliable sources of moisture and water is key to survival, and animals don’t forget their secret sources easily.

Once an exterior wall crack begins to develop, it can become a go-to destination for local wild animals making their rounds. Rodents and small mammals may choose to make their nests nearby, knowing they won’t have to travel far to get their needs met.

More than a few surprised homeowners have awoken in the middle of the night or the early morning to the telltale sounds (and signs) of squirrels in the attic, raccoons in the basement, possums in the crawl space or mice under the sink. Once you have, you are unlikely to ever forget the experience.

How to Fix Foundation Cracks

From wall anchors and braces to reinforcers, jack posts, slab piers, foundation piers, affordable basement waterproofing and more, we have the tools and the technology to fix the cracks that keep you awake at night.

Do you need assistance assessing and repairing exterior cracks in your foundation walls? We can help!

Get in Touch

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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8 Subtle Signs That Youíve Got a Slab Leak (and What to Do Next)

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As a homeowner, you probably already realize you and your home could really use a human-to-home translation dictionary.

This is especially true when it comes to more subtle home problems like slab leaks. In most homes, it isn’t possible to see your foundation slab directly.

Even in homes where this is possible, most homeowners don’t spend a lot of time staring at their foundation assessing its condition!

Slab leaks can be incredibly damaging and costly. Luckily, this is one type of problem in which warning signs appear far in advance of a major water leak. But if you don’t know what you are looking at, you still won’t catch the signs until it is too late.

In this post, learn eight common, subtle signs that you’ve got a developing slab leak on your hands. Also learn what we recommend for how to fix foundation leaks from the inside.

1. Sudden Water Bill Increase

One of the most common causes of slab leaks is a problem with underground water pipes.

Corrosion, abrasion, mineral build-up and rust can lead to pipes leaking. In winter, frozen pipes can burst. Tree roots can also wrap around pipes.

While you probably won’t miss the signs of a major water leak, when the leak is small and developing over time, often the only way you can tell is by watching your monthly water bill.

When it goes up even as your water usage remains the same, this is a sign of a probable leak.

2. Decrease in Water Pressure

Another subtle sign you may have a foundation leak is a decrease in your water pressure. 

Here again, it is most likely a leaking pipe that is to blame.

3. Less Available Hot Water.

When the hot water pipes are compromised, you may notice your hot water supply runs out faster than you are accustomed to.

This is typically not a warning sign you will fail to notice, since no one likes showering in cold water!

However, the real feat is to connect the lack of available hot water with a potential leaking foundation.

4. Hot Water Heater Never Shuts Off

Here again, if you have a leak in one of your hot water pipes, often the only way your home can let you know is by running the hot water heater continually.

It is not normal for the hot water heater to run for hours at a time. If you notice this, it is time to dig deeper and look for a possible slab leak.

5. Hot Spots

Another subtle warning sign of a slab leak that many homeowners miss is the appearance of “hot spots” in places on the floor.

In fact, typically the first family member to notice these is the family pet!

Cats and dogs who enjoy the warmth may change their favorite napping spot and this can be a signal your floor has developed a hot spot and perhaps a foundation leak.

6. Damp or Wet Spots

If there are areas either inside or outside your home that are perpetually damp or wet, this is another possible indication that your slab has developed a leak.

Here, it is especially important to take time regularly to patrol both the outside and inside of your house.

Many homeowners have failed to catch the subtle indication of a developing slab leak because the damp spot was outside on the lawn rather than inside on the carpeting.

7. Cracks

Cracks are never a welcome sign, whether they appear in the wall, floor, ceiling or elsewhere.

Here again, it is important to keep on the lookout for cracks both inside and outside your home and also in your garage or other outlying structures.

Some cracks can be particularly hard to see, especially if your home has multiple stories. A leaning chimney can be another telltale sign that there may be a problem with your foundation’s structure.

As well tiny micro-cracks called fissures are often impossible to see with the unaided eye, especially when they occur deep inside your walls or slab.

One of the subtlest warning signs of all is the presence of efflorescence, a white powdery residue that is left after water evaporates. Efflorescence is made up of water-borne mineral salts and always indicates a leak or crack somewhere nearby.

8. Flooring Starts to Buckle or Rise Up

Whenever you see cracks in tile, laminate, hardwood or concrete flooring, you can be sure that somewhere below there is moisture trying to make its way through.

This is the nature of water and concrete. Water is constantly seeking a way out and through the soil and concrete is naturally porous, so water will always be drawn to concrete.

If you have carpeting, it is far more challenging to see the early signs of a developing crack or slab leak.

But if your carpet suddenly starts to rise up, feels continually damp to the touch, “bubbles” or buckles when you walk across it or smells slightly musty, this can be a sign you have an emerging slab leak.

How to Fix a Leaky Foundation from the Inside

With today’s advanced waterproofing technology, it is surprisingly economical, easy and quick to repair many types of slab leaks.

From damp proofing and moisture barriers to full-on affordable basement waterproofing, most foundation leaks can be fixed in just a day or two.

Of course, the earlier you catch the subtle warning signs, the easier and faster the repairs will be to accomplish!

Get in Touch

Do you suspect you may have a slab leak? With our no-stress EasyQuote diagnostic process, you can have a free, no-obligation repair quote in hand in no time!

Once you know exactly what the problem is, you have the information you need to decide on next steps.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Is Your Foundation Cracked? Types of Cracks & What You Need to Know

foundation crack

Foundation cracks run in all shapes, sizes and directions. Some cracks are so tiny they are hard to see with the naked eye. And some are hidden deep in the interior of your foundation structure, so you may not know they are there.

Since your entire home (not to mention its occupants) depends on having a stable and safe foundation, it is vitally important to learn about the different types of foundation cracks, what they mean, which types are the most concerning and the steps to fix them.

In this post, find out what you need to know about foundation cracks, both those you can see and those you can’t.  

Reasons Why Your Foundation Cracks

There are two basic reasons why your foundation may crack: normal settling over time and abnormal changes that trigger instability.

Normal foundation cracks

Normal foundation cracks especially occur with poured concrete foundations. Concrete is a naturally porous material that shrinks as it dries. This process of drying and shrinking can cause micro-fissures and even small cracks to form.

Frequently, these cracks run diagonally or vertically (in poured concrete foundations) or along block lines (in block concrete foundations).

Cracks due to natural foundation settling tend to stabilize as the foundation dries and also stabilizes. These cracks typically do not grow longer or get wider past a certain point. To monitor cracks you can see, use a pencil to mark their length and width and check back every week or so to see if there have been any changes.

If you do see the cracks growing longer or wider, or if any crack widens to more than one-eighth of an inch across, it is time to call a pro.

Abnormal foundation cracks

In addition to the normal settling process of the typical foundation, cracks can form for other reasons.

One of the most common is when the foundation is being subjected to increased hydrostatic pressure from water trapped in the surrounding soil.

Over time, the soil surrounding your foundation can change in composition or moisture content. Heavy rains, rising water tables, broken pipes, clogged plumbing and other causes can also create increased hydrostatic pressure on your foundation structure.

These types of cracks may suddenly appear in older foundations. Their appearance may be curved, crooked or jagged. Horizontal cracks are among the most concerning types of foundation cracks because they can weaken the foundation structure considerably.

Sometimes newer foundations may also crack horizontally if they have not been properly constructed. Poor-quality building materials, improper grading, inadequate drainage or a missing or malfunctioning sump pump system can all place increased pressure on even the most well-built foundation.

When the foundation structure is weak from the start, dangerous cracks are more likely to form earlier in the foundation’s useful life.

Basic Types of Foundation Cracks

These are the basic types of foundation cracks, along with an explanation of what each one may mean as far as your foundation’s health.

Vertical cracks

Some types of vertical cracks are small and form early in the process of your foundation drying and settling.

But another type of vertical crack can indicate increasing soil pressure or hydrostatic pressure, and these cracks tend to widen and leak over time.

Diagonal cracks

Like vertical cracks, diagonal cracks are often associated with the natural settling process in a newly poured or built foundation.

If the cracks form a “stair step” pattern, this tells you that your foundation was built using bricks and the pressure from exterior soil and water is moving the blocks enough to break them loose from their mortar.

These cracks can widen and turn into leaks over time.

Horizontal cracks

Horizontal cracks typically appear later in a foundation’s life cycle. (When they appear early on, they are most likely a sign of an improperly constructed foundation.)

These cracks can indicate increased hydrostatic pressure from the exterior that is pushing against the foundation structure. Water finding its way through into micro-fissures and narrow cracks left over from the settling process may cause bulges that turn into wider cracks.

Cracks that change direction

Cracks that change direction are indications of foundation damage, often due to hydrostatic pressure as water works its way through the concrete, using micro-fissures and narrow cracks for passageways.

Cracks that widen over time

Any crack that widens over time, regardless of direction or length, should be watched closely.

Cracks that are wider at one end

Cracks that are wider at one end than the other should be watched closely, regardless of which end is doing the widening. These are always signs of foundation damage.

How to Fix Foundation Cracks

Any signs of new foundation cracks deserve your full attention. With small, narrow cracks, it is often possible to watch and wait for some time until you see signs that the cracks are spreading or widening.

But for any crack that exceeds one-eighth of an inch in diameter or that appears to be widening, bowing, sagging, cracking unevenly or moving in a jagged pattern, this is an indication that you need to take action immediately to avoid foundation or basement damage.

Today’s advanced foundation repair technology makes it possible to completely repair most foundation cracks and apply interior basement waterproofing in just a day or two.

Fixing foundation cracks before they get worse can keep a small leak from turning into a flood.

Get in Touch

To learn more about how to fix a leaky foundation from the inside, give us a call.

We will evaluate your foundation cracks for FREE with our no-obligation EasyQuote inspection service!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Early Warning Signs Your Home May Need Foundation Waterproofing

man holding nose due to smelly basement

The health of your home’s foundation basically equals the health of every structure that relies upon it, either from above or below. From your chimney to your basement, your house is only as safe and sturdy as the foundation that connects all its parts together.

This is why it is so essential to remain aware of early warning signs that your foundation may be structurally compromised.

One of the most common issues that arises with foundations, especially if yours is an older home, is moisture seepage. In this post, we review the most common early warning signs that your home may need foundation waterproofing.

1. Increased humidity in your indoor air

There is no doubt that humidity can fluctuate with the seasons here in Canada. And in most houses that have basements, the air is slightly more humid in the basement than it is above ground.

However, as long as your HVAC is working properly, increasing indoor humidity beyond what you have experienced in past years usually points to one culprit: hidden moisture sneaking in through cracks in your foundation.

2. Your floor starts creaking, sagging or sloping

In movies, having an old creaking floor can add a lot of suspense and drama to the storyline. But when it happens in your home, the only drama it adds is the kind that keeps you up worrying at night.

The same holds true if your kids can play-slide down your sloping floor or if there is a nice well in the middle that the family dog enjoys lying in. These are signs your foundation needs repairs.

3. Windows, cabinets or doors stick or won’t stay closed

Do you have a door in your home that won’t stay closed no matter what you try? Or do you dread your morning struggle to pry open the bathroom cabinets?

While it can feel like your home is fighting you, in actuality these are symptoms of a bigger problem – a shifting foundation that is beginning to lean, sag or crack.

4. Cracks begin to appear on inside or outside walls

If you have ever walked into a room in your home only to notice a fresh gaping seam has opened up on a wall or ceiling, you already know how worrisome this can be.

What many new homeowners in particular do not realize is that often a crack on a wall or ceiling points to shifts in the foundation below. And anytime the foundation begins to shift, this opens up micro-fissures that eventually turn into cracks where moisture can easily seep through.

5. Efflorescence shows up on your basement walls, ceiling or floors.

Efflorescence often masquerades as dust, until you realize this “dust” isn’t showing up in the places where dust usually congregates. This is because that white, powdery stuff isn’t dust at all, but rather represents mineral salts left behind as water evaporates.

Efflorescence can show up anywhere there is a fissure or a crack, even if you can’t see where it is coming from. It is a sure sign water is coming through your foundation from somewhere.

6. You find moisture or pooled water inside your home or basement

Once the situation has progressed to the point at which you are actually finding damp walls or floors or pools of water, it is time to sleuth out the source of the leak(s) and make any necessary repairs.

7. Your home and/or basement starts to stink

There is no more obvious – or worse – symptom that your foundation has started to leak than when you start smelling a strange odour in your home, crawl space or basement area.

This odour is most likely arising from mildew or mould spores that have colonized in the damp areas and are beginning to spread. Another, equally unpleasant possibility is that insects or rodents have moved in to take advantage of plentiful moisture.

The Warning Signs You Can’t Detect Might Be Even Worse

Today, there is a growing problem with radon exposure throughout Canada. Radon, an odourless, colorless, naturally occurring gas, is produced when uranium trapped in soil, rocks and water begins to break down.

This natural process of breakdown releases radon gas, which then seeks out areas of lower pressure as it rises upward.

Radon is responsible for a full 16 percent of new lung cancer cases each year – these primarily among non-smokers. When your foundation begins to crack, this makes it even easier for radon to enter your basement and then your home.

How to Fix a Foundation Leak From the Inside

When you see any of the foundation warning signs and problems mentioned here, or others that concern you, it is time to call in a pro.

Waiting is possible in some cases, but you won’t know what your options are until you have the situation professionally assessed.

The good news is, modern foundation repair technology makes even formerly complex repair issues easy, quick and affordable. In the majority of cases, we can have the necessary repairs completed in just a day or two.

Use this simple and quick online form to schedule your free, no-obligation inspection and quote.

Get in Touch

Are you seeing any of the warning signs mentioned here that there is a problem with your foundation? Are you worried that your foundation has started to crack or leak in ways that may compromise your home’s safety and resale value?

We can help! Don’t wait and worry when you can find out your options today – at no obligation to you! Use this simple and quick online form to schedule your assessment and learn what your options are.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Six Reasons You Want to Fix That Cracked Foundation Wall ASAP

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Foundation wall cracks are incredibly common in homes that have basements. When left unaddressed, today’s tiny crack can (and often does) morph into tomorrow’s yawning chasm that then leads to bowed, sagging, leaning and separating foundation walls, pooled moisture and a severely compromised basement space.

The good news here is that you have affordable options to fix cracks in your foundation walls. In this post, learn six reasons why you really want to fix that small crack now before it gets worse!

Why Foundation Walls Form Cracks

What causes cracks to form in your home’s foundation walls? Cracks can actually form for a variety of reasons, but most reasons boil down to uneven pressure combined with inadequate support.

Basement walls face a set of challenges different from those of above-ground home or workplace walls. Because basement walls are surrounded on the outside by soil rather than open air, the pressures they must combat can change quite suddenly.

A single heavy rainfall or a forgotten garden hose left running can create intense hydrostatic pressure as trapped moisture presses against the exterior wall looking for a way out.

As well, over time, changing soil composition, a rising water table, uneven landscape grading or failing drains, window wells and gutters can increase that hydrostatic pressure, forcing basement walls to do even more heavy lifting to hold their place.

As the years go by and the walls themselves begin to degrade, fissures and cracks can form. As these widen, especially along seams and joints, the walls will begin to bow, sag or lean in ways that place pressure on the entire structure.

6 Reasons to Fix Foundation Wall Cracks Without Delay

These are just six of the many reasons you may want to give us a call to get a free, no-obligation inspection and EasyQuote estimate.

1. Cracks mean leaks

Most foundation wall cracks begin as fissures so small it is difficult to see them without a microscope. What widens them over time is the continual hydrostatic pressure and influx of small amounts of moisture.

Concrete is a naturally porous building material that begins to shift and settle organically even as it dries. But the continual pressure of water on these initial micro-fissures inevitably widens them into cracks, which can then become internal basement leaks.

Leaks may initially produce small amounts of humidity or efflorescence (that powdery white residue left behind when water dries and is reduced to mineral salts). But all that can change when severe weather hits or your aging sump pump conks out.

2. Cracks invite mould

For many homeowners, all it takes is mention of one dreaded word, “mould,” to prompt an inquiry about a foundation wall crack repair estimate.

Mould is typically more prevalent in basements than above the ground because conditions are naturally moister, darker and more humid – just the type of atmosphere mould and mildew like most.

Since mould and mildew spores can colonize micro-cracks and often form new colonies behind the scenes in wood or drywall, by the time you discover you have a problem, it may be major rather than minor.

3. Cracks invite visitors

For other homeowners, even the threat of mould may not be sufficient to prompt immediate action to repair foundation wall cracks.

But all that changes at their first sight of a four, six or eight-legged visitor.

To you, wall cracks are problems brewing. But to many inhabitants of this world we share, wall cracks are like welcome signs – opportunity knocking with a deal too good to pass up.

Birds, rodents, flying or crawling insects, snakes and other wild visitors are all too happy to take up residence in handy fissures and cracks, moving deeper inside as cracks widen, until they join you in your home!

4. Cracks won’t fix themselves

A basement wall crack is not going to resolve on its own. It is not always necessary to repair a developing basement crack immediately, especially if it isn’t in the current budget. But it is smart to at least get the crack inspected and have an estimate of repair costs to use for future repair planning.

5. Cracks can lead to structural issues

Cracks can form pretty much anywhere along your basement walls, but some of the more common places include along the outlines of cinder blocks, along wall and floor seams, around windows and doors, and at the seam between wall and ceiling.

Unaddressed cracks can cause walls to bow, sag, slope or even pull away from the rest of the structure.

6. Today’s cracks are less expensive than tomorrow’s wider cracks

We have yet to meet a homeowner who is excited to dig into their home maintenance budget to repair basement wall cracks.

But there can be some satisfaction, at least, in knowing that the cracks you fix today will always cost less than the cracks you neglect that become bigger and more expensive tomorrow.

Get in Touch

Have you noticed warning signs of basement moisture or basement leaks? Do you see small basement wall cracks forming and are you not sure how worried you should be?

We can help. Best of all, we can help for FREE – we never charge to come out and do a full inspection and leave you with a written repair estimate quote.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Is Your Sump Pump Always Running? What You Need to Know Now!

backup sump pump

Sump pumps are one of the more mysterious elements of home ownership.

While most new homes in Ontario have some type of sump pump system, most homeowners (and especially first-time homebuyers) do not realize this may not be enough to protect your home from water damage.

With older homes, sump systems are less likely to be routed properly for new groundwater and runoff management regulations and are even less likely to have a backup system in place.

Understanding what type of sump pump system you have, what it will (or won’t) do if there is a power outage, how water is routed and how the system is supposed to work is critical to avoid damage due to seepage, leaks or outright flooding.

In this post, we talk about what you need to know about your sump system to protect your home and basement.

Sump Pumps Need Regular Maintenance

When was the last time you scheduled a safety inspection and preventative maintenance service for your sump system?

If you recently purchased your home and the previous owner did not provide good records, you may have no idea if this service has ever been done.

Yet sump pumps, just like other major appliances, require regular maintenance to work properly and ward off major repairs and outages. A sump system that is neglected can readily develop leaking seals, a faulty motor or parts that begin to rust or break.

You should schedule an inspection and preventative maintenance at least annually to clean the screen, the pump mechanism and the sump pit. Making small repairs, adding lubrication and adjusting the float can keep small issues from turning into major outages.

Your Sump Pump May Not Work In a Power Outage

Sump systems all too often fall into our “out of sight, out of mind” category – we may not be consciously aware on a day-to-day basis of how frequently our sump system runs or how well it runs.

Yet unless your sump pump has a backup system in place, it will likely fail to work during a power outage, which is often the time you need its protection the most!

There are different types of backup systems you can choose, from simple organic systems powered by water pressure to battery-operated backups and generator-run backups.

The important action is to make sure you have a backup system in place before you need it!

Sump Pumps Shouldn’t Run Continuously

You have a sump pump system in place to keep water from accumulating in your basement. If your sump system is running, this means it is doing its job.

But if your sump pump is running all the time, this in itself is a signal that all is not well in your basement.

A continuously running sump pump system indicates that water is constantly making its way inside your basement. Not only will a constantly-running sump pump experience more wear and tear that can reduce its useful life, but there may come a time when it can no longer keep up with the influx of water.

One of the leading causes of sudden sump system failure is overwork. Your sump pump system should not be running all the time.

There are a number of potential issues that may cause constant water influx, from shifting soil to a rising water table, widening cracks in basement walls or foundations, and more.

What to Do If Your Sump Pump Is Always Running

If your sump pump seems to never stop running, it is time to look deeper to find out why.

Identify leaks and seal them

Identifying separating wall and floor seals, micro-fissures or cracks, blocked wells or broken drains and other causes of chronic moisture influx is vital so that you can take preventative steps to keep this moisture out.

A number of affordable basement waterproofing options exist to reduce the workload and wear and tear on your sump pump system.

In most cases, the most effective approach will be interior basement waterproofing combined with crack or fissure repair as needed.

If you have blocked window wells or drains or your existing exterior gutter and drainage system is allowing water to flow back into your basement, making upgrades can effectively route moisture away and reduce your sump system’s workload.

Ensuring your sump pump has a backup

The next vital step is to make sure your sump pump isn’t alone in its efforts to keep your basement sound and dry.

If your sump pump is older, it may be time to talk about an upgrade to a newer, more efficient and powerful model. Installing a sump pump backup system at the same time can ensure you get the most value out of your new sump long term.

Even if your sump pump still has a lot of useful life left in it, installing a backup system will ensure it won’t fail you when you need it most.

Installing a backup system can not only protect your home today from water damage and flooding, but also enhance the resale value of your property when it comes time to sell.

Get a FREE Book on Dry Basement Science

If you have concerns about a continuously running sump pump or basement moisture, we can help.

Contact us for a FREE no-obligation site inspection and written estimate, plus a free copy of our book Dry Basement Science – What to Have Done and Why.

Get in Touch

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Sagging, Cracking, Leaning Walls or Floors? Your Foundation May Be to Blame!

crack in brick wall

A firm foundation is fundamental for your home. After all, without it, every other structure that holds your house in place, from the crawl space or basement to the walls, ceilings and even the chimney, is at risk.

Yet it isn’t always intuitive to make the connection between structural problems you observe in walls, ceilings, doors, windows or floors and issues with your home’s foundation.

For instance, when a wall cracks, a chimney leans or a floor starts sagging, it can seem a world away from the foundation.

But these are exactly the kinds of common warning signs that arise to let you know your foundation needs some long-overdue attention!

Cracks in the Walls

Seeing a crack in the wall can be alarming. Instantly, the sense of security you felt evaporates. You start to wonder what’s causing it and then worry your home will fall down around you.

While most wall cracks appear to deliver a milder warning, if left unchecked, they certainly can cause a wall collapse as they widen and worsen.

Walls Bowing In or Out

If wall cracks are alarming, then the sight of a wall leaning inward or outward is downright horrifying. Most often, the cause is soil expansion.

Your soil type can also play its part in putting extra pressure on walls. Some soils are particularly absorbent and expansive (clay soil is an excellent example) and can trap moisture next to your basement walls.

If this moisture cannot dissipate naturally, or if it freezes (called “frost heaving”), it can expand in the soil further and cause more extreme wall movement.

Chimney Leaning

Perhaps the most terrifying sight of all is when you look at your chimney one day and notice it has started to lean. This is especially the case when the chimney leans away from (rather than toward) the rest of your house!

Without correction from the foundation up, a leaning chimney can actually separate completely from the house structure and cause a tear all the way down to the basement floor level.

Cracks in the Brick

The two most common types of cracks in bricking are bottom-up and top-down. Where it starts and the direction the crack moves has everything to do with how your foundation is moving.

Cracks in the Floor

Floor cracks may be hard to spot in the early stages, especially if you have overlay such as tile, wood or carpeting obscuring the concrete.

These types of cracks are easier to see if you have an unfinished basement with a concrete floor.

Floors Begin to Slope

A simpler way to detect foundation movement is if formerly even floorspace begins to slope downward in one direction.

At first, walking across a sloping floor can feel like your sense of balance playing tricks with you. But over time, this slope becomes more radical and you no longer doubt it is real.

Windows and Doors Stop Working

When the foundation becomes sufficiently compromised, secondary symptoms will start popping up inside your home.

Two of the most common of these symptoms are when windows or doors either start sticking and won’t open properly or when they refuse to stay closed.

Other similar symptoms include cabinets and countertops that begin to separate from the wall and cabinet drawers that won’t open or won’t stay shut.

White Residue on Walls or Floors

When your foundation becomes compromised through micro-fissures and cracks, this often allows moisture to seep through.

While you may not see the damp or standing water, this moisture will leave behind a calling card—a white powdery residue called “efflorescence.”

Efflorescence looks so much like dust that at first you may not realize what you are looking at. But when the dust appears in places that normally don’t get dusty and it keeps recurring, it is quite likely not dust at all but evaporated mineral salts the water carried in with it.

Affordable Foundation Solutions

It’s not fun to realize your formerly solid foundation is starting to develop problems. Yet foundation issues are incredibly common especially as a home ages.

As well, the vast majority of home foundation problems arise from changes to the surrounding soil—shifting or sinking soil, expanding (moisture-laden) soil, contracting soil due to erosion or drought, changes to the water table that then changes the home’s grading, blocked or broken drains, and more.

The most important thing to remember is that foundation issues do not ever correct themselves. Rather, they typically get worse over time. The longer a foundation problem goes unaddressed, the more challenging and expensive the solution tends to become.

The good news is, foundation repair technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the last decade. Today’s foundation repairs are quicker, cheaper and longer-lasting as well as much more aesthetically appealing.

The best news of all is that affordable foundation waterproofing solutions can prevent moisture seepage from returning to undo all the good work of past repairs.

By combining foundation waterproofing with crack repair and structural support, you protect your home in the present and enhance its future resale value as well.

Wall anchors, braces and reinforcers; pier and slab foundation support; crawl space jack support; moisture barrier; and waterproofing can be applied as needed, separately or in combination, to repair existing foundation problems and prevent their recurrence.

Get in Touch

Have you noticed any of the warning signs mentioned in this post happening to your home? Are you worried your foundation may not be as sturdy as you’d hoped? Complete this simple, secure online form for a free, no-obligation inspection and quote!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Help! My Basement Wall Has a Crack! An Expertís Take On What To Do First

basement crack what to do first

When you own a home, you never know when the day may come that you walk into your basement and notice one of your walls has developed a crack.

Even though finding a crack in your basement wall is always going to be stressful, it can help to know this is actually quite common.

This is especially the case in older homes and in those built on unstable terrain where soil has a high natural moisture content, such as near the beach. But any home can develop a crack in the basement wall given sufficient time and the right types of pressure.

What is important is not to panic, but to take a deep breath and follow the steps we outline in this post.

4 Types of Basement Walls

There are four basic types of basement walls used in residential construction today.

Poured concrete wall

The most common type is the poured concrete wall. As the name indicates, a poured concrete wall is created by pouring wet concrete into some type of wood or metal frame and allowing it to set.

Concrete block wall

The second most common type of wall is the concrete block wall, also sometimes called the cinder block wall or masonry block wall. The name gives its structure away—these are pre-made stacked blocks held together with mortar.

Solid concrete wall

Another relatively common wall type is the pre-made solid concrete wall. With this type of wall, the concrete is poured to set ahead of time and the drywall is then transported to the building site and set into place.

Brick, stone, clay wall

Brick, clay and stone walls are no longer common, but are still found in vintage and historic homes with basements.

3 Types of Basement Wall Cracks

Basement wall cracks can happen for a variety of reasons. However, there are three main categories of triggers for the majority of basement wall cracks.

Shrinkage

Shrinkage describes what happens when a poured concrete wall starts to dry. Some amount of shrinkage is to be expected as the poured concrete dries, even under optimal weather and “curing” (concrete drying) conditions.

However, a number of variables can interact to create less than optimal conditions for curing a newly poured concrete wall. Dramatic temperature shifts, sub-optimal concrete mixes, super-wet or dry conditions and other factors can impact how much shrinkage occurs and how that shrinkage affects your basement walls.

Settling

Settling is what happens when your basement walls begin to interact with the surrounding soil or water table.

This might happen over time as a result of shifting terrain or changing water table levels or soil composition. Or it could happen more rapidly after a severe weather event such as a major flood.

Movement

Movement can include settling. When the surrounding soil and terrain shifts, this can cause your basement walls and foundation to shift.

Poor drainage, blocked window wells or inadequate landscape grading can also cause hydrostatic pressure against one or more basement walls, causing them to bow inward or outward, lean, tilt or bulge.

3 Steps to Take After Noticing a Basement Wall Crack

First and foremost, what you need to know is that any crack in your basement wall always carries a message with it. Your job is to decode the message your basement is sending you and that will tell you what steps to take next.

1. Call in the pros

Unfortunately, most homeowners know little if anything about deciphering basement wall crack messages. For this, you will want to bring in an expert who can examine the crack in detail, figure out how it may have formed and what, if any, action needs to be taken next.

Some cracks are relatively normal, even unavoidable. Shrinkage-related cracks, for example, will nearly always happen when your basement walls are constructed from poured concrete. The goal here is to minimize the shrinkage, not eradicate it entirely.

But other cracks are more serious, even if they don’t always look serious. Some basement wall cracks are so slight they are almost impossible to see with the naked eye, and you can detect them only when a white material called “efflorescence” starts to form near the crack. Efflorescence is a build-up of mineral salts left behind when seeping moisture evaporates.

2. Evaluate your options

Basement experts have all kinds of wonderful technology that can help diagnose what is causing basement cracks, how serious those cracks may be and the best corrective options.

Many homeowners are quite reluctant to reach out to an expert, thinking it will lead to thousands of dollars in basement repair expenses. The important thing to remember here is that you simply need to know what is wrong. You don’t necessarily need to take action to fix it right away.

Some cracks are relatively minor and may only require the help of a dehumidifier to extract excess moisture to prevent mould and mildew growth. For cracks that do represent significant structural impact, the more you can learn about what has caused the crack, the better you can plan ahead and budget to fix it.

3. Create your corrective plan of action

All kinds of creative options are available today to fix foundation cracks.

Sometimes the simplest option is affordable basement waterproofing, which effectively seals up your basement walls and foundation from the inside against cracks and the resultant leaks.

Sometimes a two-step approach is required—first repairing cracks by installing supportive wall anchors, braces or reinforcers and then applying basement waterproofing to prevent additional moisture from entering your basement space.

Get in Touch

Are you concerned because you have recently found evidence of a basement wall crack or moisture seepage inside your basement? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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