Walking into a pool of water in your basement can be very worrying for any homeowner. Aside from the obvious water damage, this can indicate you’re dealing with a serious basement floor crack. If the floor of your basement is compromised, this can mean your home’s structure, the air quality within the house, and the overall safety of the home’s living conditions are about to take a nosedive. That needs immediate repair.
Even if you’re dealing with a lesser issue, like minor cracks along the basement floor, this should not be ignored. Little cracks indicate that a large issue is brewing. That may concern your home’s soil, the foundation itself, its waterproofing measures, and even the overall structural integrity of your house. Catching this problem quickly may seem disheartening, but it’s a great thing. By addressing the problem now, you can avoid costly repairs or even full replacements down the road!
At Innovative Basement Authority, we can help. We use the very best products to not only repair cracked basement floors but also safeguard the home for you and your family.
What Can Cause Basement Floor Cracks?
Cracks in your basement floor may seem negligible, especially if they’re minor. After all, you can typically use a basement that has cracks the same way you would a normal one, painting over the damage, placing flooring over top of it, or even using a rug to hide the cracks. However, doing so would be a serious mistake.
If basement floor cracks are left unrepaired, they can quickly spiderweb into a wider array of cracks. This will be aesthetically displeasing and damage the waterproofing of your basement. Worse yet, it doesn’t address the root cause of why your floor is cracking. Here are those causes and why you should be concerned.
- Shrinking Concrete
When concrete is prepared, it is made up of concrete powder and water. After it is poured, the concrete will dry out and harden. When the concrete dries out, it will begin to shrink. If the worker who poured your concrete floor did so incorrectly, you may be dealing with the leftover damage.
With that said, it’s not always human error. Even if your floor is poured correctly, it may still be vulnerable to shrinkage later in its life. Severe temperature changes may cause the concrete to shrink and expand.
Concrete will shrink when exposed to extremely low temperatures and then expand when the temperature is high. This expanding and contracting doesn’t translate well into a solid object like a concrete slab.
Although cracks caused by shrinkage are generally not a sign of structural damage, they should never be overlooked. They can allow moisture to enter the basement, which can cause flooding, mold, and provide an entryway for insects.
Concrete slabs are likely to crack when they begin to settle. The cause of settlement is when the soil supporting the weight of your home shifts because it is unable to bear the load. This may be exacerbated by extreme weather conditions or the soil type underneath your home. Likewise, moisture in the earth or the roots of trees and bushes may cause the home to settle.
Aside from cracking your basement floor, this settlement may also cause gaps to form between the walls and the floor. The wall can even separate or form wide cracks along with their corners and edges. This will eventually impact your doors and windows, causing them to stick when being opened or closed.
These are very serious issues that will worsen over time. Cracks will become more extensive, which can result in the need for expensive repairs to the foundation of the home. You may even need to completely redo any waterproofing measures you had in place.
- Cold Weather
Cold weather brings with it one of the main causes of cracks in your basement floor. Frost heave is a result of the soil freezing and then thawing out. The soil first expands, then compresses, resulting in a shift. This movement causes cracks in the basement floor, in the same way that settlement does.
Frost heave is easily identifiable since it will mostly affect your support columns. You’ll discover cracks stretching out across your floor, originating from this spot. Because support columns bear the weight of the home, they put the most pressure on the soil in those areas. If the soil is going to shift, it will do it here first.
- Heavy Machinery
The use of heavy machinery in your area can cause vibrations that may crack your basement floor. These are usually caused by road work or work on underground plumbing. This construction work will jar the soil, your walls, and your floors. If there are any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the floor, it will begin to crack.
This indicates there was a problem brewing in your floor for a long time. After all, your foundation should be able to withstand these vibrations without being damaged.
Like heavy machinery, earthquakes are another leading cause of cracks in your floor. Vibrations and the full shift of the earth will cause damage, perhaps even splitting your entire floor in two.
Although less prominent, other natural disasters may cause the same type of damage. These include tornadoes, gale-force winds, heavy rainfall, and monsoons. If you’ve experienced a heavy storm in your area, and suddenly find your basement floor damaged, these two events are likely connected.
How Can You Spot Basement Floor Cracks Early?
Catching damage early means repairing damage early, saving you time, money, and the structural integrity of your home. With that said, you may not inspect your basement that often. For most homeowners, there is no need to spend time in the basement other than to store old items or products that are used seasonally. That leaves you to find the damage once it’s already escalated.
To catch it early, you should:
- Inspect your basement once every three months. Take a moment to look over the floor, check the seams between the walls and ceiling, open and close windows, and hunt for any cracks.
- Check for cracks after storms. Heavy wind may not affect your basement, but it will affect the trees around you. If their roots span underneath your foundation, any harsh weather may have caused the soil to shift. That’s not to mention general water damage caused by storms.
- Look for signs with sudden temperature changes. If you’ve had a hard frost or heatwave over the last few days, take a peek at your basement flooring. The concrete may have suffered from expanding and contracting soil.
How to Know If You Need Repairs
Of course, it’s tempting to overlook damage if it doesn’t immediately affect you. If a random storm caused a hairline crack to develop across your basement floor, you may think it negligible. In some cases, it can be. In other cases, it’s detrimental. That’s why it’s important to reach out to a professional in any case. They can conduct a free inspection, where they can identify:
- If the crack just needs to be filled in
- If there is any underlying damage that needs to be repaired
- If the crack indicates worse problems developing, which need to be addressed
Unless you are a trained expert, it is tough to diagnose the severity of any damage to your basement floor. You may overlook a serious problem, which can only escalate into more costly repairs.
The Dangers of Floor Cracks
No matter the size of the crack, act immediately. The problem with cracks is they can expand overnight. What seems like nothing can be much more severe than the untrained eye will ever realize. It could lead to:
- Water Damage and Pests
Basement floor cracks allow moisture and pests into the home, which can become a big problem. Water can cause structural damage, as well as mold and rot. An insect infestation in your home is always best avoided; not only are they unsanitary, but their removal can be very costly.
- Wall Damage
Floor cracks may eventually extend to your wall. As the strength of the floor gives in, the walls will then begin to suffer by:
- Forming cracks of their own
- Leaking during rainstorms
- Bowing or tilting
- Collapsing inward
Cracks that appear around support beams or posts in the basement are a sure sign of structural issues. They will often form a circle around the load-supporting beam, which can indicate settling under the surface. Be vigilant of cracked or heaved concrete in the basement that seems to form a pattern. This can be a sign that your home’s foundation may require moving and major repairs, including the installation of a foundation pier system.
Basement Floor Crack Repair
A crack in your basement floor not only harms your waterproofing measures, should you have any. It may also indicate that there is structural damage to the foundation of the home. When there is structural damage, this will manifest as issues throughout the rest of your home, not just the basement.
- Wall Cracks
If the cracks in the basement floor are linked to structural damage, then your walls are about to suffer next. After all, they rely on the foundation, the floor, and their supports to keep them fixed in place. If one or more of these factors deteriorate, they will be exposed to a lot of pressure. This will cause hairline cracks or large fissures to stretch across the walls.
The cracks in the wall will usually start at the edges and corners before spreading across other areas. Wall cracks are often an indicator that the wall itself is either bowing or tilting. If there are wall cracks that run simultaneously with the floor crack, you should have this checked by an expert immediately.
- Uneven Floor
Uneven floors don’t always cause basement cracks. However, the same factors that lead to cracks may also lead to your floor becoming uneven. For example, a sunken foundation, bowing foundation wall, or tree roots may have caused the concrete to break. While it does, it may also push the slabs up, creating an uneven basement floor. This unusually manifests well toward the center of the room.
All these issues must be corrected immediately. Not only is an uneven floor dangerous, just like floor cracks, but it indicates a bigger issue is at hand. An uneven floor can be repaired by a foundation pier system, which is installed deep underground to take advantage of the more stable soil. These systems effectively stabilize the foundation of the home and help eliminate any issues in the future. A perfect foundation will also add value to your home.
While it may be tempting to apply DIY repairs, they will be ineffective. Without the right equipment and experience, you cannot properly fix the cracks.
- The Danger of Filling Alone
The least you can do is fill them. While this will cover the aesthetic damage, it won’t prevent the cracks from expanding over time. It will also not prevent water from finding other ways into your basement through the damaged floor or even crack the putty itself.
After that, putting up a crack will not take care of structural damage, prevent that crack from escalating, or fix the original problem. That will only result in more costly repairs in the future, not to mention present a risk to your family’s health and safety.
- Crack Repair
Repairing a crack in your basement floor isn’t just merely filling it; it is ensuring that you eliminate the core problem. A professional will take the time to thoroughly inspect the home to find the cause of the issue, then apply repairs, replace damaged structures, and install the right solutions. Innovative Basement Authority’s work also comes with a guarantee, so you can be sure the fixes are designed to last.
This process could mean installing a corrective system for your floors or walls, waterproofing your basement, or putting foundation stabilizers in place. These procedures cannot be undertaken by yourself, or by an untrained professional.
What Can Be Done to Repair Basement Floor Cracks?
The good news is quality repairs can not only repair the damage. They can also safeguard your home against secondary issues, like flooding, mold, pest issues, and foundation damage. When you call a professional from Innovative Basement Authority, our team can assess your unique problem and implement one of the following solutions.
- Install an Interior Perimeter Drainage System
The biggest issue with floor cracks is the water seeping into the basement. This water will be intercepted by installing an interior perimeter drainage system before it ever reaches the floor crack. This will ensure that the basement floor remains dry, which will stop any mold build-up from the moisture.
If a more direct drainage system is required, then we can install a drainage channel. The direct drainage system means installing a PVC line to direct all water to a sump pump. This machine will then be charged with removing water and helping to maintain humidity levels throughout your basement. A quality sump pump can be installed while repairs are being made to your basement floor cracks.
- Crack Repair
To address the crack itself, our professionals will ensure that the area is completely free of all debris, including broken pieces of concrete. There must be no dust, oil, or dirt on the surface of the floor, and a vacuum can be used.
In the case of a small crack, a concrete patch can be applied to fill the hole. A putty knife is used to smooth over the surface, and this is allowed to dry. A second layer may be required in some cases, which can be applied once the first layer has dried. After the sealant has been placed, it needs to be left for several days to ensure it dries properly.
Use Innovative Basement Authority to Repair Your Basement Floor Cracks
When it comes to your home, you deserve peace of mind. That’s why we offer a free inspection and estimate, so you can understand the type of corrections and repair your basement needs before we start. We use the latest and greatest, with proven techniques and systems to repair cracks in basement floors and ensure that they will not return. Innovative Basement Authority offers a guarantee that our work is done right the first time.
We believe that a relationship with our customers is of the utmost importance. Because of this, we will never say a project is finished until the customer is 100% satisfied. After the work is done, we stay in contact with our customers, who can call us with any questions they may have at any time. Get in contact to learn how we can help your home be safer, more secure, and ready for the future.