Basement Foundation Cracks When To Worry

Basement Foundation Cracks: When To Worry

Basement walls made of brick often reduce in size when they eventually get to dry. This reduction in size sometimes leads to the formation of cracks in walls and floors made from concrete. It is vital to monitor walls for cracks and take action when they become too broad. Caution is mandatory since a crack may grow with time and pose a danger to property and human life. Some cracks might take some time to be declared as dangerous while others require immediate action to guarantee the safety of the connected structures and property or life nearby. Read on to learn on when to worry;

When you find Horizontal cracks

If you notice a crack in your basement, it is crucial to measure its width using a ruler or tape measure. If you realize that the rack measures more than half an inch and the crack keeps opening up, call a qualified engineer to evaluate the crack and reinforce the walls as soon as possible. If there is a horizontal crack in the lower or bed joint of a brick in the basement wall, chances are the wall is being subjected to immense pressure from the soil outside the basement. This pressure often tends to increase if ignored and could lead to a total collapse of the wall with the cracks. The horizontal cracks signify a forceful push that might lead to eventual bending or breaking of the entire wall.

When you notice vertical cracks

Vertical cracks that appear to be wider or more prominent at the top and narrower at the middle and bottom levels can also be classified as dangerous. They often occur when the foundation of the basement is dropping, or the mid-section of the foundation is giving in to pressure and is heaving. If you observe the lower end of the crack is more extensive than the upper levels, then the foundation is heaving, and the mid-section is dropping. Once you notice this kind of cracks in your basement, it is essential that you empty the basement and immediately call construction engineer to assess the situation and handle the cracks before they cause structural collapse and loses of property and life.

Don’t Sweat It

However, some cracks are not much of a threat, and you shouldn’t be alarmed when you spot them. If you see an angular crack within 16 inches from the top of a brick wall, there is no need to panic. These cracks are often caused by expansion and contraction of the bricks during the summer and winter seasons respectively. Cracks that are on the inner sides of your walls just  above doors and windows are also not dangerous. They are merely indications of temperature changes in the atmosphere. The sizes of these cracks may increase or decrease based on the apparent temperature changes. Cracks on the floor of your basement should not be cause for alarm unless they exceed the ½ inch mark. It is advisable to wait for close to one year before filling them up with urethane caulk for aesthetic restoration.

Most constructions built by concrete age with time and become weaker in the process. The surest sign of weakness in many instances is the presence of cracks. You should be keen on the basement walls as well as the floor to notice potentially disastrous cracks. Make sure you call a qualified construction engineer as soon as you see a crack in the brick and mortar walls measuring more than ½ an inch. Avoid trying to fix the cracks on your own if you are not an expert. You might cause extra strain on the structure and endanger life and property.

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