In this episode of Your Home’s Foundation, Ruth Frey interviews Dan and Suze Straw of Better Basement Technologies to discuss basement foundations. They explore the reasons behind basement leaks and cracks, and the common ways to fix basement foundation issues. Read a summary of the video below, and watch the full version to gain a comprehensive understanding of basement foundations.
Droughts Impacting Foundations
Homeowners are experiencing water where there wasn’t water before because of the differences in soil conditions. Basement wall cracks are resulting from the soil shifting, and homeowners are primarily concerned with the appearance of the water in their house.
Basement cracks are primarily a concern because cracks can lead to structural problems. Even very small cracks can grow and evolve over time into much larger cracks. When the cracks get large enough, the foundation can break. That’s when homeowners will begin to notice windows sticking, doors not sliding, and things like that. It can be a serious situation.
There are cracks that are not a threat to a home’s foundation, and these are referred to as natural cracks. Sometimes when there is settlement, simply repainting the sheetrock can be an easy fix. Cracks can still tell a story, and when an inspector completes the inspection it can be great news to let a homeowner know that the cracks in their basement are not a threat to their home’s foundation.
Repairing Your Foundation
Predominantly, homeowners will be concerned with the costs. When a basement leak or crack has existed for an extended period of time without being repaired, the costs can increase. If you catch a problem quickly however, costs can be much more manageable.
The first step is to make the call to your local CHANCE foundation repair expert at 855-477-2121. They will be able to come out, inspect the issue and make appropriate recommendations for the fix.
How Far Does Foundation Damage Reach?
If a homeowner see’s their neighbor repairing their foundation, they might think they also have a failing foundation. This is usually not the case. Soils can change considerably from place to place, even in the same neighborhood. It’s the soil that’s far underneath the house that can impact the foundation, not the topsoil at the surface.
Cracks in Drywall
Dan and Suze distinctly remember one incident when a homeowner called reporting he was able to see daylight in his basement with no windows. Upon inspection, Better Basement Technologies was able to determine the corner of the home was settling. Because the walls were concrete, something had to give and the footing began to drop. This caused the form joint (in most homes, there is a form joint every 32 inches) to separate, allowing the daylight in and causing extreme cracks in the basement walls.
A cheap fix would be to put a foundation support under the corner of the house, however if treated this way the cracks can still continue around the house and throughout the entire basement. In the case in particular, it was best to waterproof the basement with a rubber membrane, because a crack cannot be 100% sealed. The rubber membrane allows the water to drain into a sump pump, and the basement can then remain dry throughout the remainder of the life of the house.
Sump Pumps in Basements
Just in the last 15 years, it has become an industry standard to include a sump pump in a home’s basement. Mainly due to the major droughts, there has been an extreme amount of water leaking in basements and sump pumps are the most effective solution to divert water and keep basements dry.
In the past, specialists were using rock and tile to divert water. Even codes are slow to keep up with the times, and allow for basements to have a tile and rock drainage system. Better Basement Technologies uses a much more reliable system of lifting the tile off the ground, ensuring water can easily be diverted to a home’s drainage system. Unfortunately, the majority of homes with a rock/tile type of drainage system will eventually experience a leak.