There is a common saying in the concrete industry, “Concrete Cracks”. Cracking is a part of the curing process, as concrete will shrink as it cures causing cracks to form. As a result, it is common to find cracks in concrete walls and floors. In fact, it is very difficult to find a concrete wall or floor that does not have a crack.
Cracking is also caused when a new house settles into the ground after it is build. Cracks due to settling will often leak in times of heavy rain or in areas with high water tables.
There are other reasons for concrete cracking, but the above two are the most common that a home owner will come across and usually can be repaired at a reasonable costs.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q. I Found a crack in my basement wall… is it serious?
What makes a crack serious?
I define a serious crack which is better describes as a structural crack, as it poses a risk to the structure. Structural cracks can cause problems in the house where doors and windows do not open and shut, and large cracks appear in the drywall. Structural cracks are often very expensive to repair, and can devalue your house significantly. The good news is that most structural issues are dealt with in the first 5 years of a new house and is covered by a new home insurance program offered by builders. Structural cracks are rare, but in the event you are one of the unlucky people who have such a problem with your house, you will be very happy that you have this type of insurance.
Cracks that are not structural, are not serious, and can be repaired at a reasonable expense. While these cracks are not serious structurally, they can cause major problems. Flooded basements for example, can cause water damage to finished basements and belongings, costing lots of money to fix and replace. Typically, this is not covered by insurance, and the owner is left to cover the cost. Best to inquire with your insurance company before you have water issues. Make sure you clarify the difference between a sewer back up and a foundation leak, because insurance usually will cover a sewer back up but not damage from a foundation leak.
Cracking in a basement floor are common, and unless you have water issues or your floor has dropped or sunk, it is not worth repairing unless there is a cosmetic reason to do so.
Q. Do I need a sub pump?
Installing a sump pump can be a delicate topic. I have seen situations where some of my clients have installed a sump to correct for a leak in a wall, only to find out the hard way that it is very rare that installing a sump will work for a wall that is leaking.
My rule of thumb is you only need a sump pump when the water is coming up from under the basement floor. Cracks in the foundation wall should be repaired using urethane injection or membranes.
Sumps are used to get rid of water from under the floor in conjunction with a weeping tile system where water is drained through the weeping tile that is connected to a sump pump. Weeping tile should be installed around the outside perimeter of the house. Most new houses have weeping tile systems installed at the time of construction.
I should mention that I have seen countless sump pit installed in houses to get rid of water from collecting under the floor, which have kept basements dry without any issues. Upon saying that, you should be aware that there is a danger in locations where certain types of soft soils or soils with silt can be washed away from under the footing of the house. Installing a sump pump can create situation where the sump will cause or accelerate the erosion of this soil.
Q. I heard that you can only repair a crack from the outside? Right?
Once upon a time, this was a true statement. With the advancement of newer technology, this is no longer true. It all depends on the method of repair. For example, if you are using a membrane or a patch, the repair should be done on the outside of the wall.
If you are using the urethane injection method, it does not matter which side of the wall you are working from, as the crack is filled with urethane, and this can be accomplished from either side of the wall. Actually, it is often easier from the inside as the wall because the area is clean and hairline cracks are more visible. Hairline crack are often missed from the outside as dirt and tar can hide the crack.
Q. What is better, hydraulic cement or urethane?
Both can work, depending on the circumstances. The advantage of urethane over hydraulic cement is that urethane is pliable. In other words, it can tolerate some flexing, expanding and contracting without breaking the seal. Hydraulic cement cannot tolerate any movement without cracking.
This is an important distinction, as most foundations move, either with frost or as water tables rise and fall. If the area of repair does not need to more (such as an area of honeycomb ) either method will work. Dyna-Crete uses both products successfully, choosing the right product for the right application, but will default to urethane in situations where both are acceptable.
Q. Is urethane safe for my home?
The urethane used by Dyna-Crete has an NSF 61 rating, meaning it is suitable for use in potable water locations. It is non toxic.
If you have any questions that are not answered, please feel free to contact us.