Basement foundations are most common in the North and East, although there are basements in many other places throughout the country. It all depends on the makeup of the soil. They are also common in areas that have storms and tornados for safety from the weather. They are a great way to expand living space because finishing a basement is one of the least expensive ways to expand your home. Basements have many benefits ranging from extra living space to extra storage space, but they can also be a source of many foundation issues depending on the age of your house and the location it was built.
Bowing Basement Walls: Many places where basements are utilized, both residentially and commercially, are areas that see a lot of wet weather, or are around large water sources that flood. When water builds up in the soil around a basement foundation it causes hydrostatic pressure to build up around the walls. The walls will bow in or lean in under that pressure. If left untreated, the walls will eventually crack. Water will find its way in through cracks and cause your basement to be wet, humid, and musty.
Basement Wall and Floor Cracks: When the soil around the foundation is not compacted properly or is of poor quality, then the weight of the foundation or structure above it can push down, causing settlement, sinking, and shifting. Cracks are a common issue, and not all cracks are a sign of something serious. However, they shouldn’t be taken lightly either. Water can make its way in through cracks causing humidity, flooding, or even mold. The bigger problem is that some cracks are a sign of foundation problems. Cracks should be checked by a foundation specialist to confirm if they are a sign of foundation problems right away before they become a larger issue.
Sinking Basement Floors: The ground beneath some basement foundations can actually be loose, non-compacted soil. In the worst cases, the floor of the foundation can actually sink, causing damage all the way up the structure. Doors and windows can stick, not open and close properly. You can find cracks in tiles, walls, drywall, mortar and brick, garage columns, and wall joints. A sinking or settling foundation is a serious foundation problem that should be inspected and treated immediately.
Mold and mildew: Water in the basement can be a serious health risk. As much as 50% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your basement. If mold and mildew are present, then it is likely in the air you breathe. Basement waterproofing solutions including sump pumps, interior and exterior drainage, surface drainage, and more can prevent water damage and future foundation issues as well.
If wall cracks and bowing walls are your problem, it might be suggested that helical piers or helical tieback anchors are a good solution. These are piering products that add strength to stability to bowing and leaning walls. The cracks in the walls and also floor cracks can be filled with polyurethane or epoxy resins. The resin will expand to fill the crack and seal it. If you are also having problems with water in your basement or a damp basement, vapor barriers can be installed to lock out moisture and prevent mold and mildew. If the problem is related to foundation settlement, a different underpinning solution might be suggested. Steel push piers can be installed beneath foundations to add lift and support. These are a long lasting, permanent solution for foundation settlement. It can help you preserve the value of your home or business.
If you notice any of the problems above with your basement foundation, it is very important to have an inspection of your foundation by a foundation professional. My Foundation Repairs has a network of foundation repair experts and engineers to assist. By having a professional inspect your basement you can catch problems before they become foundation failure. Your home or business is likely your biggest investment, and you can protect your investment by keeping your basement foundation in good shape. Call today to learn more about how to find a foundation expert near you and get a free inspection.