Get that Basement Wall Assessed!
When damage appears on basement walls, usually in the form of a crack, homeowners fear that their property will have to undergo extensive repairs, that include costly excavations or even a complete replacement of the wall. In some instances, extensive repairs are required. However, there a few techniques that could save you the hassle. The most important thing is that you know what you are dealing with. Having your contractor asses the damage is the smart choice.
The Logic behind the Damage
If you think about it, basement walls are unsung heroes. They are underground for the most part! They are charged with keeping the ground out of your basement and your house. This means that enormous and unbalanced forces press on them constantly. This is made worse with clays, which take up a lot of moisture and expand. Now, Portland has a good loam so the situation is not terrible, but ground expansion does happen in this area nevertheless. If the expansion is too great for the wall to handle, it can bump or bulge.
During the summer months, the ground loses water so the ground tends to shrink. If the aggregate that was used to fill the outside of the basement wall was not correctly compacted, then voids are created. These will eventually cause the wall to crack. A cracked basement wall will let moisture in and it could seep during the wetter months.
What Repair Options Are Out There?
Small cracks can be filled with polyurethane foams, to prevent leaking. These cracks can also be repaired with concrete. You should keep in mind that if the crack keeps getting bigger, it shifts, or it is larger than 1/16”, you need to call your contractor and get it assessed.
If the wall is bulging, or has suffered structural damage, steel beams can be anchored to the foundation. These are then pushed against the wall with hydraulic jacks. The result is that the beams press against the basement wall and level the forces that are making it bump. Depending on the damage, your contractor might need to excavate the outside of the wall. This might sound like a huge inconvenience, but the repair can be done relatively fast and without disrupting the family life much.
Your should discuss your options with your contractor. The repair might be a lot less intrusive than you think, and addressing this problem now could save you a lot of headaches in the future.