Why are there cracks in your basement or foundation? It boils down to two things: shifting and pressure. After the initial construction of your home’s foundation, the soil underneath will shift. This is to be expected. Any tiny hairline cracks resulting from that isn’t a big worry unless they expand as time goes on; in this case, it’s best to have a professional look at them.
Problems arise when water saturates the soil around and under the foundation. Saturated soil expands, which means it presses against the concrete. Watery soil also moves around. Water itself finds a way through porous concrete and if it’s winter and the water freezes, it expands, pushing in all directions.
Filling cracks is a little more complex than going to the hardware store, grabbing epoxy and caulking it into the crack. It makes a difference as to whether the crack will continue to grow (active) or it has stopped spreading (dormant).
Contractors generally use either polyurethane foam or epoxy to fill cracks. For small, dormant cracks, users tend to go with polyurethane foam. Don’t panic if you see the person you hired scraping at the inside of the crack; sometimes it needs to be a little wider for the foam or epoxy solution to properly fill in the crack.
Active cracks require a stronger adhesive. Epoxies used for structural problems are rated in terms of the temperature during which it is being applied as well as the epoxy type and strength. How severe the crack is and where it is located determines what type of epoxy, foam, or resin a foundation specialist will use.
There are epoxies available that provide some flexibility, but when dealing with active cracks, epoxies don’t provide the flexibility often required. Therefore, experts prefer polyurethane, which will move when the basement or crawl-space wall moves.
The application process does take a bit more than just squeezing a loaded caulk gun along the crack; it’s not like sealing a bathtub or shower space. Before the epoxy or polyurethane goes in via a specialized tool, the specialist will install plastic injector ports over the crack approximately every foot. Epoxy/polyurethane goes over the crack between each injector port and dries to keep oozing to a minimum. The ports allow the epoxy to go in smoothly.
Once the specialist has filled one area between two ports, he or she will cap the port and move on to the next area. The epoxy must fully cure (dry) before you may remove the ports, although the ports can stay in if the way they look doesn’t bother you.
A sealant is optional, but the person who sealed the cracks will give you his or her recommendation. Should you opt for a sealant, it needs to be a waterproof masonry sealant. You want the sealant to soak into the concrete a bit, so any paint at the application site will be stripped. Sealant is not effective on floors or in areas less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Acculevel Fixes Cracked Foundations
Do you have a cracked foundation or crawl space? If so, Acculevel wants to help. We know the importance of a strong foundation for your home. We’ve been specializing in basement and foundation repair since 1996 and service the Midwest. It’s our goal to provide you with the expertise you need to not only repair cracks but address the issue(s) that resulted in those cracks. We also provide full waterproofing services. We enjoy making homes safer and healthier for those living in them. If you have a cracking foundation or any concern regarding your basement or crawl space, please contact us at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected] to schedule an appointment.