Among the common questions we at Vanguard Basement waterproofing get asked on forums, in person during an inspection, or email is “Are foundation cracks an issue, and what risks are there in not having a foundation crack repair?
What risks do foundation cracks pose?
- Negative Structural Integrity
- Higher Heating Bill
- A Channel for Insects and Vermin
- Lower Value on Home
- Mold/Odor caused from Water
- Radon Gas Levels Increase
Foundation cracks are not always an immediate issue, but all cracks will expand if untreated which can multiple the costs from a simple $450 injection to a $2500 injection, to a $20,000 repair. Sometimes it’s better to bite the bullet and get the job done early.
- A horizontal crack can pose the risk of a bowing wall, causing your home’s structural integrity to decrease which in turn over time will put your foundation in risk of caving in.. Even though 99% of cases do not happen overnight, it’s important to call an expert regardless of what type of crack you have in your basement.
- Having cracks in your home allows heat to escape and cold air to come in, increasing your heating bill. Minor hairline cracks don’t pose much of an issue; however, some foundations crack half and inch and more could put unwanted and additional costs on your heating bill.
- Foundation Cracks that are left untreated allow ants, spiders, and other insects and vermin a direct entryway into your home. Multiplying and destroying your insulation, and contents of your home further increasing the stresses that come with owning a home.
- Having a crack in your foundation, or a leaky basement in general will not only lower the value of your home but will also make it next to impossible to sell it. If you do get away with trying to hide an issue and sell it, that would be a mistake. You will be by law obligated to front the bill of the next homeowner, and you have no say who is hired no matter the cost of the repair. Save yourself a headache and hire someone who can solve the issue at an affordable.
- Finishing your basement before you waterproof the interior (which is cheaper than waterproofing the exterior) could cost you in the end. You could potentially have to tear up your finished basement to source the issue, (This in some cases involves tearing up majority of your floor to source the issue since no house is poured like a bowling alley) call in a mold removal company, then pay an additional cost to solve the issue. If there’s mold you will have to remove the affected area regardless, and if you do not wish to remove more of the interior to do an inside repair there is always the option to waterproof outside. Exterior basement waterproofing is more expensive.
- Radon gas, the second leading cause of lung cancer, next to smoking is created from the very soil foundations are surrounded by. Radon gas is a carcinogen that is radioactive, colorless, odorless, and a tasteless noble gas. It’s created from natural isotopes like the uranium in soil. Contact someone qualified to test your radon levels for you. There are also scientific companies that you can order pods for that can mail in to test your radon levels yourself, which is what I recommend since it’s a lot cheaper.
Another common issue that homeowners ask are how and why do foundation cracks occur. We let every homeowner know that regardless of how the home is built, it will crack. It’s only a matter of time. Some builders are intentionally putting a V shape into the concrete to have some control over where the crack occurs. The longer the wall, the more cracks that will occur.
How do foundation cracks occur
- Settlement of dirt
- Water table level
- Poor Construction
- Natural Disasters
- There are numerous reasons why a foundation could crack. One of the reasons has to do with the settlement of dirt. When builders backfill soil around the foundation of a house, apartment building, etc. The builders do not always compact the dirt evenly, which in turn gives way for uneven settlement. When the foundations walls do not have the proper support from the ground soil this creates room for the foundation wall to flex, which causes it to crack. In some rare cases the soil could also be used from a different geographical area which settles slower/faster than the natural ground soil.
- Depending on the water table level, seasonal rain, drought, and the type of soil around your foundation like clay, your foundation has an increase chance of cracking and letting in the elements. Think of your home as a boat on soil. When the water table rises it saturates the soil, increasing the size of the particle by up to 40%. You can hear your house creaking and cracking during warm/cold periods which is like waves rocking your home very slightly. The wet soil exerts a hydrostatic pressure against your walls, forcing water against your home. This could cause your foundation wall to crack, or the concrete slab that’s poured on the foundation footing to crack. If you see water coming from the floor where the foundation wall connects this is a possible cause. During a drought, or a very hot and humid day after a heavy rainfall the water in the soil will either dissipate and/or filter naturally through the grounds isotopes. This will cause your foundation walls to give way also causing it to crack. In the winter time when the ground is frozen, it increases in size as well, creating the same problems as a heavy rain storm. During the seasonal warm periods, the ground thaws, which in turn plays another roll in potential foundation cracks.
- Not every house is build perfectly, in fact i’ve never found one that has been. Poor construction plays a role in the increase of a potential foundation crack and/or basement leak. Concrete shrinks when it dries. If the temperature drops during the pouring of concrete, it will affect the integrity of your home. For example, if your foundation is poured when the sun is scorching, the concrete will dry quicker then normal, and could cause the concrete to harden before it has time to mix with the previous poured batch. This can leave behind what looks like a honeycomb in your concrete, which is called a pervious, or porous concrete.
- Lastly, a foundation wall could crack for natural disasters. Which is not covered under our warranty. These including floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, cyclones, and any other natural disaster that could occur.
In order for us to aid you in a successful foundation crack repair, we at Vanguard Contractors Basement Waterproofing always ask a number of questions in order to determine the best approach for keeping your home safe from the elements. Before we decide if it’s a small job that requires an injection, a V-Guard Wall Treatment, or a medium sized job like a window well and drain, or a much larger job like an interior drain system with a sump pump, a certain criteria of questions have to be met.
Determining the best Foundation Crack Repair
- Type of foundation
- If it has been previously worked on
- If the crack is wet or dry
- How thick or thin the crack is
- The accessibility of the crack
- Depending on if your basement foundation is stone, block, concrete, or ICF (Insulated concrete form) depends on if the job could be more expensive. For example, a stone foundation wall is more expensive to waterproof then a concrete foundation. This is because a stone foundation wall is more susceptible to cave ins, and requires more material and personal to repair. Concrete cracks for example, can most likely be repairs with an injection from the inside, while a crack from a stone foundation will have to be parged and waterproofed with an interior drain system & sump pump.
- If you are thinking about doing a foundation crack repair yourself, just keep in the back of your mind that a previously worked on crack is more expensive to be repaired because the cheap material that you used to temporarily fix your water leak issue now could potentially force us to no longer be able to inject our quality material therefore we will then have to do an interior or exterior drain system. This could change the price of the job from a low fee of $450 to thousands of dollars, to tens of thousands of dollars.
- The best foundation crack repair is always done when your basement is dry; however, the issue can be solved regardless of if water is currently coming into your basement or not. Epoxy injection is always the best solution for a cracked concrete foundation, but because this material doesn’t expand properly when it’s wet, polyurethane is the better option. Polyurethane expands when in contact with water sealing any leaky basement that’s currently leaking.
- Depending on the gauge of the crack, if it’s horizontal, or vertical, determines the best solution for the job. A thicker crack requires more material to inject, therefore costs a larger sum of money. If the crack is left untreated, the structural integrity of the house could be effected, and a structural engineer might have to be called in to level your house and underpin. This could cost upwards of $10,000 - $50,000.
- In order for the job to be done efficiently and affordably, there has to be space for repair to be done. For example, if you have a finished basement, and you want to do an exterior wall treatment, we cannot do the wall treatment if you have a patio deck overtop of the working area. Another example, if you have a crack right behind your water heater, or furnace, the water heater might have to be moved, for us to have access to the crack, or we might have to do break open your floor and install a drain system instead. It’s best to call in, and we can give you a solution over the phone.
Depending on the type of crack, where it is located, and the accessibility, depends on the price of the job.
Types of Foundation Crack Repairs:
- Epoxy Concrete Crack
- Polyurethane Concrete Crack
- Cold Joint
- Hydro Panel and Conduit Leak
- Snap Tie and Rod Hole
- V-Guard Wall treatment and Injection.
Epoxy Concrete Crack Repair
An epoxy crack repair is the ideal choice for a foundation crack repair where the foundation is poured concrete. If your foundation leak is block, brick, or stone you will have to do an Interior Drain and Sump Pump System. Learn More
Polyurethane Concrete Crack Repair
A Polyurethane crack repair is used if a crack has been previously worked on, and/or if the crack is currently leaking and the homeowner wants it sealed immediately. Learn More
Cold Joint Repair:
A cold joint repair is needed when you have a leak between a plane of weakness in the concrete. This happens because the first batch of concrete begins to set before the following batch gets added. The two batches don’t intermix, causing a gap that allows water access to your property. Learn More
A honeycomb repair is needed when water is leaking through the foundation where the foundation concrete wasn’t mixed properly and poured neglectfully. Learn More
Hydro Panel and Conduit Leak
When you experience a leak from a crack around a conduit, or behind the hydro panel, we can fix the issue without you having to call an electrician to remove it saving you $600 or a much bigger fee to waterproof the issue outside. Learn More
Snap Tie & Rod Hole
When a crack forms around the wall forming system that are used when constructing a basement, it allows for water to enter in through it. Learn More
Vanguard Basement Waterproofing has been waterproofing basements for over 10 years. Joseph Van Belleghem has worked on thousands of houses in the GTA on many types of foundation crack repairs. Joseph was trained by a 20 years former site supervisor building homes, and current basement waterproofing company owner of over 25 years Aquaseal shown on HGTV Income Property.
Vanguard Basement Waterproofing uses all proven methods of repair.