3 Types of Basement Wall Cracks and Their Implications Allegheny County, PA
The appearance of one or more cracks on the walls of your basement can be frightening. You may suppose that your whole house needs to be repaired or reconstructed. But before you fret and take a drastic action, you need to know that different types of basement wall cracks mean different things.
Some cracks mean notable structural damage and need to be inspected and repaired urgently by a certified basement repair company. Others just denote concrete shrinkage and are therefore not a reason to worry. Here are three types of basement wall cracks and what they denote.
- Vertical cracks
Vertical cracks will typically be positioned vertically on the walls of your basement. In some cases, they may slant slightly (to an angle of about 30 degrees). These cracks normally occur because of the shrinking of concrete as it cures. Hence, they are also referred to as shrinkage cracks.
Because vertical cracks are usually associated with the shrinking of concrete, you don’t really have to worry about them. However, you need to be concerned if you see vertical basement wall cracks that are expanding beyond 3 mm or about 1/8 inch. If vertical cracks become larger, you should call a professional basement repair technician to inspect them and advise you appropriately.
- Diagonal Cracks
The appearance of diagonal cracks on your basement walls is a sign of a bigger problem in comparison to vertical cracks. Diagonal cracks can be at angle of between 30 and 75 degrees and may be wide or narrow. Narrow diagonal cracks are also called hairline cracks.
The cause of diagonal cracking is usually a non-uniform settling of the foundation. If one section of your foundation settles or sinks more than the other, vertical cracks are likely form on the basement wall. A high moisture content in the soil that surrounds the foundation and basement walls can also cause the basement walls to crack diagonally.
- Horizontal cracks
The appearance of horizontal cracks on your basement’s walls should be a major cause for concern. This is because horizontal basement wall cracks are an indication of notable structural issues in the foundation. One of the key concerns is foundation and basement wall bowing, which can occur as a result of increased hydrostatic pressure from the soil that surrounds the foundation.
You need to call a specialist if you see horizontal cracks on your basement walls because repairing these cracks is more complicated and will take more resources.
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