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How to Fix a Horizontal Crack in a Basement Wall

August 28, 2023

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Are you a homeowner trying to find out how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall? It’s vital that you address horizontal and vertical cracks quickly. Wall cracks let in damaging moisture that risks framing rot, mold and mildew, damaged concrete and more. Also, the longer you overlook cracks, gaps, spalling, and other issues, the worse they become!

How to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall:

  • Concrete fillers
  • Epoxy injections
  • Carbon fiber straps
  • Stapling
  • Wall anchors
  • Wall replacement

The best method for your home depends on the damage extent and other vital factors. Additionally, it’s important that you address the causes of the cracks! This can include improving drainage around your property, adding waterproofing, or even underpinning the foundation.

To find out more about how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall, keep reading! Moreover, you can contact a foundation repair contractor near you if needed. They can offer expert advice on addressing horizontal and vertical cracks and other issues. In turn, you know your home will be strong and stable from the basement up!

How to Fix a Horizontal Crack in a Basement Wall

How to Fix a Horizontal Crack in a Basement Wall

There are several methods for repairing cracked basement walls. These range from DIY solutions to more complex professional interventions. The best method for your property depends on the severity of the crack and its underlying cause, as said. Check out some common basement wall crack repair methods:

Basic Crack Filling

This is suitable for small, non-structural cracks. For this method, clean the crack, apply a concrete patching compound, and smooth the surface with a trowel. Also, you might use hydraulic cement or epoxy filler for stronger adhesion.

Note that basic crack filling doesn’t typically offer much added strength for basement wall. As such, it’s not a good choice for wider or deeper cracks, or anything bigger than a hairline. However, basic crack filling does improve the appearance of basement walls. It also helps keep moisture out of the concrete wall.

Epoxy Injection

Epoxy is more suitable for wider cracks or those showing signs of movement. This process involves injecting epoxy resin into the crack to fill and bond it together. If you want to try this method yourself, ensure that you use specialized epoxy injection kits and injection ports. These ports help inject the epoxy deep into the concrete.

Additionally, give the epoxy time to dry before painting over the material. This allows you to check that it’s permeated the concrete completely. Also, remember that epoxy and other fillers do break down over time. Consequently, plan on replacing them every few years.

Carbon Fiber Reinforcement

Carbon fiber reinforcement or straps are often used for cracks that require additional structural support. These also help to correct and support bowing basement walls. A contractor installs carbon fiber strips to the surface of a crack using epoxy resin.

They can also bolt these to bowing walls, pushing them into place and closing cracks. Carbon fiber provides increased strength and prevents cracks from growing. They can also stop bowing walls from collapsing! Note that homeowners should rely on professional carbon fiber reinforcement, to ensure expert installation.

Stitching or Stapling

Heavy-duty staples meant for concrete surfaces are excellent for repairing wider, more severe cracks. As with standard staples, these metal staples or stitches install across the crack. In turn, they hold the two sides of the crack together.

Note that installing concrete staples is not typically a DIY job. This project requires drilling holes for insertion of the staples or rods. Your contractor then needs to fill them with epoxy. This requires specialty tools and knowhow, so leave this repair to the pros!

Wall Anchors or Braces

Wall anchors or similar braces are used for horizontal cracks that risk structural issues. A contractor installs wall anchors or braces along the cracked areas. These help to stabilize the wall and prevent further movement. These are one of the more permanent methods for how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall.

Complete Wall Replacement

In extreme cases where the wall's structural integrity is severely compromised, a contractor might suggest wall replacement. This process involves bracing the basement ceiling so a contractor can remove and then replace the wall piece-by-piece. The new wall then offers added stability and protection against damage.

How to Fix a Horizontal Crack in a Basement Wall

Are Horizontal Cracks in a Basement Wall Bad?

After seeing how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall, you might wonder if you can skip this project altogether! However, cracks in a basement wall can indicate structural issues. In turn, they should be taken seriously.

  • The width of the crack is crucial. Cracks wider than about 1/8 inch are concerning. The wider the crack, the more likely it is that there's significant movement or stress on the wall.
  • Also, note that cracks let in moisture and insects. The wider and deeper the crack, the bigger this risk! Water intrusion can cause damage, weaken the wall, and contribute to mold growth.
  • Check the crack’s location. Horizontal cracks lower on the wall could be more problematic. These are often related to soil pressure or other structural issues.
  • If the crack is getting wider over time, it's a clear sign of ongoing movement. This can compromise the structural integrity of the wall and should be addressed promptly.
  • In some cases, horizontal cracks could be a symptom of foundation settlement. This is when the foundation is sinking or shifting due to unstable soil conditions. Over time, this can risk cracks, bowing walls, and other serious issues.

For all these reasons, it's important to consult with a structural engineer or a professional basement repair contractor. They can assess the severity of the cracks and recommend needed repairs.

What Causes Basement Wall Cracks?

There are many factors that risk basement wall cracks. Understanding these causes can help you understand how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall permanently. Consider just a few common causes of basement wall cracks:

  • Settling is one of the most common causes of cracks. As the soil beneath your foundation settles over time, it can lead to shifting and cracking in the walls.
  • Changes in soil moisture content can cause the soil to expand when wet and contract when dry. This movement can exert pressure on the walls and lead to cracking.
  • Hydrostatic pressure occurs when water in the soil puts pressure on the foundation walls. Over time, this pressure can lead to cracks, particularly if the walls aren't properly waterproofed.
  • In cold climates, water in the soil can freeze and expand during winter, then thaw and contract in warmer weather. This cycle can create stress on basement walls and risks cracks.
  • Improper drainage around the foundation can lead to the accumulation of water against the walls. This can increase hydrostatic pressure and contribute to cracking.
  • Moisture infiltration due to leaks, poor drainage, or inadequate waterproofing can weaken the walls and lead to cracks, especially in masonry materials.
  • During the curing process, concrete can shrink as it dries. This shrinkage can cause cracks, especially if the concrete mix wasn't properly proportioned or cured.
  • Heavy loads from the structure above, such as large trees near the foundation or nearby construction, can exert pressure on the walls and contribute to cracking.
  • Poor construction practices, inadequate reinforcement, or insufficient foundation design can result in weak points in the walls that are prone to cracking.
  • Over time, the natural aging of a foundation can lead to wear and tear, making it more susceptible to cracking.

How to Fix a Horizontal Crack in a Basement Wall

How Do You Prevent Basement Wall Cracks?

While it’s good to know how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall, preventing them in the first place is best! Regular maintenance and other measures can help prevent cracking. Consider these preventive steps for your property:

  • Ensure that the foundation is designed and constructed according to local building codes and standards. These codes address concrete thickness, drainage around the property, and other factors. Any construction not up to local codes is likely to experience otherwise unnecessary damage.
  • Even if your property is up to code, consider installing added drainage systems. These help divert water away from the walls. Your property might need French drains, gutters, downspouts, and grading to ensure water doesn't accumulate near the foundation.
  • Inside your home, consider a dehumidifier if your basement tends to hold moisture. A quality dehumidifier will trap airborne moisture before it can settle on nearby walls.
  • Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling against the walls. A landscaping engineer can check your property’s grading and suggest needed improvements.
  • Apply a high-quality waterproofing membrane or coating to the exterior of basement walls to prevent water infiltration. Inside, you might apply waterproof paint or epoxies to basement walls and floors.
  • Properly compact the soil during any construction project such as patio or pool installation. This helps to minimize future settling that could lead to cracks.
  • Plant trees and shrubs away from the foundation. Tree and other vegetation roots can cause soil movement that could affect the walls. Those roots can also wrap around concrete, expanding and risking cracks.
  • Regularly inspect your basement walls for any signs of cracks, moisture infiltration, or other issues. Address these issues promptly to prevent them from becoming larger problems.

Is Basement Wall Repair Worth It?

When checking on how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall, you might think it's too expensive to be worth it. Basement wall repair is very much worth any price! Unchecked cracks can affect the safety, stability, and value of your home. Ignoring them can lead to more significant problems over time. Also, a well-maintained foundation is crucial for the resale value of your home. A damaged foundation can mean losing property value.

Additionally, many cracks in basement walls let in water, as said. This can lead to dampness, mold growth, and further deterioration of the walls. Insects also use these cracks to get into the home and are drawn to water sources.

In some cases, foundation issues can affect payment for future repairs. Addressing problems promptly can prevent complications with insurance claims after a storm, earthquake, and the like.

Call Our Foundation Repair Contractors Today

Indianapolis Foundation Repair Experts is happy to explain to our readers how to fix a horizontal crack in a basement wall. Hopefully we’ve given you lots of useful information! Also, if you’re near the city, you can contact our Indianapolis foundation repair contractors. We offer FREE inspections and price quotes. To find out more, reach out today.

 

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