Basement Wall Stabilization
BDWS Offers Rhino Wall Straps
Truth or Dare?
What happens if I do nothing with my cracked or bowed basement walls?
The reality of every situation dealing with the foundation of any building still remains, “Nothing can stand without a sure foundation!” Basement wall cracks are the first sign of your foundation walls becoming compromised. Regardless of your wall’s composition, concrete block, poured concrete, brick, tile or pre-formed concrete walls, structural change is absolutely taking place when cracks or bowing occur.
You can view various Basement Wall Photos of Basement Wall de-Stabilization causes on our Basement De-Watering Website Here.
Those owners that choose to leave their basement wall cracks untouched simply risk even more extensive costs in recovering the stability of their foundation in the future. Left unattended for too long and owners face the costs of possibly replacing the entire wall that is presently showing the building’s deterioration. Note; Like every repair on your business or home, the longer you wait, the more expensive it usually is. Call us for a Free Estimate and you might be very amazed how inexpensive basement wall stabilization repairs can be.
Best to make everyone aware, and tell the absolute truth upfront. Regardless of the type and severity of your wall cracks, (see illustrations & examples here), eventually in short order these cracks will get worse. Due to the nature of the basement wall cracks and reasons for occurence, they will not remain the same. The cracks will get worse. The simple nature of the expansion and contraction of the soil along with varying temperatures cause movement in the soil and your basement walls. Also, once cracks are formed, moisture has a sure path to the interior of your basement. Should this expansion occur in winter with the moisture filling these cracks, expect rapid enlargement of the cracks.
What are some of the reasons or causes for basement walls cracking?
Soil Composition is the various structures of the soil itself. Plus, the soil’s ability to support the structure through various temperate transitions it will experience from the surrounding terrain and climate. Proper testing should always be considered before designing a proper foundation for any structures. Many states actually require soil testing before build-outs. Most require a solid core examination before excavation can begin.
Soil Re-Constitution is probably one of the single greatest causes for poor foundational structural integrity where basements, tri-levels or submerged crawl-spaces are the basis of the dwelling’s foundation for construction. Simply put, after core samples and determination of the proper foundation design is engineered before excavations, foresight needs to be used to properly return the soil to its original layered and compacted composition after excavations. What? Actually, it is very easy when dealing with virgin soil composition vs. fill soil. To begin, actually backpile excavated soil by composition type.
Then, when backfilling after your structure is excavated, re-install the soil in the appropriate original layers for the correct percolating capacity of the soil. Dependent on the structure’s location and soil types, hard-pan or grayed clay is at the base, followed by yellow or red clay, then sub-soil and then top soil. Water then percolates properly through the soil surrounding the structure and does not rush down to the foundation as when unproperly backfilled. Remember, water always seeks the area of least resistence. So, backfill those excavations correctly.
Unprepared Stress Points
An extremely frequent cause of cracks in a poured concrete wall construction are unprepared stress points. The best way to understand and realize the impact is to think of your basement wall as a dam. Instead of pure water only, your structure’s basement walls hold back soil pressure, ground-movement, water pressure and worst of all water-saturated soil pressure. (Not to mention small earth tremors.)
So, what are unprepared poured concrete wall Stress points? Well, most commonly they are unprepared entrances that need to be made after the concrete wall has been poured or blocks have been laid.. Wall entrances such as gas lines, plumbing lines, underground electrical lines, and the list goes on and on. Entrances that could have been easily prepared for, … before the concrete pour was made or blocks were laid. Even windows and doors for ingress-exgress in basement walls should be readily pre-prepared before the basement wall construction. Hence the basement wall/dam, has been drilled or holes cut into it, that cannot hold back the various pressures on the wall’s exterior, and overtime the cracks begin at these exact stress points. We see cracks all the time in window well corners, door cut-ins, and especially where holes were drilled in the wall allowing some type of service entrance.
The good news is that if addressed quickly and properly through crack injection and/or carbon fiber straps, these starting cracks can be stabalized very quickly and inexpensively. You will see we say the following frequently. “Only allow Certified Professionals who have years of experience to deal with your basement wall cracks, foundation issues or other basement structural issues”. BDWS has seen way too many costly mistakes made by DIYers, and the local handyman who purchased an over-the-counter fix-it kit. Improperly addressed basement wall cracks will only expand more rapidly.
Rhino Carbon Fiber Straps for Cracks
Improper Foundation Preparation
This can be a very long list. Rest assured after over forty years of reviewing, estimating and repairing well over 10,000 basements, and crawl-spaces for water damage, basement wall repairs, and foundation repairs, we understand a multitude of situations and reliable cost-effective solutions to remedy all of your basement’s structural situations.
Probably the single source of the majority of basement wall cracks and repairs outside of poor construction is improper drainage from hydrostatic pressure on the interior and exterior of the basement foundation, walls and sub-structure. Thankfully, the remedies we offer to resolve these situations are numerous and not as expensive as most owners think.
Lack of Proper Foundation Drainage Systems
As we stated above, proper foundation drainage is not an after-thought in new construction. But if it was, Basement De-Watering Systems offers multiple products to permanently resolve these previously persistent issues. Regardless of the age of your dwelling or building’s basement structure, inclusive of the severity of a basement’s wall cracks, there are cost-effective products that can simply and easily correct your alarming situation. From the addition of sump pumps to installing additional drain tile, proven remedies can be installed in short-order to resolve your situation(s).
Improper Basement Wall Materials & Basement Wall Construction
First and foremost, all structures should be constructed according to local building codes based on age-old construction and engineering techniques. That said, all materials and products used in the structure should also be of the best possible quality. Inclusive of poured concrete, concrete blocks, hardened brick or ceramic tile.
Structures that were built with the proper materials and utilized the best possible building code practices, in general usually require the least in foundational repairs. Effective facts on the proper practices for building a basement or crawl-space structure can be found at most cities building codes offices. Here are some Quick Foundation Construction Tips Courtesy of Concrete Foundation of North America.
Excessive Soil Saturation
Central Illinois is no stranger to Excessive Soil Saturation. 2019 was no exception. At last glance, the Spring of 2019 was recorded the 5th wettest in history for the Basement De-Watering System’s Service Area. In turn, homeowner’s and business owners throughout the region reported more basement water seepage and the appearance of an abundance of basement wall cracks needing repairs.
As the soil expands with the addition of excessive water, it simply adds more and more pressure on the exterior basement walls. This exterior pressure will eventually find the weakest point in your basement or crawl-space wall. Once it finds that point, a crack usually begins to form. In many instances, those cracks will seep water into the interior of the basement. Left unattended, these cracks will eventually expand and cause further damage to your structure’s foundation. BDWS offers our proven epoxies for Basement Wall Cracks. By proven, we mean over forty-years of continuous application with resounding success.
Excessive Soil Run-Off
Commonly the exterior Basement Walls do not have an adequate exterior soil slope for proper water run-off away from the foundation walls. Hence, water stands next to the basement or crawlspace walls and causes excessive pressure on the walls. Regardless if block, poured concrete or brick walls, this constant exposure to moisture over a period of time will break-down the integrity of foundation walls. Resulting in cracks, spalling or in general deterioration of the foundation’s ability to properly stabilize your structure. In addition to the proper sloping or grade of the foundation soil, your surrounding foundation exterior landscaping needs to disperse such rains away from the foundation. Thus avoiding ponding so your wall stabilization remains dry for the most part.
Insufficient Soil Moisture
Unlikely as it seems, severe deprivation of moisture surrounding a structure’s basement wall can cause extreme settling in the foundation and lead to basement wall crack’s overnight. Many homeowners are advised to soak the soil around their homes during long-lasting droughts. In some drought cases, you will actually see the soil contracting away from the basement walls further causing greater pressures to produce wall cracks. It is said after a pro-longed drought, that basement walls can actually be heard to blast a boom and create shaking when the basement walls crack all at once under extreme pressures.
Tell Tale Signs of Basement Wall Cracks
Most owners usually notice the first basement wall foundation deterioration in first or second floor door jambs. Doors suddenly do not close properly or sometimes catch on the door trim. In severe cases the door latch does not catch the strike properly and lock. Others mention windows not closing as easily. In the most severe cases where basement foundation walls start bowing or settling is rapidly occurring, the floor levels will actually change. Most of these changes are gradual, so do occasionally inspect your basement walls if possible. Remember, most of the techniques and products that BDWS uses can be applied even in finished basements.
By now you can understand the severity that basement wall deterioration can cause on any structure. Most owners also start to worry about the cost and extensiveness of the repairs needed to remedy and stabilize their basement walls. Equally you can also understand the imperativeness of expediency in addressing these destabilizing issues in your structure.
Expertise is Needed for Basement Wall Stabilization
That said, this is not a situation where you call the local handyman. Expertise has to be gained to assuredly resolve your basement foundation in a permanent and cost-effective manner. Over the last forty years, Basement De-Watering Systems has seen every type of wall crack or foundation repair imaginable. If experienced professionals are not used properly in determining the correct actions needed, further structural deterioration can happen quickly.
As with all estimates in establishing the correct method, product actions and costs to ensure success, the knowledge gained through years of countless projects is invaluable. The Basement De-Watering Systems Lead Estimators have over 30 Years of experience each under their belts. Rest assured you are working with not only some of the best expertise in Central Illinois, but also the best of products and professional applications.
Consider the Products Basement De-Watering Systems Use
Rhino Carbon Fiber Straps
When choosing a contractor to resolve your unwanted basement wall cracks or structural settling, it is imperative to use the precise products needed to permanently resolve your structures situation. Basement De-Watering Systems proudly uses what is considered the Best Possible Carbon-Fiber Wall Anchors on the market. These Wall Straps offer a resounding solution to a dire structural problem at a very affordable price.
Plus, BDWS’s Wall Crack Injection Techniques will resolve further crack deterioration and possible water seepage. Visit the BDWS Basement Wall Stabilization Webpage to read more here.
Need more info, … call today for a Free No-Obligaion Estimate. If BDWS cannot assist you, we will know someone who can. 1.800.331.2943
Fall Season Basement Preparation
OK Class, time to please pay close attention. The vast majority of water seepage tips that we encourage everyone to check in the Spring Thaw Season, is pretty much the same in the Fall Season Basement Preparation. First and foremost, be sure to check that your sump pump is working properly. This is an imperative if you are depending on your pump to free your exterior and interior drainage system that is erradicating seepage from in and around your structure. Should your sump pump and battery back-up system fail, grab the buckets and start extracating your water buildup manually. Just kidding, but you get the drift. Sump Pumps have to be working.
If in doubt, simply pour a bucket or two of water into the pump pit and see how the pump cycles. Be sure your pump is plugged in. Also, be sure your check valve and discharge pipe are functioning properly. Unsure of yourself and your abilities to verify a proper functioning pump system? No problem. Simply call our home office and ask to schedule your regular sump pump maintenance. We suggest twice a year, … early early spring and early fall. The cost of doing such will save your peace of mind.
Back to the check list. So we have checked the pump. Checked the check valve, this keeps water from re-entering your pit. Checked the discharge line for obstructions. Now we need to be sure to check any battery back-up system you might have. For those that do not have a battery back-up, this is simply a power supply system attached to the sump-pump setup, that powers your pump(s), in the event of your structures power failing for a shortened period of time. Notice my first mentions of pump(s) plural. Many structures do have more than one pump. Even some pump pits have a submersible and standing pump joined for an even more substantial basement pumping system. In the event of mutiple pumps in your system, you should check them all.
‘Nuisance Water Seepage in Basements’
Continuing on. Now that we have verified the mechanical end of your basement waterproofing systems are working, we need to do some exterior site inspections that can create what many call ‘Nuisance Water Seepage‘. Nuisance Water Seepage has been around in basements and crawl spaces since the beginning of time. Left unchecked these small water seepage nuisances can create extraordinary problems. The good news is that the majority of these exterior seepage areas in question can be addressed very easily and fairly quickly. So, lets do the short list.
Window Wells. Yes, window wells. They can retain water and easily cause issues, especially once the ice begins. Clean your wells out of all leaves and debris. Make sure in the early fall that they are still draining properly. (Simply pour a couple of buckets of water into your well – first be sure your window seals are tight.) Finally, check the sealants around the windows on the exterior to be sure that water cannot seep inside. We have actually seen window wells look more like aquariums than drainage devices surrounding windows. If you should find fish swimming in your window wells, chances are you have multiple issues.
Gutter and Downspouts. Fall the dreaded gutter time of year! Leaves and tree branches falling into your structures number one system for removing exterior excess water through an efficient above ground water drainage system – your gutter and downspouts. Depending on your roof area and gutter and downspout’s size, this drainage system is cabable of removing hundreds if not thousands of gallons annually from around your dwelling’s footprint. Be sure throughout the fall season that your gutters and downspouts are clean, sealed well and properly discharging water down the downspouts. Especially make sure that these downspouts are dispercing the gutter’s water as far away from the structure as possible. Sadly, only some extra elbow grease can be used on undergrownd drainage systems. There are various methods for removing debris from underground drainage systems. We have seen owners actually using a wet-dry vac to suction out debris. Also, utilizing cleaning rods work too! Flooding the underground system only aggravates the problem. In short, the debris and gunk has to be removed for proper drainage for your downspouts and gutters. (As a cautionary note, do not use a forceful auger that could rupture your drain tiles. Replacement is too expensive.)
Exterior Foundation Drainage Slope. Years ago it came to our attention that many homeowners thought that the majority of their water seepage problems existed because of the slope of the land or landscape around their structure’s foundation. Although this creates ‘Nuisance Seepage‘, in the majority of instances it does not create massive seepage in a basement or crawl space. The remedy to slope fade or foundational slope errosion or more commonly known as improper slope grade for drainage is quite simple. The desired result is simply that water or excess water run-off does not pond or gather around the foundation. To acheive this desired slope grade for foundational water run-off, we simply build up the soil around the foundation so it properly runs off. Be sure to pack it down or tamp-it to ensure that it does not wash away. It might take some investigation after heavy rains to ensure a proper slope, but again, with some elbow grease a very easy fix. Once the proper grade is acheived, a little grass or landscape enhancement ensures long-term results.
Improper Adjacent Concrete Slopes. Every seen it. Bet you have. The concrete sidewalk after years of errosion now slopes toward the structures foundation. The slope should move moisure away from the foundation, not towards it. Same way with the driveway or patio slope. They must direct and channel water away from the foundation. These improper sloping elements can cause severe long-term effects on your structure. One effect is exessive water seepage into the crawlspace or basement. Left unattended over time, simply means excessive costs for proper repair. So, contact us early to investigate a sensisble solution for you. Left unattended, added pressure and water seepage can compromise the soundness of both basement concrete and block wall construction. Resulting in deteriorating wall stabilization.
Hopefully these tips have given you some insight into your possible Fall Basement Preparations. Done correctly, they will save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of lost time from your structure experiencing the devastating results from excessive water seepage in a crawlspace or basement. As always, contact us anytime we can be of further assistance. As mothers always said, “An once of prevention – goes a long way”!
A home is one-of-a-kind, which means it requires unique maintenance and upkeep. Solving problems around the house requires specialized, tailored solutions. Basements are particularly prone to water intrusion, as their location below ground can make them targets for pooling water. When determining the best basement waterproofing system, it’s important to understand that there isn’t an all-encompassing remedy, and it’s crucial to consider methods specific to the situation. Understanding why leaks occur is the first step in deciding how to best address the problem.
What Causes Water in the Basement?
Water seeping into the basement can be the result of a combination of issues. Poorly installed or maintained gutters and downspouts can trap stagnant water instead of draining it away. Cracks in the foundation or basement walls and windows can provide an opening for groundwater to seep inside. Another common cause of basement water intrusion is improper soil slope. The slope of the ground that the foundation of the house rests on should direct water away from the home; if the slope is irregular, water may not flow correctly and cause pressure on the foundation as water pools, which could lead to cracks and leaks in the future.
Interior Basement Waterproofing
Waterproofing the basement from the inside involves minimally invasive procedures after a water control issue is identified, but it typically doesn’t alleviate the cause of the leak. Sealants and waterproof coatings provide blockage that prevents fluid entry from the basement walls or foundation without a labor-intensive process. Determining the best interior waterproofing solution relies on selecting the best products. Applying a polymer-based sealant to every wall will keep the basement air- and water-tight, in addition to fixing noticeable cracks.
Exterior Basement Waterproofing
Exterior waterproofing solutions fix the cause of the water seepage. For example, if the cause of water intrusion is poor soil slope, interior methods will only go so far and may require regular maintenance. In this case, soil excavation is necessary so that the water drains properly. Water damage to exterior basement walls can be remedied with wall stabilization systems, which provide added strength to a water control system. Exterior waterproofing methods protect homes from the rush of melted snow that overwhelms Illinois when spring rolls around. Whether water has already invaded your basement or if you’d like to take preventative measures, Basement De-Watering Systems, Inc. has a solution for you. Since 1978, we have helped homeowners in West and Central Illinois by delivering professional and efficient basement waterproofing services. If you need help getting or keeping water out of your basement, call us at (309) 647-2223.
April showers bring May flowers, but they can also bring wet basements. By adding a few simple chores to spring cleaning checklists, homeowners can prevent the hassle that accompanies leaks.
Test Sump Pumps
For those who have sump pumps, it’s especially crucial to prepare, as homes that require them may experience flooding issues surrounding the drain field during a heavy downpour. This may cause the water to flow back into the plumbing system, overflowing toilets and drains. The easiest way to test a sump pump before major spring rain is to empty a large bucket of water into it to simulate the effect of a storm and make sure it responds accordingly. If it doesn’t kick on, professional services should be called right away.
Examine the Foundation
Once the snow has melted and warmer temperatures move in, homeowners should take a close look at the foundation of their home to check for cracks and crevices that could allow water to seep into the basement. While these issues should be addressed permanently as soon as possible, an application of caulk or cement can stabilize it for short-term basement waterproofing.
Clean Gutters and Downspouts
When leaves, dirt, and other debris accumulate in gutters, water is unable to flow through them as it should. In heavy rain, the water will then overflow onto surfaces near the home instead of entering downspouts and being directed away from the foundation. Pooling or excess water can then enter vulnerable areas of the home, causing basement flooding. Routine cleaning is the easiest method of prevention.
Clear Debris From Window Wells
Window wells collect debris just as gutters do, but their drainage system is different. Removing leaves, sticks, and other materials should be sufficient, but if homeowners find that the wells are accumulating water, they can install a drainage pipe or clear plastic domes over the wells to resolve the issue.
Now that spring sunshine has finally made its way to the Bloomington-Normal, IL area after a long, cold winter, prioritizing basement waterproofing can help homeowners in Central and West Central Illinois avoid the extra work and spend more time enjoying the weather. Contact Basement De-Watering Systems, Inc. today at (309) 647-2223 to schedule a basement or crawlspace assessment.