Understanding Basement Finishing Cracks

a large jagged crack on a cement floor

Whether you’ve just bought a new home or are refinishing one you’ve owned for a long time, it can be worrisome to discover cracks in your basement floor or walls. Fortunately, basement finishing cracks are a common problem and usually pretty harmless. Our experienced professionals at Premier Wall Anchor and Waterproofing can evaluate and repair any cracks you find.

Common Causes of Basement Finishing Cracks In Northeast Ohio

Most cracks discovered during the basement finishing process are hairline cracks that measure less than 1/16 of an inch. These are usually caused by normal settling during the concrete setting process. As concrete dries, it naturally contracts, which can lead to small, visible cracks in the walls and floor.

Larger basement finishing cracks can be caused by a variety of factors, including pressure from the earth outside that causes the walls to subtly shift. Improper construction practices, such as neglecting to properly anchor the walls, can also cause cracks. If you notice your basement walls bowing or leaning in, this is a likely cause. Basement floors can even crack and heave if the soil underneath the foundation has shifted too much.

What To Do If You Find Cracks In Your Basement

The good news is that the majority of basement finishing cracks need little or no care. Hairline fractures are usually harmless, although sometimes moisture may seep in during one of our wet Ohio summers. If that happens, you can generally fix it by simply injecting sealant into the crack. Even if you haven’t noticed excess moisture, it’s a good idea to seal the cracks to help reduce the risk of radon exposure, which can be a problem in Stow and northeast Ohio.

If you notice cracks that are wider than about half an inch, an assessment is needed by a professional. You should also have your basement evaluated if you see wall cracks accompanied by the walls bowing in, or if the walls seem to be leaning inwards. For basement floor cracks, some settling is expected with newer builds, so a slight depression may not be a big concern. However, if you notice your floor heaving upwards, contact a professional at Premier Wall Anchor and Waterproofing for help. Bowing walls or heaving floors can be signs of structural issues that may need urgent attention to prevent more significant problems.

How To Prevent Basement Finishing Cracks

There are some things homeowners can do to ensure that basement finishing cracks don’t become a problem. Most major foundation issues are caused by excess moisture, so make sure your exterior has proper drainage. Ensure your yard is properly graded so that it slopes away from your home and avoid landscaping that requires you to build up soil around your basement walls.

Design your gutters and downspouts so they point away from your house and in a direction that ensures the water flows away from the building. Keep them clean, too, as overflowing gutters can flood the area directly beneath them. It’s also a good idea to install a sump pump and interior drainage system, particularly if you live in or near a flood zone.

Set Up An Evaluation Today

If you’re worried about basement finishing cracks in Stow or anywhere else in northeast Ohio, contact Premier Wall Anchor and Waterproofing today. Our skilled, professional experts can evaluate existing cracks and fix any that need attention. We can also help you determine risk factors for future problems and develop a plan to prevent them. Give us a call today at (800) 573-7170 to schedule an appointment, or visit our contact page for more information.