Cracked, sheared or bowed concrete walls are warning signs that your foundation or basement is in need of inspection and repairs. If you see horizontal cracking or shearing, it is especially serious. If a wall that is shearing or cracking horizontally isn’t repaired, it will eventually collapse. Cracks in your basement walls are not just cosmetic in nature, they indicate that the foundation’s structural integrity has been compromised. Home’s can lose significant value at the time of resale if found to have structural foundation issues.
What is causing your concrete basement walls to crack or sheer? Simply put, the soil your foundation was built on isn’t stable and was poorly compacted during construction. This allows the top layer of water and soil to build incredible hydro-static pressure against your foundation walls. We call this top layer of soil the “active zone”. Depending on the amount of clay, sand, and organic matter in your soil, it’s unique geologic composition can present a variety of problematic reactions to an extended period of wet, dry, hot or cold conditions. When soil stays too dry, it shrinks and creates voids where a foundation will settle. When soil stays too wet, it gets soft and cannot bear the heavy loads and a foundation will sink. When soil freezes, it will expand and heave the foundation upwards. All of these soil conditions put pressure on a foundation which then causes damage to it and the structure above.