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What Causes Basement Floor Cracks - MA, RI, NH & CT

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Homeowners in the Boston, Providence, Springfield, Hartford and Worcester areas are wondering if their basement floor cracks are reasons for greater concern. Being in the basement waterproofing business for over 20 years and servicing MA, RI, CT, and NH, I have observed that over 50% of the residential concrete basement floors have cracks.

Most basement floor cracks are caused form shrinkage cracks or settlement cracks. Shrinkage cracks are caused by the water in the concrete evaporating quickly. Settlement cracks are due to the soils and or gravel under the floor shifting. This can be due to building on unstable soil, lack of proper compaction of the soil, vibrations from heavy equipment moving in the area, and earthquakes. During times of extremely heavy rain there can be enough hydrostatic pressure under the foundation floor to actually crack the floor. I was actually on the telephone with a homeowner when they heard a loud bang from the basement. They went down stairs to discover a new foundation floor crack.

I am sorry to say that in life there are three things that you can be sure of death, taxes, and if you have concrete it is going to crack. The good news is that most of the cracks are nonstructural. Most nonstructural cracks are ¼ inch wide or less and that one side of the crack is not higher than the other side of the crack by more than 1/8 inch. These cracks need to be repaired with flexible bonding agent using proper preparation, tools and repair techniques. If these floor cracks are not repaired they can allow water and water vapors to enter the basement. This can lead to mold which can cause health problems. Basement floor cracks that are not repair allow radon; odors form the decay of organic material in the soils, insects and cold air. Ever notice that a concrete sidewalk has lines in it every 4 feet or that the large box stores’ (such as Home Depot or BJs) floors have lines in the floor. In both these examples these are called expansion joints. These expansion joints acts like a controlled crack and allow the concrete to expand and contract. These expansion joint are also known as cuts are not required for residential homes according to most state and local building codes.

Do these cracks indicate that a larger structural or foundation issue may exist with their homes? Over the years we have witnessed an increase in do-it-yourself remedies that often fail. This is the result of inadequate and inferior products and preparation. Typically, homeowners do not have the proper tools, techniques and materials to create a permanent solution. To avoid these financial and time wasting pitfalls, homeowners should seek the advice and expertise of a professional concrete repair contractor.

Contact A-1 Foundation Crack Repair Inc. today and speak to a live basement waterproofing and floor crack repair professional.

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