Did you know that not all foundation cracks are serious? If you have cracks in your Lansing basement walls, it is important to be aware of different types of cracking and when to worry about water damage or structural issues. So, how do you know when to look for foundation crack repair in Lansing, MI? Cracking over time due to concrete variations or “settling” in the soil is fairly common, however, some cases may require professional attention.
Lansing poured concrete basement wall crack repair methods and materials can vary depending on what caused the crack, the type of crack, and the size of the crack. Learn everything you need to know with our guide to help you understand poured concrete basement wall crack repair in Lansing, MI. Read on to learn more about how cracks occur, if you should contact a repair service, how concrete crack injection and foundation repair works, and the average cost you may incur if you have cracks in the foundation.
How do Poured Concrete Foundation Cracks Happen?
While it is common for construction companies to account for a certain amount of settling over time when planning a basement project, there are a variety of external factors that can cause additional pressure to build up resulting in cracks. This is especially true in Lansing due to the unique weather conditions from Lake Michigan and the fluctuating midwest climate.
Poured concrete is a common construction material that is often used for basements over block walls due to its resistance to pressure and damage. It’s important to remember, however, that even this type of wall can become damaged over time. Due to this, it’s completely normal to see cracks in the basement walls. Cracks can be caused by a number of factors.
Shrinkage happens when there is excessive moisture added to the concrete when it is mixed. As the concrete dries, the water in the mixture evaporates resulting in a small amount of shrinkage. When too much water is added to the mixture, however, shrinking can become more prominent resulting in small hairline cracks that are generally harmless to your basement. Shrinkage is the most common cause of cracking in poured concrete basement walls. In some cases, severe shrinkage can cause moderate to severe cracking that may need further attention.
In contrast to shrinking, settling is the result of the dried weight of the concrete resting in the area around it. If there is excessive space around the concrete due to unforeseen space that settles after pouring or due to natural erosion and decomposition of the surrounding soil over time, cracks of any size can occur. These cracks are most common on horizontal surfaces such as basement floors, however, they can also cause mild to severe damage to walls.
External pressure on your basement walls changes as the conditions outside change. This can happen due to changes in moisture saturation in the soil, damage or other problems with the exterior drainage system, tree roots, and more. These changes shift the concrete and can result in minor to severe cracking.
Many times, concrete damage in Lansing basements is simply caused by poor construction. These issues come up when certain steps or factors are overlooked during the mixing and/or pouring process. Some of the common things that lead to poor construction-related cracks include insufficient concrete strength or pouring the concrete for a house foundation when the ground is still frozen. Depending on the depth of the issue, there can be severe, and costly, damages down the line.
Pouring concrete properly requires attention to detail and an understanding of the specific variables that lead to success. One of the big pieces is ensuring that there is proper moisture levels in the concrete mixture. However, in some cases, the moisture in the mix evaporates faster than it should, which can then lead to premature drying. This fast drying can eventually lead to small, web-like cracks in the concrete. While this can be frustrating, these cracks are usually cosmetic, and don’t lead to a structural problem.
How to Know if it is Time to Repair a Crack?
So, how can you really tell what cracks are fine to leave alone and which ones are serious? In general, it is best to consult a professional if you are concerned about cracking, however, you can use this simple guide to determine what types of cracks you might be seeing and when you should start looking for foundation crack repair for your Lansing MI home.
Small cracks that appear on the surface of the concrete but do not go all the way through are called hairline cracks. These cracks are often the result of normal shrinking, settling, and curing. They are generally not structurally concerning and normally don’t invite moisture as long as they remain unchanged over time.
Shrinkage cracks can vary in size and level of severity depending on the amount of shrinking that occurs. A certain amount of shrinkage is normal and often planned for, however, when there are miscalculations in the concrete mix, excessive shrinkage can occur. The severity of the cracks depends on their size, location, and depth.
Settlement cracks are often found on the basement floor, however, changes in pressure can cause them to appear on walls as well. These cracks can range in severity in the same ways as shrinkage cracks.
Vertical and Diagonal Cracks
Vertical and diagonal cracks are normal and are generally not considered concerning. Most often, they don’t pose any serious structural problems. These cracks can, however, still result in flooding issues, especially near doors and windows. These cracks are most commonly related to shrinkage or settling, however, they can happen as a result of poor construction or external pressure as well.
Horizontal cracks are generally caused by changes in exterior pressure to the poured concrete foundation. These cracks are almost always serious or indicators of serious structural concerns. Bowing walls are often an indicator that a crack will or has occurred. If you see horizontal cracking in your basement, talk to a repair professional immediately to assess the risk of complete wall failure.
When to Call For Repair
The main types of cracking that are generally not threatening to the structural or waterproofing integrity of the basement include hairline cracks, shrinkage cracks, and vertical or diagonal cracks. More serious problems can occur due to settlement cracks and horizontal cracks which should be evaluated by a professional immediately, especially if they are growing or leaking.
When determining if you should consult a professional or not, it is important to be aware of issues to look for. While it is probably a good idea to call in a professional for a free consultation when you see any cracks, cracks that meet any of the following conditions may require professional foundation crack repair in Lansing MI:
- Cracks show signs of growing or are gradually becoming wider
- It is wide enough to become a tripping hazard on a horizontal surface
- There are visible signs of moisture leakages such as mildew, dampness, or flowing water
- The crack traps dirt or presents a sanitation issue
- It is a major eyesore in a high-visibility area
- The crack is wider than a credit card
What is Poured Concrete Basement Wall Crack Repair?
If concrete is more structurally sound when poured rather than when laid piece by piece, how can poured concrete basement wall cracks be repaired? Let’s take a closer look at what poured concrete basement wall crack repair is and how professionals achieve results.
Poured concrete is commonly used for Lansing basements because it is easier to install and more structurally sound than alternative applications. Concrete crack injection repairs are only suitable for poured concrete walls and will not work for block walls. Each crack is different and can appear more or less serious than they actually are. An experienced professional will be able to diagnose the problem and determine the best course of action for addressing the issue.
At StayDry® Waterproofing, we provide concrete crack injections that will stop cracks from spreading, repair leaks, and prevent flooding. Our team knows exactly how to identify areas that need repair and prevention as well as the best solution for each crack type.
How is Poured Concrete Basement Wall Crack Repair Performed?
Concrete crack injections are the most common form of poured concrete basement wall crack repair. Concrete crack injection involves a step-by-step process designed to completely seal and fortify the crack by strategically injecting the cracks with a concrete filler, such as epoxy or polyurethane.
Concrete crack injections are best performed properly with commercial equipment due to the amount of pressure needed to fully seal concrete cracks. In general, DIY concrete injection products do not produce the ideal amount of pressure or penetration to fully repair structurally concerning cracks and leaks.
The process of performing a concrete crack injection includes the following steps:
- Install a series of ports at equal intervals along the crack
- Cover the surface of the crack and leave it to cure. This will hold in the injection liquid under pressure.
- Inject filler through the ports at a consistent pressure over a short period of time
- Remove the ports leave to cure for 24 to 48 hours for epoxy or for a few minutes for polyurethane.
Epoxy Injection Crack Repair
Epoxy injection crack repair is best applied to structural cracks in the foundation wall. This type of injection uses epoxy resin to fill the space between the cracks. Epoxy is extremely strong and does not expand making it ideal for poured concrete basement wall repair.
Epoxy injection crack repair must be applied to a completely dry surface that is unlikely to continue shifting or expanding to be successful. This means that it is generally only used for horizontal structural cracks or when other repair methods have been attempted.
For example, most horizontal cracks require additional support through foundation anchors which are installed prior to performing an epoxy injection crack repair. This ensures that the repair remains unchanged for long-term flood prevention and prevention of other foundation-related issues that can occur.
There are different filler options available to address different areas of concern. In fact, epoxy comes in multiple forms ranging in viscosity from ultra-thin to paste-like depending on the width of the crack. A professional will determine the appropriate epoxy for your repair depending on the desired pressure and the size of the crack.
Epoxies can withstand over 12,000 psi of pressure (more than the concrete they are repairing) making them ideal for concrete repair. Unfortunately, this strength only comes with time as it generally takes 24 to 48 hours to cure. Because there can not be any movement in the area for several days after the repair is completed, this severely limits the application options of the injection.
Polyurethane Crack Injection
For cracks that do not pose a structural threat but show signs of moisture leakage, polyurethane crack injection is used to seal vertical and diagonal cracks in poured concrete basement walls. Generally, polyurethane is acceptable for small cracks than a quarter of an inch wide or less. Polyurethane expands to fill the cracks making it ideal for minor waterproofing and crack repair.
In some cases, additional repairs may be necessary as well as polyurethane crack injection. This is common when the polyurethane injection fails due to air pockets or active shifting. If left unsealed, these cracks can cause harmful mold and mildew to form and compromise the health of you and your family.
Unlike epoxy, polyurethane seals cracks from both the front and back and it cures within minutes. This repair is commonly used for a range of waterproofing services. The material is flexible which allows the seal to stay intact, even if the concrete shifts, however, it has essentially no strength meaning it is not ideal for structural repairs.
How Much Does Poured Concrete Basement Wall Crack Repair Cost in Lansing
Many people are hesitant to call a contractor when they are faced with the potential cost of repairing a crack in a poured concrete wall. Because of the wide range of variables that are considered when pricing the service, unfortunately, there is no way to provide an accurate estimate of the cost of a cracked basement wall repair. Waterproofing companies like StayDry Waterproofing in Lansing, however, offer free consultations so you can get the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your basement wall crack repairs.
In general, the size, shape, severity, and other issues caused by the crack affect the cost of the repair. The national average cost of concrete crack injection is $4,500, however, most minor fixes cost between $500 to $1000 with major structural repairs costing up to $25,000 if it is seriously impacting the foundation.
Waterproofing can have a huge impact on the integrity of your entire home and the health of your family. Don’t wait, call StayDry Waterproofing to get your free consultation in Lansing MI, today!