Basement walls will usually begin to bow before you can see any cracks. This bowing is sometimes difficult to see, but any bowing at all is an indication of a weakened structure. This can be from the external pressures on the foundation, and it is only a matter of time before this type of cracking shows on the inside of the basement. Brick walls are just as vulnerable to bowing and cracking as concrete and are also susceptible to crumbling mortar. Bowing of basement walls is a serious problem must be addressed before the problem becomes irreparable. Although it is sometimes difficult to see bowing walls or sinking foundations when they begin, there are other signs that help you to spot problems.
Signs that help you to spot basement settling are:
- Cracks in the walls that are wider at the top than at the bottom
- Floors that are not level
- Doors, cabinets, and windows that do not shut properly
- Cracking in the upstairs drywall
- Cracking in exterior brickwork and/or caulking
- Leaning of outside chimneys and/or porches
Just remember, if the crack in your basement or foundation wall is related to a foundation problem, bowing walls or a sagging/settling foundation, Childers Brothers, Inc. can help! Foundation cracks can be caused by concrete shrinkage when the structure is built, or from pressures due to expanding or shrinking soils. If you have a crack and do not treat it, it is possible that the crack may get worse. Additionally, the movement of the walls due to pressure from the outside can work the cracks open even more, causing attempts to patch the crack to fail and increasing the size of the crack.