Basements have many different uses, from storage, to living space, to a laundry room and more. However, none of this would be possible without the basement floor. After all, this concrete slab holds up everything in your basement, and by extension, supports your entire home. Basement floors rely on sturdy soil for support. Weather can cause soil to weaken and crack the floors of your basement. Tar Heel Basement Systems has solutions that can help – and here’s what you need to know.
What Causes Basement Floor Cracks?
North Carolina receives plenty of rain throughout the year. Regular precipitation can take a toll on the soil below your basement, as water drains into the ground and breaks down soil particles. Chunks of the ground may be washed away while other sections become muddy and soft. As the soil weakens and loses its structural support, it can no longer hold up the weight of your home and basement. Eventually, sections of your basement floor slowly sink into the ground. This uneven settlement forces cracks to appear across your entire basement floor.
Drought and Dry Soil
North Carolina has been plagued by drought before. Hot temperatures and dry conditions are a disaster for soil. When the ground is exposed to dry heat for long enough, moisture is sucked from the dirt – forcing the soil to shrink in size and become brittle to the touch. Moreover, plant and tree roots might suck even more moisture out of the soil as a result of drought, making the problem even worse. When becomes brittle, the weight of your basement crushes through it. Plus, a gap opens up between your basement floor and the dirt as it shrinks in size. In both cases, your basement sinks into the ground and cracks appear in the floor.
The Clay Bowl Effect
When contractors build a new home, they often dig a large hole on the new property in which the basement will be built. After basement construction is finished, they refill the hole with the original soil they removed. Unfortunately, this process makes the soil much less dense than it was before. For that reason, the structural integrity of the soil is poor, and probably won’t support your basement floor very well. Moreover, the fill soil is susceptible to water-related issues from rain or snow. As water permeates this loose soil, pressure builds along the perimeter of your basement. Rising pressure eventually causes cracks in your basement floor and may even lead to wall cracks.
You might be tempted to seal basement floor cracks with caulk or another sealing solution from your local hardware store. While this might make your floors look better, it isn’t providing an actual solution for the real issue – weak soil. Contacting a professional foundation repair service like Tar Heel is your best bet at sealing floor cracks permanently. Most foundation experts use pier systems to keep your floors safe from damaged soils. Pier systems extend deep below the soil and take advantage of load-bearing strata such as bedrock to keep your home protected from weakening soil whether from rain, drought, or construction errors.
No. While nearly all foundations experience minor settling, cracks are an indication that something is wrong with the soil below your basement. For that reason, keep an eye out for even the smallest cracks in your basement floor. If you notice any, hiring a foundation expert to inspect your floor can help you stop damage before it gets started. Don’t hesitate if you notice any abnormalities in your basement floor!
It depends. First, you need to think about how close your home is to your state’s water table. If water is close the surface where you live, it’s likely that water could leak through cracks in your basement floor. Next, it depends on what caused your basement cracks in the first place. Cracks caused by soil washout, or the clay bowl effect will probably experience some kind of leakage. As water drains below the surface, it could reappear as it comes up into your basement through floor cracks. Be aware of your state’s environment, and make sure to invest in foundation repair to avoid leaking in your basement.
Tar Heel Basement Systems has the tools and experience needed to seal your basement floor cracks. With our pier systems, we can keep your basement floor supported independently from soil. Moreover, we offer wall anchors, crawl space supports, and wall reinforcements for other foundation problems you, or someone you know, might be facing. All of our solutions are designed to provide a permanent solution, so don’t wait!
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The BasementGutter™ System
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Call Tar Heel for a Free Inspection
We know that basements are a valuable part of any home. Since 2003, we’ve been helping homeowners in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill metro area, Wilmington, and the Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point metro area. We’re here to help you solve any foundation problem you might be facing, and thousands of positive online reviews prove our commitment to quality service. Not to mention, various accolades from the Better Business Bureau and Home Advisor are markers of our honest approach to business. Contact us to learn more about our foundation solutions and schedule a free inspection with one of our specialists today!