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Basement Wall Cracks

Does your basement have jagged cracks along the walls? While basement wall cracks are common, that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly.  

If ignored, they compromise your basement’s structural integrity and make it easier for water to get inside. While figuring out how to manage basement cracks may seem like a daunting task, AFS makes dealing with basement wall cracks easy.  

We stand ready to assess basement wall cracks, explain their causes, and recommend proven solutions that provide a long-term fix. With the information on this page, you’ll understand why wall cracks happen and the best steps to take if you want to stop them! 

What Is a Basement Wall Crack? 

A crack in a basement wall refers to any split, fracture, or fissure in the material that makes up the basement’s perimeter structure. Cracks arise when forces act upon the foundation and overpower the weak tensile strength of concrete.  

While cracks do not automatically equal foundation failure, they do require prompt attention to avoid getting worse and leading to water intrusion or structural instability.  

Not all cracks are created equal—the location, type, pattern, and width of a crack determines its severity and required repair techniques. Our inspection process thoroughly analyzes all present cracks to determine appropriate solutions. 

What Causes Basement Wall Cracks? Understanding the Forces Behind Cracking 

Many factors contribute to the formation and spread of basement wall cracks. During an inspection, our team helps you to understand these causes and makes it easier for you to identify them: 

Settlement and Shifting Soil 

The soil under and around the basement naturally shifts over time. Sometimes, this is due to erosion from rain or groundwater. 

Other times, this is caused by dry conditions that cause the soil to shrink. In either case, the ground is unable to support the basement properly, so it cracks under its own weight.  

Poorly compacted backfill also settles unevenly, causing stress points. Settlement cracks typically run vertically and follow mortar joints in the wall. 

Hydrostatic Pressure 

After rain or snow, water collects underground and builds immense lateral pressure. If located near basement walls, it causes them to bow and bend. This is hydrostatic pressure. 

Over time, this pressure overwhelms the concrete’s tensile strength and horizontal cracks appear near the floor (where water meets the walls). 

Freeze-Thaw Cycles 

Seasonal freeze-thaw cycles subject the foundation to repeated expansion and contraction. Concrete experiences stress as water within it freezes and thaws repeatedly. Vertical cracks frequently form at outside wall corners first. 

Tree Roots 

As tree roots grow and search for water, they exert pressure on the foundation. This pressure damages weak points in basement walls, especially near the perimeter (where roots have easy access). 

Correctly identifying the forces that caused basement wall cracks dictates which repair techniques will work best. No matter what, AFS has solutions designed to counteract the forces behind cracks! 

Can You Fix Cracked Basement Walls? 

Absolutely! Thanks to modern innovations in foundation repair, cracked walls and floors don’t have to mean replacing an entire basement wall. Now, you can work with professionals to reinforce your walls, close cracks, and defend against them well into the future. 

AFS installs different types of wall reinforcement to defend basement walls from cracking again. With our warrantied solutions, your basement remains safe, stable, and dry for years to come. 

How to Fix Cracked Basement Walls: Our Repair Process 

Our repair process is trusted by thousands of homeowners in the Southeast. The reasons being our dedication to detail and efficiency. Here’s what to expect if you work with AFS: 

1. Thorough Evaluation 

We meticulously map all present cracks and note the locations, sizes, patterns, and openings. This reveals if settlement, hydrostatic pressure, tree roots, freeze-thaw cycles, or curing issues caused the cracking. Our engineering team assesses soil conditions and the foundation’s overall state. 

2. Install Reinforcement Tools 

We install the ideal reinforcement solutions to strengthen vulnerable areas and prevent future cracking. Options include: 

3. Insert Waterproofing and Drainage 

To defend against hydrostatic pressure and moisture penetration through cracks, we apply an interior drain system, dehumidifier, and heavy-duty vapor barrier. Also, our sump pumps actively drain water away from the foundation. 

4. Gutter and Downspout Services 

For homeowners in Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Huntsville, our team offers comprehensive gutter services. We install a gutter system that captures water efficiently and stops runoff from damaging the side of your home.  

Plus, we can install downspout extensions for your gutters. This prevents gutters from draining too much water right next to your basement (which often leads to hydrostatic pressure) and causing cracks. 

The AFS product line is made of industry-leading solutions that can be tailored to your basement’s needs. Over two decades of experience with cracked basement walls means we know how to bolster basements and keep them that way. 

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Repair Cracked Walls 

Acting quickly is always best when it comes to cracked walls. Without prompt action, minor cracks turn into major foundation failures and could cause other issues: 

  • Cracks worsen over time as forces act upon them, often at an exponential rate 
  • Expanding cracks allow heavier water intrusion that causes erosion, flooding issues, and potential mold growth 
  • Ignoring cracks risks additional settlement, sinking floors, and compromise of structural supports 
  • Repair costs escalate as cracking spreads, not to mention costs from secondary water damage 
  • For safety, large foundation cracks require monitoring sensors in case of sudden propagation 

Don’t gamble with your home’s foundation and endanger your household. AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists offers urgent, effective solutions to repair existing cracks and reinforce your entire foundation for lasting performance. We go beyond surface-level crack repairs to comprehensively strengthen basement walls and floors at their core. 

Contact AFS for Expert Crack Repairs in Alabama 

Cracks in your home’s basement walls or floor slab demand attention to avoid foundation instability and costly water damage.  

At AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists, we utilize industry-leading solutions to help repair existing cracks and strengthen your entire basement. 

We offer free, comprehensive basement inspections, so contact us today to schedule yours! Don’t settle for short-term cosmetic fixes – get to the foundation of the problem with comprehensive repairs from the experts at AFS. 

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AFS Service Areas

Our Locations

Birmingham, AL

130 Interstate Commerce Crt. Bldg. 100 & 200
Alabaster, AL 35007

Chattanooga, TN

214 Industrial Park Dr.
Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379

Columbus, GA

2701 Opelika Road
Phenix City, AL 36870

Dothan, AL

1909 Montgomery Hwy, Suite 322,
Dothan, AL 36303

Florence, AL

118 E Mobile St
Florence, AL 35630

Huntsville, AL

2415 Jordan Road
Huntsville, AL 35811

Knoxville, TN

3028 E Governor John Sevier Highway
Knoxville, TN 37914

Mobile, AL / Biloxi, MS

3131 Hamilton Blvd.
Theodore, AL 36582

Montgomery, AL

445 Dexter Avenue, Suite 4050
Montgomery, AL 36104

Nashville, TN

1519 Heil Quaker Blvd.
LaVergne, TN 37086

Pensacola, FL

89 W. Hood Dr.
Pensacola, FL 32534