Cracks in your basement should be filled to keep out water vapor, insects, odors, radon gas, and groundwater. Since your house settles over time, cracks are to be expected, and they're usually nothing to worry about. However, certain types of cracks can be signs of foundation damage. If you're not sure if the cracks you see are serious, call a foundation repair professional to get advice. Here are three basement crack repairs you may need to have done.
1. Coat Hairline Cracks
Tiny hairline cracks are the most common and they result from a settling house. If you want to get rid of them because they make your basement look ugly, you can paint them with a concrete coating that sinks into the cracks. This covers the tiny imperfections as well as spalling if it's present, so your basement floor has an attractive, smooth appearance again.
2. Fill Small Cracks With Grout
You can fill small cracks with grout, but you may want to monitor them first to see how they're spreading. If the cracks change directions or continue to get bigger, you may want a foundation contractor to take a look. If the cracks don't get any bigger, you can fill them with grout and smooth the grout over the surface to remove the cracks from sight.
3. Inject Larger Cracks With Epoxy
Large cracks are more worrisome since they might indicate a foundation problem. Even if a contractor says the cracks are just cosmetic, you'll want to fill them with epoxy to close the cracks and keep water out of your basement. Injecting epoxy involves using a tip to get the epoxy all the way to the back of the crack. The entire crack should be completely filled with epoxy to stabilize the crack and seal it to keep out water and insects.
Epoxy can be used on walls and the floor of your basement. It's important to be careful with larger cracks so that you don't seal them and cover up a bigger problem. For instance, a crack that's accompanied by even a small amount of wall bowing should be looked at by a foundation contractor so the wall bowing can also be repaired.
All homes can get basement cracks. They're common even in new homes since a new house has a period where it settles. Cracks aren't necessarily a reason to be alarmed, but it's important to differentiate between cracks caused by settling and those caused by a foundation problem. You can probably fill cracks yourself, but if you don't feel comfortable doing so, call a foundation contractor and let them do the basement crack repairs for you.