Basement Wall Cracks
There are many things you learn in school that stay with you for a lifetime. One such lesson is that cold temperatures result in contraction of most materials while warmer temperatures result in expansion. Water is one of the only materials that goes against this general rule. Water expands when it freezes. Understanding the effects of temperature is important when it comes to basement wall cracks and foundation repair.
The Effects of Seasonal Cycles on Foundations
Seasonal cycles have significant effects on foundations. Foundations are affected when weather changes occur as seasons change. Temperature changes and changes in humidity especially result in expansion and contraction of foundations and can result in problems such as basement wall cracks.
- Effects of warm weather
During hot weather, water in the soil evaporates. This results in the soil contracting and moving away from the foundation. This in turn results in the loss of crucial support from the soil to the foundation. Voids are formed both under and on the sides of the foundation. This creates stress on the foundation resulting in the formation of cracks on walls as well as floors of basements. Cracks may be tiny at first but will worsen as seasons continue to change.
- Effects of wet weather
Water levels in soils increase when it rains. This results in the expansion of soil. If the soil surrounding the foundation is not well drained, hydrostatic pressure within the soil increases. This presses laterally against the foundation walls. This eventually results in the formation of basement wall cracks as well as the inward bowing of the foundation walls. This is common in areas that experience high volumes of rainfall as well as those that have a high underground water table.
Homeowners should also be wary even if they experience little rainfall. The water in the soil can find its way into cracks in the basement walls. This can result in problems during the winter when the temperatures drop.
- Effects of cold weather
Temperatures in winter can drop to freezing and below freezing point. Water in the ground and that which managed to enter small cracks in foundations freezes too. Water expands when it freezes. The cracks therefore grow to accommodate the expansion. It is therefore not uncommon to begin to experience flooding your basement after winter when the cracks have become larger.
Foundation failure can result from simple changes in weather cycles. It is important to talk to an expert to ensure that your foundation can withstand these changes.