Leaking in your basement can be due to a crack in your foundation. This can be a small problem caused by your house settling and can be fixed with a patch or sealant material. If the foundation begins to sink, you may have a bigger structural problem with your home. Cracks are cause by a number of reasons, such as the soil settling around the foundation, frost heaves, or natural disasters like an earthquake or flood. If you believe there is structural damage to your home, you need to call a professional who can assess the situation for you.
Assessing the Cracks in Your Foundation
Cracks in the foundation are usually the first sign of a problem with the foundation in your home. Small cracks that develop in a relatively new foundation are generally due to shrinkage. If your foundation is concrete and there are cracks that are almost vertical, this is probably more of a structural problem. Any cracks that grow larger, or are more than a hairline crack in your foundation should be looked at by a professional to determine the next step for your home.
Small Cracks from Shrinkage
It's pretty easy to repair small cracks in your foundation, as long as the cause is shrinkage and not a structural problem. Sealants or masonry repair epoxy can be used to fix the crack and stop water from entering your home. Hydraulic cement is also used, as it will expand as it dries. While these cracks aren't a problem with the structure of your foundation, they should be repaired to stop leaks and avoid the potential for future structural damage in your foundation.
Slabjacking and Piering to Repair Your Foundation
The two main ways to fix your foundation is through slabjacking or piering. In the slabjacking method to repair a sinking foundation, the space beneath the slab that is sinking is filled in with a mixture of concrete and other additives. Your contractor will use equipment designed to fill well placed holes that they drill in your concrete slab to pump this mixture into the ground below the slab. Piering involves the use of steel pipes to fix the settling that is occurring with the foundation.While the job is complex, the pipes work to raise the foundation and secure it into place.
If you believe your foundation is damaged, it's time to call a professional to have it looked at right away.