For most homeowners, there are few sights more concerning than that of a crumbling basement wall. After all, because your foundation is responsible for supporting every other floor of your house, it is only reasonable to worry that damage to your basement walls could eventually compromise the structural integrity of your entire home.
With this article, we hope to help you understand what’s causing your basement wall to crumble. After that, we’ll be ready to explore the best way to restore your basement walls to full strength.
Causes of Basement Wall Crumbling
Although it’s obvious that a crumbling basement wall is something you should fix as soon as you can, the causes of this problem are not always immediately apparent. The sections below outline four of the most common causes of basement wall crumbling. By learning about these causes, you’ll be better prepared to find the repair options that are best for your home.
Since a typical basement space exists below the ground’s surface, the walls of a basement act as retaining walls to hold back the soil that surrounds them. The combination of that soil and the water it holds can create an immense amount of hydrostatic pressure.
Under normal conditions, a basement wall will be able to hold back that hydrostatic pressure. However, when that pressure reaches a certain threshold, it can overcome the strength of your foundation walls, causing them to crack and crumble.
Poor Construction Techniques
One of the more unfortunate causes of crumbling basement walls is sub-par construction methods on the part of the team that built your house. Although preventable, this cause of basement wall crumbling is all too common.
When construction teams cut corners or fail to mix and pour your foundation’s concrete properly, your basement will be unable to perform as intended over the long term. At times, inadequate construction techniques will only become apparent years later, as your poorly built basement walls crumble and collapse under weights they should be capable of supporting.
Mold and Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew are common in many basements, but this certainly does not mean they are something you should overlook. When left untreated, mold and mildew can cause significant damage to your foundation that may eventually cause it to crumble.
The moisture present in many basements encourages mold and mildew growth. As mold and mildew spread, they can cause a reaction that slowly weakens the concrete in your basement walls. If this problem persists, your foundation will continually weaken until it begins to crumble. In addition, mold and mildew can pose a serious health risk to you and your family.
Extreme Foundation Settling
As time passes, the soil upon which your foundation rests can shift and sink. This causes your foundation–and the rest of your house–to shift and sink as well. To a degree, this phenomenon (known as “foundation settling”) is normal.
With that said, extreme settling that causes your foundation to sink into the ground unevenly can result in a wide range of issues for your home. Among those issues are cracks in your foundation, which will continually degrade until your basement walls are crumbling.
Fixing a Crumbling Basement Wall
In some cases, you may be able to fix mild basement wall damage on your own. However, it’s more likely that you’ll need to hire a professional for assistance if your foundation damage is severe.
If you are dealing with hairline cracks in your basement walls, you may have the chance to apply a patching compound to the cracks to repair them. Patching compound is widely available and relatively easy to use.
Still, if your basement walls are truly crumbling, it is always best to seek the help of an expert. A qualified foundation repair team will be able to quickly discover the reason why your basement wall is crumbling before suggesting an appropriate solution.
Preventing a Basement Wall from Crumbling Again
After fixing a basement wall, it is important to take action to reduce the odds of this problem occurring again. Fortunately, there are many preventative measures you can take to discourage basement wall degradation.
First, it is important to keep your basement clean and relatively dry. Regular cleaning will discourage the harmful spread of mold and mildew. Likewise, dehumidification and basement waterproofing can help prevent excessive moisture from building up.
Hiring a foundation repair team to install an improved drainage system is also a highly effective way to relieve any hydrostatic pressure that makes it more likely for your basement walls to crumble. Additional measures–including ensuring correct grading around your home, cleaning your gutters regularly, and installing downspout extensions–also minimize the risk of your basement wall crumbling due to hydrostatic pressure.
Need Help with Crumbling Basement Walls in Your Home?
Dealing with a crumbling basement wall on your own can be a challenging task to face. The good news is that there are plenty of professional foundation technicians who are well-versed when it comes to repairing basement walls.
If you live in Eastern North Carolina, the team at Regional Foundation & Crawl Space Repair is prepared to help you with your crumbling basement wall. We offer a free estimate to all our prospective customers, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help fix your crumbling basement walls.