Basement Foundation Waterproofing and Cinder Block Wall Repair
Cinder block foundation walls can be particularly troublesome for homeowners (especially in the Milwaukee area). The combination of older homes and wet weather provide less than ideal conditions for dry, healthy foundations.
Unfortunately cinder block foundations are generally more delicate than poured concrete foundations, because there are many more points of weakness within the wall. In advanced cases, the damage to the foundation walls are so bad that they begin bowing inward to the point of total collapse. These extreme situations are more common than we’d certainly like to see, so we recommend taking action at the first signs of cracking.
Identifying Types of Cinder Block Foundation Damage
Stair-Step Mortar Joint Cracks
Hairline stair-step cracks in older cinder block walls are probably the most common damage type. This, along with the upcoming damage types, are primarily cause by external lateral soil pressure due to excess moisture or compromised foundation footing. If it is caught early, the wall can be reinforced either using traditional means (beams/anchors/etc), or with carbon fiber sheeting.
Thick, horizontal cracks that stretch across large portions of your basement walls generally point to serious structural issues. More often than not, these are accompanied by an inward bowing of the center portion of the walls. The structural integrity of your foundation is considered compromised at this point, and immediate service by a structural or waterproofing professional is highly recommended.
In both cases, you’re almost certainly going to notice issues with unwanted moisture and pests entering the home through the soil behind the wall. For temporary relief, consider purchasing hydraulic cement and/or masonry caulk from your local home improvement store. These can be applied easily by the average do-it-yourselfer, and may help keep moisture & pests out, and heat in, while you prepare a permanent solution.
Early action is key when dealing with structural. Don’t hesitate to consult your local Wisconsin foundation professional for a complimentary evaluation.