St. Charles IL is a thriving city on the banks of the Fox River in Chicago’s western suburbs. Years ago, St. Charles was thought to be “way out there” but, as the Chicago metropolis has marched westward, it’s become a commuter suburb.
The population of St. Charles has doubled since 1977 but really boomed during the 1990’s when loads of new houses were built, many along the Randall Road corridor. Downtown St. Charles, however, has retained much of the flavor of the old days with quaint shops, galleries and restaurants.
Another St. Charles tradition that has endured is the Kane County Flea Market, held monthly at the county fairgrounds in St. Charles. The flea market has been running for more than 45 years and draws huge crowds from all over the Midwest to browse for antique furniture, collectables and more modern bargains. It is one of the longest running markets anywhere and one of the largest with as many as 1000 vendors on a given weekend.
With all those homes in St. Charles, both new and old, it’s inevitable that some homeowners will discover basement foundation cracks in their home. Depending on certain factors, such cracks may be merely troublesome or dangerous to the stability of the home and should be repaired promptly.
Basement foundation cracks fall generally into two categories: structural and non-structural. Non-structural cracks are less serious but can be the sources of significant water seepage. Structural cracks, on the other hand, can threaten the stability of the entire foundation and the home it supports.
Non-structural cracks are usually narrow, less than 1/8”, and do not show up in any detectable pattern. In a poured concrete foundation, these cracks can appear anywhere and are usually more or less vertical. In a masonry foundation, the cracks follow the mortar joints between the masonry units (concrete block, brick, stone) giving the appearance of a stairstep pattern.
Structural cracks are wider than the non-structural variety and typically will appear in a pattern. In a poured concrete foundation, there is normally one vertical crack in the middle of the damaged wall and two angled cracks across the upper corners. Not visible from inside are two more vertical cracks at the outside corners where the damaged wall has begun to separate from the adjacent ones.
In a masonry wall, the cracks also follow a stairstep pattern but lead to a bulging or bowed area in the center of the wall.
Repairing a non-structural crack in a poured concrete wall is done by injecting the crack with expanding polyurethane to seal it against further seepage. Fixing a non-structural crack in a masonry wall is a little more involved as it requires installation of an exterior waterproofing membrane. Seepage can also be managed by installing interior drain tile and covering the interior wall with a vapor barrier.
Structural cracks are signs of a larger problem that must be repaired rather than the crack itself. For example cracks that indicate inward wall movement point to a need for wall stabilization that can be done with carbon fiber strips if the wall movement is minimal or with low-profile channel steel if the wall has moved more than 2 inches.
When sinking or dropping of the foundation is indicated, the foundation must be raised back to level and stabilized with hydraulic push piers.
Depending on the type and location of a basement foundation crack a homeowner will need the services of a basement waterproofing contractor or a foundation repair expert. At U.S. Waterproofing, our basement waterproofing team has been sealing cracks since our founding in 1957 and our foundation repair experts use engineering data and the latest technology to repair and stabilize foundations permanently and cost-effectively. So, why not ask for our free advice?
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