How To Fix Cracks In Cinder Block Walls PATCHED
If your foundation is made from cinder blocks, you are not alone. They are very popular and used widely as they are less expensive than some other methods and easy to work with during construction. However, if you encounter problems with your cinder block wall, like cracks, broken blocks, or leaning, they are not as easy to work with during repair. You need to hire a contractor who has the knowledge and experience to make the repairs without causing more damage.
how to fix cracks in cinder block walls
Cracks will appear in cinder block walls if there is improper drainage under and around the wall. The earth could settle deeper if it is too dry. It could also start to shift and crack if you live near heavy traffic, have underground transit below, or experience frequent earthquakes.
If you have cinder blocks as foundation walls, the weight of the house can become too much. They can bow out and buckle under the weight. If the walls are not reinforced, there can be a lot of problems.
Trying to replace a few cinder blocks will not be an easy task. Often, the entire wall will need to be repaired, reinforced, or taken down. If it is a stand-alone wall, it is easier to just take it down.
This chapter of the Foundation Crack Bible discusses in detail the process of evaluating stair-stepped or diagonal cracking and related signs of foundation movement or damage in concrete block walls. Similar terms to "concrete block" used by some include "cinder block" or masonry block or concrete masonry or CMU walls and foundations.
We'll list various crack patterns that you find in block masonry walls and foundation, cite the importance of noticing the diretion of wall movement - inwards, outwards, up, down, leaning, and we'll point to cracked concrete block wall repair articles and methods ranging from simply cosmetic repairs through sealing leaky cracks to structural repairs that may be needed.
A typical cause of diagonal or "step" cracking in a concrete block wall (and some brick or other CMU walls) is frost heave or settlement, but as you can see in the photo below, a collapsing masonry block foundation may also show diagonal cracking near wall corners.
Watch out: even without external forces such as settlement causing step cracking or diagonal cracks along mortar joints in a concrete block wall, expansion as well as shrinkage can be caused by moisture, chemical, and temperature changes in the material.
When I see a repair that has re-cracked I've got pretty good evidence that there is ongoing or cyclic damage to the wall, perhaps from frost or seasonally expanding soils. I'll say more below about why step cracks in block walls usually occur near the building corners.
A concrete block wall is restrained chiefly along its bottom where it is affixed to the footing, and also at corners where the ends of the wall are restrained by their intersection with the mating walls on either side.
Vertical movement in a concrete block or brick wall might appear as either vertical cracks but more often as step cracks in which the crack pattern follows themortar joints between the masonry units in a stair stepping pattern.
But unfortunately even this "rule" has exceptions. In Florida we observed a concrete block home with step cracking high in some of its walls.The cracks were traced to settlement at the other end of the building which was responding to soil subsidence over a sinkhole.
Little anomalies happening around my house after two Strom drainages got clogged behind my house. Opened a toilet bottle 2 x 4 x 2 hole on the Master Bedroom side of the house. My house sits in front of Gull Lake. Now after the storm the sidewalk had a void and a around street light. Further, had hole open the property same day when moving my car adjacent to where this is happening. So three holes in. Master Bedroom foundation was exposed. Now settling is starting around my house and walls are cracking. I've lived here for 7 years and the house was built in '79. Problems and cracks are showing more now that I'm reaching 60 days
The site and carport appear to be level. Yes, lots of rain here. The flat roof could pour a great deal of water to this area as it does not have a gutter.The interior walls are drywall. Here is a pic of the inside. The cracks are to the left and right of this window. Lots of ceiling cracks.
The carport and site appear to be level.Yes, lots of rain here.The interior walls are drywall. This picture faces the window that has the cracks on each side outside. The walls look good, but the ceiling has quite a few cracks. The roof was replaced in 2014.I think the flat roof over the carport/porch probably pours a lot of water to the front corner of the house/living area.
Different solutions for cracks in basement walls are available, and some may be better than others depending on your situation. Below is an outline of some popular methods used to combat hydrostatic pressure on your home.
Unless there's a serious structural problem, wide, top-to-bottom cracks in brick or concrete-block walls are easy to fill. And there's no need to be obsessed with perfection. Work through the broken bricks instead of trying to replace them.
A cinder block retaining wall is a choice that requires less investment compared to a solid concrete wall, but it's not without its imperfections. However, repairing requires just a few masonry tools and no heavy masonry equipment.
The rebar from the removed block makes it impossible to put another one in place. Use a metal cutting blade such as this one from Husqvarna, and cut the rebar as close as possible to the top and bottom of the cinder block you removed.
If you are reading this post you likely have a basement leak which you believe to be the result of one or more cracks in your cinderblock (or concrete block) foundation. While this is often the case, foundation cracks are not always responsible for the water in your basement. Interestingly, a good number of wet basements are caused by the water table rising rapidly after heavy rains or when substantial amounts of snow melt quickly. The presence of cracks in a cinderblock foundation may well be the main source of water ingress into the basement.
Once ground water penetrates a cinderblock foundation wall, the hollow cavities in the blocks will fill up with water. If the water in the blocks cannot escape, the walls will seep because the cinder-blocks are porous and allow moisture to wick through them.The effect of pooling water in cinder-block foundations
For most homeowners the foundation cracks are minor and the only issue to contend with is the basement dampness or basement leaks. There are two methods to waterproof block foundations: one is the installation of an interior perimeter drain system (which means no digging!) and the other is customary excavation and waterproofing. Just follow the links below to learn more:
Horizontal cracks are caused by movements in the foundation and the depreciation of materials affecting the walls. They often appear on older houses as the materials tend to lose their stretch with the years.
If nails or screws are popping out of the walls, or if you notice cracks in the interior walls or ceiling, this can also be a sign of a serious issue. Cracks between the walls and the ceiling is a sign of a structural issue.
The following repair approach solves this problem so well the finished repair ends up stronger than the surrounding concrete. And it works great for vertical and horizontal cracks. Here, I'll demonstrate the repair process with two concrete cinder blocks to simulate a basement wall crack.
The name speaks for itself: it is a wall constructed either of cinder blocks or concrete blocks. They are very similar in shape and looks (rectangular, often with a few cavities inside, of a light-grey color), but they are very different in the components of the concrete mix. Cinder blocks, besides cement, sand, and concrete, contain coal cinders. Concrete blocks are purely made of concrete, sand (gravel), and cement.
A concrete block wall is stronger, more durable, and harder to repair. Cinder block walls are very popular and widely used because of their low construction costs and simple ways of restoration. Unlike concrete wall repairs, a damaged cinder block is easier to work with, to replace it with a new cinder block, etc. But in both cases, you need a professional builder with relevant skills, a portfolio, and necessary licenses.
One of the most common services that we offer to our clients is cinder wall block repair. Being an affordable alternative to concrete blocks, this material does require more maintenance and more often meets a need of repair. It is done in 8 main steps:
Usually, the crumbling surfaces/deteriorating block walls are fixed with the help of a mix of masonry sand and Portland cement. The holes are patched with the help of the trowel and left to set. But we do not recommend experimenting with DIY: better to invite masonry specialists to do the job.
Crawl space foundation wallsWhen foundation cracks appear in poured concrete walls supporting a crawl space foundation the cause is usually foundation settlement. Foundation piers are the most effective solution to combat this. Carbon fiber patches can be applied to structurally reinforce the cracked concrete. This seals the crack and ensures that the crack will not worsen over time.
Thrasher presented our customer with two repair options: install vertical wall restraints (steel beams) or helical tiebacks with C-channels. C-channels are used mainly on block walls, or walls that are broken horizontally, to support the entire wall when necessary. Although installing the tiebacks was slightly more expensive, the customer chose this option because of the 25-year warranty offered with the tieback system.
Block walls are commonly used for foundations throughout the Midwest, from Kansas and Missouri to Nebraska and Iowa, and are susceptible to bowing, leaning, and collapsing. Bowing basement walls, usually caused by moisture in loose or expansive soil, are a sign of a serious foundation issue that requires an inspection by a foundation expert. A bowing foundation wall is usually cracking near the middle, generally in the mortar joints between blocks, sometimes forming a stair-step pattern as it moves up. These cracks can let moisture and other infestations in your basement, creating unhealthy conditions and seriously weakening the support your home requires to retain its structural integrity, leading to even more significant problems. Left unaddressed, it can lead to a full wall failure and replacement.