As we are approaching what is supposed to be the rainy season, now would be a great time to go into your basement and examine the walls.

What exactly is it you are looking for?

Well, water leaking in for one thing; cracks in the wall for another.

Be sure to pay special attention to horizontal cracks in your basement and for that matter, in your outdoor retaining walls.

Let's examine why - without going all Georgia Tech on you…

When poor drainage allows water to flow into the soft, non-compacted fill dirt around your basement walls tremendous hydrostatic pressures are created.  As time passes, your basement walls may crack and start to cave in.

If your cement block foundation walls have horizontal cracks or your retaining walls are leaning you should have them checked by a foundation repair expert or structural engineer right away.

When driveway retaining walls are plumb, gravity helps to hold the wall in place.  If the retaining wall leans, even a little bit, gravity then starts to pull the wall over and the more it leans the more gravity will pull it.

If any of your walls have small horizontal cracks, less than ¼” wide, the walls can be reinforced.

Cracks wider than 1/4" can be repaired as well, but you need to move to Defcon 1 to get it done.  At this point your foundation is in danger and needs immediate attention.  This is not an "I'll get to it later in the summer" situation.  This is serious.

Sound like a bit much for a Saturday afternoon?  It probably is.  I would recommend finding a qualified foundation company, or a structural engineer to do the work. 

You can find quality foundation experts at

Just remember - your job in all this is to be on the lookout for cracks and/or water seepage, and to act quickly once you find a problem.  This is not something you would really want to mess around with yourself.

Also, a cracked or unstable foundation is not going to fix itself, nor is it going to be a $100 repair.  But I promise you this: getting it repaired by a qualified, professional company will add years to the life of your home.

Quality companies also offer “life of the structure” warranties, which will make the re-sale of your home much, much easier.