LESLIE: Sherry in Georgia is on the line and dealing with a basement crack in the wall. Tell us what’s going on. Is it in cinder block? Is it in your foundation wall? Where do you see this?
SHERRY: It’s in the wall of the foundation. It’s poured cement. And just recently, I noticed that there is a – not a straight but kind of a curved crack. And it looks like maybe a little bit of dust or water has come through it.
TOM: OK. Sherry, is it a vertical crack or is it a horizontal crack?
SHERRY: Kind of vertical but it kind of curves.
TOM: OK. And it’s a poured concrete foundation, so has the crack always been there or is it something that’s very recent?
SHERRY: It’s not actually in the floor; it’s in the wall. It’s actually a basement wall and yes, it’s poured.
TOM: Right. Has it always been there or is it something that just recently popped up?
SHERRY: I think it’s pretty recent. I don’t remember seeing it before.
TOM: Well, cracks in foundation walls are really pretty typical and that includes poured concrete walls – poured foundation walls. So what I would do is not panic. If it’s a minor crack like that, I would simply seal it with a masonry caulk or a silicone caulk. And all you’re doing is really keeping the water from the outside ground from kind of leaking back through the wall. But a minor crack like that is generally caused by a little bit of shift in the foundation, perhaps some settlement or some shrinkage in the wall itself.
So are we talking about a hairline crack here, I presume?
SHERRY: Yeah, it’s a very – yes, it’s very, very (inaudible at 0:14:38) but it looks like something has seeped through that I guess that’s what worried me the most.
TOM: Right. It might be water. And what happens – if you get ground water that gets through and then it evaporates, it leaves its mineral salts behind and that might be the dust that you’re seeing. It’s sort of like a whitish/grayish dust and that’s the minerals in the water when it leaks through and then evaporates.
SHERRY: Oh, OK.
TOM: So just sweep that out before you put the caulk in and I think that’s all you need to do right now.
SHERRY: Well, thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it.
TOM: OK, Sherry. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.