Foundation Wall Crack Repair – Vertical Cracks
By Jacques Bouchard
Vertical cracks in a foundation occur most often due to poor construction practice or when foundation concrete shrinks and cures. These cracks are common in both newly constructed homes and in older ones. While vertical wall cracks in the foundation do not often lead to structural issues as often as horizontal cracks, they commonly leak water from the foundation outside into the basement or crawl space area. In fact, this water flow can be so heavy that some customers call in saying that water was literally squirting into the house!
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that no one wants to buy a home with a leaking foundation wall crack. Certainly, no one wishes to live in a home with foundation water! Damaged or deteriorating foundation walls lead to a great deal of problems for homeowners and their bank accounts. Foundation soil water entering into a basement will cause a home to be difficult (if not impossible) to sell and will cause the home to lose 10% or more of its value. This means that with a $200,000 home, the value will suffer by $20,000! The problem will only worsen with time as more water rushes through the crack and the forces of nature open the crack even wider.
Home Foundation Repair
Do-it-yourself wall crack solutions are not the answer. In many cases, homeowners will attempt to repair the problem simply by adding caulk in the gaps. With a caulk seal, efflorescence will build up as water fills the crack up to the caulking and cause this plug to peel off. Additionally, if the crack isn’t clean, the caulk will bond to the dirt instead of the cement, which will weaken its effectiveness. Of course, the seal will work for a little while, but if you want to fix the problem so your foundation wall never leaks, this isn’t the answer.
Filling a wall crack with hydraulic cement or other rigid substances is also doomed to failure. The problem here is that while the hole is plugged, the problem (foundation water pressing in from the outside) still exists. Over time, as the foundation swells and shrinks with changes in temperature and moisture, the movement will work the plug loose. Foundation leaking will often begin again in about two years.
In cases where epoxy is used, the seal may still hold, but its rigidity will cause the wall to simply crack again nearby as it continues to expand and contract. Additionally, epoxy tends to cure very slowly, and it may actually run out from the other side of the crack before completely hardening. The surface to which the epoxy is added must be completely dry so it may form a proper bond. Alternatively, urethane seals work somewhat better because they’re flexible and expandable, but cracks can easily shift and expand over 100% in time, which is far beyond the ability of this material to stretch.
Another possible way to repair a leaking foundation wall crack is from the outside. To do this, you’ll have to dig straight down the foundation and uncover the entire wall crack. Hopefully, there’s no sidewalk, bush, garden, front steps, or anything else in the way of the area where the crack is located or they will need to be removed. If there’s a porch, deck, or outside stairs in the way, you’ll have to work around it somehow or remove it as well. Digging out the dirt will leave mounds in your yard and create a mess, and as the dirt is backfilled back in, it will be more porous and water-absorbent than ever. While the multiple layers of synthetic waterproof materials you install will often be effective in solving the problem, if there is ever a failure on the seal, the entire process will have to be repeated. Also, you will have to regrade the soil that was excavated over the next year to prevent it from pooling around the foundation and adding to the problem.
A Foundation Waterproofing Solution that Works EVERY Time
All of the foundation repair solutions above do work- some of the time. If you’re interested in a solution that works every time, however, look to the FlexiSpan wall crack repair solution. The FlexiSpan installation begins by locating a way for potential water to drain outside of the basement- either through a perimeter French drain system or through a small drywell created by the installer. The crack is sealed with a urethane-based sealant (not the same one mentioned earlier – this one can expand to 20 times its original volume!). It bonds well with both wet and dry concrete surfaces, and it’s impenetrable to water. It allows repair without invasive excavation of the yard, and the polyurethane polymer has a low viscosity that allows it to easily fill hairline cracks.
Even in cases where the seal fails, 95% of the water will be prevented from passing through. Any remaining water is intercepted by a foam strip laid over the crack that will direct water down to the drywell. As a finishing touch, the sealed foundation wall crack and foam strip is coated over with material that will make it as invisible as possible and will give it a clean, gray tooled-off look. The drywell is covered over with fresh concrete, and the leak is fixed neatly and forever!
Basement Systems’ basement waterproofing dealers can install this solution all across the United States as well as in Canada and the UK. If you’re interested in a free, no-obligation estimate on this product, call or contact us today!
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