Wall Crack Repair and Injection

What Is Wall Crack Repair in Waterproofing?  Call 248-834-0050

The shrinking of concrete foundation walls is the number-one reason for water problems in the basement. More than half of all the problems I see in basement foundations are caused by shrinking concrete. In this article I am going to talk about how I deal with water problems.

What I am going to talk about is foundation wall cracks and foundation wall crack repair. Cracks in poured concrete foundations are caused by concrete shrinking in the entire wall, from one end to the other. Cracks go from the floor all the way up to where the wood starts for the floor of the house. Concrete shrinks, and that actually makes the basement a little bit smaller, but due to the fact that the frame of the house is tied to the concrete walls, everything is held in place. The concrete shrinks, and wherever there is a weaker spot in the concrete foundation, the wall will crack. Most frequently, cracks are located at the corner of windows and the corner of beam pockets

Windows and beam pockets are put in the concrete form by the carpenters. They use blocks of wood the size of the window opening or the beam pocket to keep poured concrete out of that area of the foundation. If you look at every wall in the basement that has a window or a beam pocket, you’ll see that the wall is taller where there is no window and shorter where there is a window. Thus, there is less concrete where there is a window, and more concrete where there is no window. This shorter spot with less concrete in it is actually a weaker spot due to the fact that the concrete is shorter and not as strong. This is why we usually have foundation crack repairs around window corners and beam pocket corners

When a concrete foundation wall cracks like this, it doesn’t only crack on the side that you can see, it actually cracks all the way through the wall to the outside. There is no waterproofing on the outside of the wall, but there is what is called “damp proofing”. The damp proofing is not very thick but it is there. When the foundation cracks, sometimes it cracks the damp proofing also. If this cracking goes all the way through, there is a good chance that the crack will leak at some point. If there is a crack in the foundation wall, the damp proofing will probably give way sooner or later. I’ve been in houses where they had small-sized crack that wasn’t leaking. The owner would ask me what we should do. I usually suggest that we let it go for a while to see what happens. A year later the crack has gotten a little bit wider, then all of a sudden started leaking. That was because the damp proofing probably finally snapped and caused the leak to open.

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This is a epoxy crack injection done the normal way. Smooth and easy. The crack is open and no one tried to fix it.

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This is a epoxy crack injection done the normal way. Smooth and easy. The crack is open and no one  tried to fix it.

Some homeowners, and a lot of handymen, and some inexperienced builders actually try to stop the leak using hydraulic cement. To me that’s like throwing gasoline on a fire. The wall is shrinking, and has cracked. They put hydraulic cement on a crack in foundation repair that is still in the process of shrinking. The hydraulic cement ultimately shrinks, and we have a problem again. At this point, some people will try to chisel out the crack about a quarter-inch deeper and a quarter-inch wider to install more hydraulic cement. This makes the problem worse, because the more hydraulic cement you use, the more it will shrink.

When we are dealing with a clean unfixed crack in basement that no one has been messing around with, we will seal the crack off. We install injection ports and inject a very sticky form of hydrophobic foam. The foam expands fix crack in foundation, top to bottom and front to back. It actually sticks to both sides of the crack, so that if the crack happens to widen a little more, the foam will stretch and not come loose, and not allow a new leak. This is more complicated than smearing on some more hydraulic cement, but it usually works. The only time we have problems with d this application is if someone has tried to force hydraulic cement, caulking, or even silicone into the crack already. A crack repaired this way will leak again because these fillers are not made to
stick to the basement foundation crack.

If someone has jammed up the crack so we cannot get the foam into it, we have other ways to keep water out of your basement. Unfortunately, this also does cost extra, but it’s a good way to e guarantee that nothing will happen in the future. So please, call us before little problems become big problems. Call us, and we will come out and take care of that leaking crack. Call 248-834-0050. You’ll be glad you did.

Author: Robert B McGuire