Water is leaking down my basement wall, what do I do?

Published on July 14th, 2021

Every basement has six points of entry from the ground and rainwater. One of these points of entry is labeled as a wall crack. Obviously, we must look at the specific construction of the wall that is leaking and how this will affect the solution to stop the water. There are several forms of walls: poured foundation, block walls, brick foundation, fieldstone wall foundation.

Each type of foundation has a different type of solution to stop water from getting into the inside. The obvious way to stop water is to attack it from the outside. When the basements were originally built, to install the walls, each foundation has an over dig area that is back filled to the foundation and inheriting a lower psi pressure of dirt compared to the virgin undisturbed soil 10-20 feet away. One could seal the crack from the exterior; however, this could get very expensive, and things can go wrong if not done properly. Most companies that do this type of work will not warranty exterior work due to the fluctuations in temperatures and weather variables. The preferred way for waterproofing companies or homeowners will be to address the cracks is from the interior. This is the most cost-effective and reliable way to stop water from coming in. Do you have cracks in your basement wall?  If so, follow the simple basement sealing steps below or call the experts at 1-800 Busy Dog. 

On a poured wall foundation, the ways to fix the wall crack are as follows:

  1. Hydraulic cement:

This is a common practice among homeowners to install hydraulic cement on the wall crack on a poured foundation wall. This will usually work for one or two seasons, but with the change in temperature in the rough New England climate, concrete expands and contracts and usually the hydraulic cement will crack and will continue to leak.

 2. Epoxy injection on a poured foundation wall:

This works very well and is used by some contractors. Further movement due to seasonal changes of the foundation wall creating further cracks is a concern. Epoxy injection makes the wall more rigid at the crack so if there is movement in the foundation another crack can and will occur. Most contractors that have been around for many years will use a different form of injection.

 3. Polyurethane injections:

This is the preferred method for wall cracks on the poured foundation wall. The polyurethane injection is injected into the wall at a 45° angle through high pressure ports, the polyurethane will go through to the outside of the wall and seal from the outside and all the way through the crack. This is a movable pliable component. Polyurethane will not produce further cracks down the road as the concrete expands and contracts, the polyurethane will do so as well.

It is important that the first statement is noted: Six points of entry in any basement: 1) Wall crack, 2) Floor crack, 3) Floor wall joint, 4) Windows, 5) Bulkheads, and 6) Sill plate.

In treating any wall crack it is important to note that the sill plate is on the wall above cracks, as is the floor wall joint, below the crack, so be careful when diagnosing that it is coming from the wall crack only.

Block foundations usually have hollow or semi-hollow blocks. Some of the blocks may have been filled with concrete but this is never fully filled, creating a void in the middle of the wall. Water will come in over the footing go up into the block and come out through the mortar seams in the block wall. This creates a unique situation that demands careful consideration. Drilling the block at the floor wall joint to relieve the water pressure that is going up the wall is one solution. Most contractors will give the option of installing a system underneath the floor drilling the block so that the water will go into the subfloor and then out of the house either through a pump or through a channel system.

Hydraulic cement in this type of setting will again only work for a period of time due to the amount of concrete on the face of the block. If a sub floor system or baseboard system is not wanted on the interior of the home and we just want to treat the crack alone, sometimes exterior solution is a good method to go. We dig down to the footing, seal it from the outside, and install a barrier on the wall to stop the water. You must be careful to tramp the dirt down in 1-foot lifts so as the low-pressure system created by digging the hole will not magnify the amount of water that goes into the over dig area, creating excess pressure on the crack.

Basement Technologies has a unique system where we will install a special compound called Chemcrete and seal the wall from the interior. Chemcrete creates a microscopic chemical bond with the block, sealing the block and the crack as one, so as the expansion and contraction occurs over the seasons the cracks should not be pronounced again.

Fieldstone walls, brick walls or another unique situation, due to the mortar joints in between the fieldstone or brick, there are literally thousands of potential wall cracks in every field stone or brick foundation wall. This can get very complicated, and a professional solution is usually needed to take care of the situation.

Installing a vapor barrier over the entire wall and installing that into a subfloor system is a preferred method for most contractors. Digging down on the outside while being careful to make sure that the structure does not fall, checking for tilted walls, etc. Once you remove the dirt on the outside, there is a remote possibility of the wall caving outwards. You need to be very careful in these situations, sealing from the outside of these types of walls are usually not feasible. With these types of walls, due to age, they usually do not have a footing. Therefore, if you seal the wall from the outside, the water will create pressure and go underneath the wall itself and come in at the floor wall joint unless a full footing drain is installed and drained down a hill or drywell.

Basement technologies 1-800 Busy Dog has a unique product called Chemcrete. We will chip out most of the mortar in between the joints and replace the mortar with a special blend of Chemcrete concrete. We will then spray Chemcrete over the top of the wall, creating a nice aesthetic look throughout the basement. These types of jobs come with a warranty and will not fail if done by properly trained and skilled technicians. From basement sealing, basement waterproofing, foundation repair to mold remediation and more, we can handle it all.  Call us today. 

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