Did you know that most homes can develop basement wall leaks within 10 to 15 years from their construction? This has become a frequent complaint among homeowners. Also, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors, traditional basement waterproofing methods have not passed the test of time. So, what is the usual course of action taken to solve such a problem? Waterproofing contractors are usually called upon to install standard interior drains with a sump pump or to recommend excavating down to the footers and do some waterproofing work on the foundation walls on the exterior. Though these solutions sound good, they are not cheap, where the average exterior waterproofing service will cost you tens of thousands of dollars and interior perimeter drains will cost you about six thousand dollars. This is where doing the work yourself is a more cost-effective option. Fixing a leak on your basement wall can be accomplished with a little waterproofing know-how and with the best products for the project.
1. Find Where The Water Is Coming From.
By knowing why your basement wall leaks and locating the source can make the job surprisingly simple and inexpensive. This step includes knowing the common leak causes and using the best product solutions. The first line of defense in basement wall waterproofing should always be made on the exterior. You can try checking if your home properly diverts rainwater from the wall’s foundation by looking into your gutters, grading and downspout extensions to see if there are any damage. These simple steps can be the end-all solution and can go a long way.
2. Stop Water Seepage If You Have a Leaky Floor-To-Wall Joint.
Water coming up from the corner floor-to-wall joint or pushing up from underneath the slab is a very common complaint from homeowners, and if this is your case, here are tips that you should follow:
Usually, while water will migrate through a poured concrete wall, it will sink and come out at the bottom of your wall. If you have concrete blocks, the hollow cavities would fill up with the highest pressure being at the bottom of the water column. Now, it would seem like the water is coming up from the floor-to-wall joint. One easy way to solve this problem is simply sealing the walls with the deep-penetrating sealer to stop the water migration.
You would also experience water building up outside the foundation and seeping through the joint where your wall sits on the footing and up through the joint connecting the floor and the wall. A solution to this problem is chasing the joint a half inch deep with a hand-held grinder and filling the joint using a crack filler to provide a flexible joint. Another way to fix it is to inject the joint with an easy-peel foundation crack repair kit, where the expanding polyurethane would seal the leaky joint.
3. Repair The Cracks You Find.
Most types of houses, both old and new, will develop some cracks in the foundation of their walls. And if you see that a crack is not leaking, keep in mind that it will only be a matter of time until it does, as the exterior coating for waterproofing will gradually deteriorate. So, if this is your situation, you should take action as soon as possible to repair it and avoid water damage and potential growth of mold.
When it comes to repairing a foundation crack, keep in mind that temporary fixes simply do not last. Caulk will peel, and hydraulic cement does not bond properly to concrete, eventually getting loose someday and letting the water to seep in. Though working on this kind of home maintenance project by yourself might appear daunting or difficult, it is surprisingly quite easy. You can just apply a professional and DIY concrete crack repair kits to get the job done like a pro!
4. Waterproof Your Walls.
If your foundation walls appear to be wet or begin seeping water only when rain pours heavily or if you notice spots of efflorescence (also known as white powder) on the concrete surface, which is a sign of capillary water seepage, then it would be high time to act before the problem gets worse and more difficult to repair. In the case of a wall already wet or leaking, allow the concrete to dry out first before you start anything to ensure the best waterproofing results. You can speed up the drying process by drilling weeping holes in the bottom of the concrete blocks and installing a fan in the area to hasten evaporation. Once the concrete is sufficiently dry, you should seal your foundation walls with a deep-penetrating concrete sealer. This type of seal is always a very effective solution, unlike cementitious coatings, waterproofing paints and membrane coatings that will eventually crack, peel or loosen, as they will be pushed off by hydrostatic water pressure and white powder.
Eventually, about after two years or more, these concrete coatings or paints would fail, requiring you to reapply them again. As for the deep-penetrating sealer, it cannot be budged by negative side water pressure and efflorescence, as it works by penetrating deep (up to 4 inches) into the concrete, expands inside the pores and cures as a mineral. Once applied, it will be permanent as a waterproofing solution against vapor, water seepage and even radon gas—it combines concrete preservation, damp proofing, waterproofing and radon mitigation in one product!
If you have clay brick walls, you can instead use a brick and masonry sealer, which can penetrate deep into porous bricks and mortar, cure like a plastic and never crack or peel because it does not form a surface film and is permanent. Also like the deep-penetrating sealer, this material is very effective in holding back hydrostatic pressure and in hardening and strengthening bricks and mortar.
By following all these tips, you will be able to fix a leak on your basement wall and keep it dry for a long time.