Your home’s foundation is the important structural base that supports the rest of the house. Whether it’s a full basement or just a crawlspace, proper maintenance of the foundation ensures the structural integrity of the entire home. There are a few common problems with foundations that are repairable if addressed early. By waiting, the home may shift, creating more problems. Understanding what repairs are needed is the first step.
Address water leakage into the basement at the first possible opportunity. Water can enter the foundation through cracks or through seepage. In addition, basement windows may leak, resulting in water problems.
Repair the exterior portion of a foundation crack before repairing the interior. The first step is to find where the water is entering on the exterior of the foundation. You may have to dig the soil away from the foundation if the crack is large and extends below the surface of the ground.
Chisel away loose concrete from the crack and clean out all debris. When the crack is dust-free and dry, apply an expandable, silicone-based concrete sealant, such as Geocel and smooth it onto the edges surrounding the crack. Allow it to dry completely before replacing the soil (see Resources below).
Repeat the process on the interior portion of the crack in the same manner.
Check the soil grade around your foundation. One of the easiest foundation fixes is to bring in extra soil and create a slope away from the foundation. This may be all you need to fix a water problem. In addition, relocate flowerbeds if they are along the foundation. When you water them, the moisture seeps down and enters small cracks below the surface.
Check with a structural foundation contractor if your problem concerns basement walls that bow inwards. This is a serious structural problem and you must stabilize the movement of the foundation or the house will shift. The contractor will install steel beams on the inside of the foundation walls, extending them into the ground and securing them upwards in the joists.
Remove the soil from the foundation of a home that is taking on water to install drain tile. When you’ve eliminated other causes of foundation leakage or when it is obvious that water is entering the basement at floor level, there is little choice but to install drain tile and seal the foundation at the same time.
Hire a backhoe operator to clear the soil all the way down to the footings and brush dirt from the walls with a wire brush before applying a thick layer of foundation tar and running drain tile along the footings.