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Old 09-20-2012, 01:27 PM   #1
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


Hi, I have a basement that is about 50% below grade and is dry except for when it rains. The paint on the walls began bubbling and separating from the concrete. I notices water trickling from a corner and under the stairs and after I scraped loose paint and chipped away old concrete from a previous repair I saw cracks. It rained again recently and I watched these cracks and saw the water definitely coming from the cracks. I would like to repair where I chipped away the concrete and then paint the whole basement and put flooring down. The cracks are about the width of a dime. I would like advise on what products to use on this project as I have never worked with concrete. Also what kind of paint is suitable for basement walls and I would like to put down an epoxy paint- on floor like what is used in garages. I don't know if that is suitable because once a year we get a bad enough storm to flood the basement 1-3 inches of rain water.

The two cracks:
http://imgur.com/WL3Lg
http://imgur.com/9rKzV

Condition of the wall:
I don't know what that black stuff is, but I think it's tar from a previous repair. I don't think it's mold.
http://imgur.com/AdjRm

Closeup:
http://imgur.com/PzLJQ
http://imgur.com/8sPQ8

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Old 09-20-2012, 05:58 PM   #2
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


90% of foundation leaks need to be addressed from the outside of the wall not inside.
Working gutters with down spouts leading far way from the foundation.
Grade sloping away from the house.
No mulch pulled up againt the foundation.
No flower beds forming ponds to hold in water.
Sealing the outside of the wall with foundation sealer below grade.
May even need a french drain.

I can not see anyway paints going to stay stuck to that wall, and no floor coverin I ever heard of will hold up to being flooded.

Address the areas outside and it just may dry up enough to finish the inside.

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Old 09-20-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


That bottom section looks to be a plastered stone foundation to me. I can't think of any product that will have any long-term success at sealing that up from the inside. And sealing the inside of a wall that likely has lime mortar inside of it is asking for even more trouble. If you attempt to use a "water-proofing" paint, you're almost guaranteed to have the same issues within a few years. Water always wins, divert as much away on the exterior as possible...........
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:43 PM   #4
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


I forgot to add... The house is 60 years old in an urban area and is surrounded on three sides by cement. There is no way I can excavate the side of the house the cracks are on. There is a French drain. The ground is level with where the green paint ends in the first picture.
Is it possible to seal the cracks with an epoxy or expanding foam in a can?

Last edited by tw1208; 09-20-2012 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:25 AM   #5
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


Not going to help much but you would have to grind out the cracks with a 4-1/2" right angle grinder about 1/2 deep and use hydrolic cement.
It sets up really fast so you have to mix in small batches.
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


What about epoxy injection kits? Wouldn't that be more durable than hydraulic cement?

I saw a diy kit at menards. One that uses ports and a paste to seal the crack from letting the epoxy flow out while it is injected to fill the crack. It might be tricky doing that in the corner though.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:04 PM   #7
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


Even if the surface of the ground up against the house is concrete, you will have trouble if water ponds up against the foundation.

Where is the french drain located and how far down is it buried? Is it connected to a pit with working sump pump?
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:14 AM   #8
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


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Even if the surface of the ground up against the house is concrete, you will have trouble if water ponds up against the foundation.

Where is the french drain located and how far down is it buried? Is it connected to a pit with working sump pump?
The French drain is right beneath the sidewalk along the wall of the house. I was very young when it was put in so I don't know how deep. Yes it's connected to the sump pit, I don't know if the sump works because my mom never had it plugged in.

I have another question now... Would I benefit from planting a bush next to the sidewalk to soak up any excess water in the ground? It's the wall, then the side walk which is about 2' wide, then a 4' strip of grass.

Excavating is completely out of the question because their is a handicap elevator for my father and deck near that area and of course money. I don't even mind having to mend the crack again in a few years time , but I would like to do the best possible repair and paint the walls since as you can see in the pics they are horrific looking. I already dug out the cracks as much as I could and cleaned them out. I also smoothed out some sections of the rough wall with cement patch before I ran out. On the exterior there were gaps between the house and foundation that water was probably getting in that I filled with great stuff expanding foam and I plan on sealing that with foundation tar.

By the way the sidewalk is just about level with the top of the green paint in the pics.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:40 AM   #9
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


if that was me, i would:

1. check the sump pump pit to see if it is wet; plug in the sump pump and make sure it works
2. check all gutter downspouts to make sure it dumps water as far away as possible (without dumping it to your neighbor!)
3. grab a bag of marbles and roll them around outside to see which way they roll; that will hopefully give you some ideas on how to manage the water flow

instead of using great stuff foam cans (which by the way is not rated for outside use), I would use something like bentonite which expands with water.

good luck
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:26 AM   #10
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


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Originally Posted by tw1208 View Post
What about epoxy injection kits? Wouldn't that be more durable than hydraulic cement?

I saw a diy kit at menards. One that uses ports and a paste to seal the crack from letting the epoxy flow out while it is injected to fill the crack. It might be tricky doing that in the corner though.

I used a two part epoxy injection kit (from a professional builders supply) in my basement for a settlement crack in a 8" concrete foundation wall. These kits have their place, but I don't think it would be the best option here. From the pictures, it looks like the wall is stone/mortar. Sealing the concrete paving to house foundation joints on the surface is probably your best option since you can't easily change the grade to pitch water away from the house.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:24 AM   #11
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Small cracks in basement foundation letting in water!


I'd go with hydraulic cement in your situation,since it expands as it drys,looks like you have some spalling problems also that need to be addressed,when you get the cracks sealed.

http://imgur.com/8sPQ8

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