Concrete Repair Help / Contractor Problems
i would like to get some opinions on my situation and hopefully a concensus can be reached as to what the best thing to do would be.
Here is my situation. I live in a small colonial house built in the early 40s. I am having problems with water getting into my basement. It is not a cracked foundation. Let me explain.
When it rains really heavily here and I’m talking about what they refer to as flash floods, the gutters on my house are unable to hold and drain the water quick enough so the rain overflows the gutters and pours down the side of the house. I have a poured foundation and on top of that they laid the bricks. At the point where the foundation meets the bricks there is a patch of concrete to cover the seam all the way around the house. It is kind of like a skirt. This skirt is cracked at many spots and when the water pours down the outside wall from the overflowing gutters it finds its way into the cracks and then in between the bricks and foundation and finally down the inside of my basement wall.
How do I know for a fact that this is the problem and not a cracked foundation? It took me a long time to figure out. Every single person that I talked to said that the foundation was cracked but the odd thing was none of them could prove it. One guy came and cut a whole in the drywall (the basement is finished) to show me and he couldn't find the evidence he was looking for.
In the utility room, the only room not finished in the basement, I can actually see the water pouring over the top of the wall:
Also I stuffed a towel up in the wall above grade where the guy cut the hole and it filled up with water during a flash flood. You can see in the pictures that I patched the cracks with tape and since I did that, no water inside.
Anyway, I hired somebody to blow baking soda and remove all the paint from the concrete skirt outside so I could get it reconcreted. This is where I am having trouble. I'm trying to hire a concrete person to repatch and fix the problem. I'm getting a few different solutions and I don't know which is the best one.
First of all no matter how clearly I explain my problem the majority of the contractors refuse to believe me. They all say it is a cracked foundation. If I do manage to convince them what the problem is most of them don't want to do the job (I don't know why) and never call me back. I have talked to 6 contractors so far. I only have one guy that says he will do the job but he is not licensed and probably has no insurance. So I don't know what to do.
The unlicensed guy said to me what he wants to do is break off all the concrete around the seam and fill it with a concrete epoxy. He says that it will fill it all in well and find its way around. He then said he would reparge the concrete on top of the epoxy all the way around almost making a lip from the top of the skirt over the first layer of brick then use some kind of sealant ontop of that to make it all waterproof. I like the idea of the epoxy, it seems like something that could really help but I still didn't really get a good feeling from the guy and I would rather not hire somebody that is unlicensed. But now after having 5 more people come over nobody else wants to do the job. I had somebody else come and they said that they would run a wire mesh around the whole house then reparge. I asked them about the epoxy and they didin't know what to say... They also want to install a french drain in my basement and break the foundation because they are convinced that the foundation still is cracked... definitely unnecessary
So, what do you guys think the right way to fix this job would be? Is it to use the epoxy and then reparge? I really don't want to use some kind of sealant ontop of the concrete because in the event that this happens again I don't want to have to spend another $1000 for paint removal. But if you guys think that is necessary then I will.
I do want this to be done correctly and to look nice. Not just a patch job.
btw - if you look at everybody's house on the block you can see that most of the lips are patched up with concrete, so this is a common problem and obviously a design flaw of these houses.
Here are some pictures:
So this is the worst side. Obviously the whole side needs to be reparged and this is the only side that looks like this. But the cracking along the top lip is what is consistant all around the house:
this is the lip closer up, you can see the crack and again this is what is exposed at various parts around the house:
I guess the different color brown below is the mortar and obviously not water tight. The bricks are just sitting on top of the foundation and this is the gap where the rain is getting in. I think this is what should be broken off all the way around the house to reveal this:
these are some cracked corners but no water is penetrating them:
I Look forward to hearing your thoughts
I'll talk to my cousin whos been a mason for 30 years +, i work with him now and he does alot of these kinds of jobs..
Ill have an answer for you tommorow.
My question is what size gutter do you have on your house?
What pitch is the roof?
The thing you said about the water rushing over the gutter concerns me because if you have 5" gutter, 6 " would be better if its over running the gutters.
increasing the gutters may not be the total answer but not bad, either,,, 1st, get ALL that JUNK off the wall,,, aurand makes the right tool but 1 can always use a 4" grinder & small chipping gun,,, you need to get some FLASHING installed - NEVER use conc OR anything cementitious for this repair UNLESS its mortar 'tween the bricks - no flexibility - see the crack ? ? ? because someone used the wrong materials is no reason to think all the houses on the st did it right, either,,, look at ' SANITRED ' but remember PREP IS THE KEY ! ! !
you're calling the wrong trades - masons & brickies don't normally do restoratation work,,, look for a waterproofer,,, epoxy's also the wrong material & not to be used outside.
If the gutters won't hold the rain then I'd get bigger gutters
All depends upon how often it happens & if you have to hire someone or can DIY
Go with the concrete fix 1st
If it's just cracks & can be fixed then no need for bigger gutters
I have a 4"+ skirt along the front of my house
I'm building a 1/2 wall along the bottom to get rid of it
We use this product on similar joints in industrial structures.
I've never had an issue with it, but call Sika's 800 number to run your scenario by them. If you get a big crack, use back rod to fill it.
In your case, I could see the repair being a bit more extensive than just filling a crack. Itsreallyconcrete is correct, that mortared joint shouldn't have been mortared. And you have parging issues, too.
You should get an experienced outfit to do the work so it comes out neat, otherwise you risk it being messy looking due to lack of experience with the technique, and you'll be at it again soon.
I agree that you're probably correct in your assessment of the problem. Cracked foundations aren't good but that's probably not what's causing the water infiltration. The brick veneer should slightly overhang the face of the foundation, not be recessed behind it. I have no idea what they were thinking when they built it that way!!! :no:
Aggie's recommendation of SikaFlex is a good one. It may not solve all your problems but in my opinion the only way to do that is a total re-do of the brick.
Larger gutters that can handle the roof's surface area would be at the top of my list as well. It will make a considerable difference.
KC, we see this exact joint mess up a lot. The jobs we see them on are concrete panel curtain wall structures, where the panels came from a factory, the steel comes off a beam line somewhere, the foundation went to a sub, and the unlucky sap was the guy that had to install the panels. Foundation or steel is off an inch or two, and you get the wacky underhang or overhang. Sometimes the builder would try a field fix, like pouring a curb along the wall inside the structure. But inevitably someone has to repair and seal the joint. Worst one was a misaligned joint at the foundation that failed and allowed water to come in, which then subjected the stack of panels to freeze thaw, which then snapped all of the weld tabs up and down the columns, which then resulted in the panels starting to slow motion accordion down. Nasty repair job.
forgot we did this over in jersey city or wherever that fasteeth place's located,,, sawcut a reglet & install flashing :thumbsup:
I was going to mention this also as an option. The reglet could be put in with a grinder & diamond blade, about 3/4" + deep & have a slight upward angle to the cut. The aesthetic factor involved may not be ideal, though.
I also agree with KC, that ideally, the brick should overhang the foundation below.
Thanks everybody for your ideas, they sound much better than the ones that I've received! It is obvious why nobody will call me back. This is a bigger deal to do right than they are capable of. It's taken me a lot of time to digest and understand your suggestions, I must admit that I am not much of a diy guy. I do a lot of research to make sure that the process is correct but as far as doing the work I'd like to hire somebody.
So I guess it is between flashing or sani-tred stuff. Flashing obviously isn't pretty but if it gets the job done it's worth it.
Out of curiosity is the sani-tred thick? I was looking at this:
How would it be poured/ molded on the vertical surface to fit/ dry in place?
Also, should the darker brown stuff (mortar?) below the bricks/ tape in my 4th picture be broken out too or strictly the cracked concrete and pour ontop of the mortar?
It comes down to money and I'm guessing that to go around the entire perimeter of my house with flashing, 120+ feet, that would be a lot of money!
How can I go about finding the right people for this job? Should I start calling waterproof people? Or is there some other term that I should be looking for - restoration? I didn't see more than 2 in the phonebook.
Or - Does anybody happen to know a competent company in Baltimore, MD area that can do this?
Concrete Repair in Baltimore
Hi, I read all your posts..sounds like quite the headache. I had a similar problem. I used LINK REMOVED, a company I heard about from a buddy of mine that specializes in concrete repair and restoration. They're located in the Baltimore area so they should be able to help!
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