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downers 05-17-2009 09:54 PM

foundation crack -- uncovering footing AFTER interior drain tile put in?
we had several cracks in our foundation walls repaired with epoxy injection, which are covered by a lifetime warranty by the contractor. after this work was done, we had an interior drain tile system put in. when they were excavating along the wall with the cracks, they found that one of the cracks actually extended down to the footing -- so the epoxy didn't go far enough below the floor to seal the entire crack. this second (drain tile) contractor said he would seal the crack with epoxy before putting in the drain tile. now the drain tile has been completed for over a month, and we are seeing efflorescence right along the wall/floor joint where this crack is. we've never had any efflorescence problems before, so i'm assuming the problem was made worse by uncovering and then recovering the cracked area with concrete when they put the drain tile in. i also strongly suspect that the second contractor never injected the crack, and instead just put the drain tile in and covered the whole thing up. i don't really want to call this second contractor back, because they did such a half-assed job the first time, but we obviously really need this fixed before finishing the basement. will they even be ABLE to do this -- re-open the concrete they just laid, remove a section of the pipe, and get at the footing to inject -- and put it back without affecting the drain tile system in place? what are my chances that the first contractor (the crack guy) would do this for no charge, since they should have seen the crack extending below the slab? help!

Willie T 05-17-2009 10:11 PM

Guy # 1 should be the one to do the job. But the problem you may run into when the crack is unearthed again is that guy #2 MAY have tried a repair, and done it incorrectly. In which case guy #1 is well within his rights to have some reservations about taking responsibility under his guarantee... even though he didn't do everything all the way down to the foundation the first time.

I know it's water under the bridge now, but guy #1 should have been called just as soon as you saw that the crack extended down to the foundation to let him do what he needed to do. The second cook stirring the pot may sour the taste of this whole deal for everyone.

JohnCarpenter 05-17-2009 10:26 PM

How long ago was it when the first contractor was there? The crack may not have gone that far down when he was there. Concrete does settle and move like any other foundation. It has great compressive strength but not much in the way of tensile.

How would the first contractor have been able to see below your concrete floor without excavating?

The efflorescence is caused by the concrete curing. As the water evaporates it leaves the salts behind.

yesitsconcrete 05-18-2009 03:42 AM

if i'm correct, efflorescence is caused by ( usually ) soil acids attacking the lime which's an ingredient of ceement :yes: as the acid/water transmits thru the conc ' running to daylight / filling a void ', the trail's identifi'd as calcium carbonate salts,,, if i'm incorrect, the carpenter's right but i'll bet on me 1st :laughing: in ANY event, efflorescence isn't a normal condition of conc yet its not unusual :huh:

far's your crk, hopefully guy # 2 didn't ' f ' it up too much # 1 can't fix it still,,, 36 yrs i've been repairing conc & damn'd if'n i can ' see ' thru it yet :laughing:

Willie T 05-18-2009 08:44 AM


Originally Posted by yesitsconcrete (Post 275011)
l,,, 36 yrs i've been repairing conc & damn'd if'n i can ' see ' thru it yet :laughing:

Cheer up... keep tryin'. You'll eventually get it right. :yes:

I had a carpenter show me how to see right through concrete, and it only took a few blows of a sledge hammer. :thumbup:

Daniel Holzman 05-18-2009 11:58 AM

The explanation offered about efflorescence is essentially correct, except that efflorescence can also be caused by sulfates in concrete (as well as lime). Since most rainwater and groundwater is slightly acidic, essentially any leak, even very slow, is likely to cause efflorescence in standard concrete.

The question I have is why are you concerned? Efflorescence occurs naturally in concrete, it is not a structural problem, and the cure is often difficult or impossible. It is usually considered a problem when you have colored concrete, and the efflorescence ruins the appearance of the concrete. In your case, that does not seem to be an issue.

As for the cracks, I don't really understand why you epoxied them in the first place. You have installed a drain line, which if properly installed, and fully operational, will keep the groundwater level below your floor, so you should not get leakage through the walls into the basement. If you are getting leakage through the walls, then the drain line is not functioning correcly, and you have bigger issues than a crack that is showing efflorescence.

downers 05-18-2009 12:07 PM

xray vision
of course i didn't mean to imply that the first contractor could have seen a crack extending below the concrete -- i just wanted to make sure that that would be within the realm of a warranty repair. the epoxy injection was done about two months before the drain tile was put in, so i guess it is possible that the crack did not extend down that far and then expanded during those two months... but i don't think it's likely. the previous homeowners had also had difficulty fixing the crack so i think it is just a trouble spot that keeps getting worse. yes, we totally should have called the first guy when the crack was uncovered, but i was giving the second guy the benefit of the doubt that he would fix it... now i know better! i just hate looking over the guys' shoulders all of the time -- hate it when people do it to me, so i try not to do it to them. but lately it seems like i almost have to do that, in order to get a job done right! it's too bad, really. i am worried about the efflorescence mostly because we have had SOOOOO many problems down there and we are going to be re-finishing this fall -- i want everything to look good before we put up walls and limit our access to the (hopefully former) trouble spots! thanks everyone for your posts... i'll try to post when i've got some resolution on this...

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