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richvoice 11-24-2008 10:25 PM

Sealing a concrete wall foundation
Hi all,

I looked through the various forums, and this seemed like the most likely candidate; my apologies if I missed a more appropriate forum.

My parents bought a condo a few years ago that has an addition that was built over the patio that's in front of the condo. A year or two after they moved in, the carpet in the room was wet; they thought they tracked it down to a clogged downspout, but after this year's first rain the carpet was wet again.

I've tracked the problem down to water seeping into the room from the patio next door -- which is basically the same patio that the room is built on, as it extends in front of both units with a 1"-2" wood-filled expansion joint in the middle.

At the base of the addition wall is what looks like mortar, though I imagine it's simply regular concrete that wasn't "smoothed out." On the inside is an old bead of caulk.

What I suggested to my parents is that I should run a bead of some sort of external caulk along the outside seam, remove the old caulk on the inside, and re-caulk the inside seam with 100% silicone caulk. Does this seem like a reasonable approach, or am I barking up the wrong tree? And if this IS a reasonable approach, can anyone recommend the type of product I should use on the exterior surfaces?

One additional wrinkle: there is a pre-existing fence on the property line that originally divided the patios. When the addition was built, it was built right next to this fence. Due to this proximity, and the fact that the vertical slats of the fence are within a fraction of an inch of the patio surface, it will be very difficult to get any sort of caulk material where I want it using the tools I'm familiar with (e.g., a caulk gun). Is there anything on the market that allows you to caulk in tight places, like some sort of flexible tubing? Unfortunately, moving or temporarily deconstructing the fence are not options.

Thanks very much,

yes.itsconcrete 11-25-2008 04:45 AM

somehow you've ( they've ) got to manage this water that's intruding,,, if they can't get it BEFORE it enters the bldg, its gotta be done WHERE they can,,, you post there's no room to caulk but that's only a band-aid/ temporary patch IF you could reach it - not only that but caulk's not permanent.

remember the 1st rule of water - it runs down hill,,, easiest/logical approach is to see if you can't attack this from the next door patio - there is legal precedence, richie.

other basic rules of water: 2, seeks its own level; 3, rushes to fill a void; & 4, follows the path of least resistance :( could add it always winds up in your basement, too !

buletbob 11-25-2008 05:28 AM

Your taking about a band aid fix. Could you post a picture of the outside so we can give you some options. BOB

richvoice 11-25-2008 11:11 AM

Thanks for the replies, guys. I might actually be okay with a band-aid fix, given my options. Here are a few additional pieces of information:

1. My parents are in their seventies, and my mom does not deal well with stress of any kind. Having to do any kind of actual re-construction would probably send her over the top into stroke- or heart-attack-land.
2. The homeowners association at their condo complex is fairly unhelpful, and the manager at the property management company that they contract with to deal with structural issues is rude and has lied about things they have said and done. It's clear that she has no intention of trying to resolve any problems.
3. Given the unhelpful nature of the homeowners association, it's not surprising that they have stated in no uncertain terms that they will have nothing to do with any problems related to additions. The only things they will look into are issues related to original construction. Since the patios are original construction, I'm sure that they would not allow any modifications to the patio.

I know that the "correct" solution is to put a french drain in next to the addition. But that's simply not an option.

At this point, my mom is planning on having linoleum installed as a flooring material and using the room as a storage room instead of a bedroom. She figures if water gets in, it will be easy to see and clean up, and if she raises boxes up nothing will get damaged. I'd just like to prevent water from entering as much as possible. Applying a band-aid that has to be re-applied at the beginning of every rainy season is probably the most attractive option.

I don't have any pictures, but I'll be in their neighborhood on Thanksgiving, I'll take some pictures then.

Thanks again for your thoughts,

o_jay66 11-25-2008 12:31 PM

If she's considering changing flooring materials anyway, why not suggest tile? The combination of mortar and tile will raise the level of the floor, which will go somewhat toward defeating water rule no. 1. Especially if you went with a concrete board underlayment, like DurRock, which would raise the level of the floor another .5 inches. Tile/mortar isn't waterproof, but it does stand up to the occasional saturation pretty well, which vinyl will not. In addition to the caulk idea, this might just do the trick. By the way, I think they make caulk tube extensions, you might have not be able to get them standard issue from Lowe's, but you might check with a plumbing supply or paint store.

Just a thought....

richvoice 11-25-2008 02:06 PM

Tile. I like that idea. Any opinions on the tile option?


buletbob 11-25-2008 02:47 PM

The tile is a great Idea. I would agree. But you must stop the water from getting in. What will happen is the sill plate will soak up the water which will wet the back side of the drywall and then mold, if its not there now.
Try bringing that issue up to the complex board maybe they will respond more effectively. good luck BOB. :wink:

richvoice 11-25-2008 02:55 PM

Given the dealings with the HOA board so far, I know it's not worth mentioning. Since the room is an addition, they could care less whether or not the sill plate soaks up water, or mold forms on the inside of the wall, or the room falls to the ground.

Remind me to never live in a condo!

I'm not sure whether the sill plate would be a problem anyway, given what I saw of the water flow on the patio next door. It's not like there are inches of standing water on the patio. If water is blocked by something on the INside (like the tile underlayment), it may soak upward a little bit in the wall, but without constant pressure I doubt that it would soak in that much. I don't think there's mold on the inside of the wall at this point, but we haven't pulled the drywall off to find out (and since the room is basically going to be storage at this point, we're not going to unless something more catastrophic happens).


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