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Old 08-05-2020, 11:59 AM   #1
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Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it? Photos


I went down to the unfinished basement of our 3.5 year old townhome after the recent rainfall and noticed a considerable amount of water puddled on the concrete floor.

There is also a crack in the foundation wall in what looks to be the same location as where the water is puddled on the basement's concrete floor. I can see the foundation wall crack from outside of our home, from our backyard.

Now I don't know for sure if the basement leak and the foundation wall crack are related, but absent any other explanation, it seems highly probable. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I don't know very much about any of this, so I'm hoping for some guidance both in terms of how to diagnose the problem and how to fix it.

Please find attached:
  • Two photos of the leak in our basement.
  • Two photos of the foundation wall crack.
As you can see from the photos, insulation is covering what I suspect is a long crack running down the foundation wall. But I am open to any other interpretations because I really don't know.

Note that for the two photos of the foundation wall crack, the shadows and closeness of the photos might be making the crack look worse than it actually is. I tried to capture as much detail as possible.

Thank you for your assistance and I'm grateful that this resource is available.
Attached Thumbnails
Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?-basement-leak-01.jpg   Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?-basement-leak-02.jpg   Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?-foundation-wall-crack-01.jpg   Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?-foundation-wall-crack-02.jpg  

Last edited by DanielDIY; 08-05-2020 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:16 PM   #2
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


Where are you located, earthquake prone California?? Lol.

Wow, Only 3 year old townhouse. Is it possible to contact the builder and show them those pics?? Got to be some sort of warranty I would assume. Try that route first.

As you mentioned, it's probably the pics showing shadows and it looks worse than it really is. But still, concrete shouldn't crack like that in 3 years. I'm wondering if any weeping pipe was installed around foundation??

Hope you get it figured out and fixed soon daniel.
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:33 PM   #3
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


The basement shouldn't leak and the wall shouldn't crack and most warranty's are good for 10 years on the structural part of the building.

Let us know what you find out.
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Old 08-05-2020, 02:18 PM   #4
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


Warranties or no ... the actual cause in almost always about rainfall drainage.
If the problem is only now showing up (after 5 years) look for ground settlement
at the foundation especially. Link to Pictures
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Old 08-05-2020, 05:26 PM   #5
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


Thank you for the responses. The issue is being looked into. I will keep you guys posted.
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Old 08-05-2020, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it? Photo


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielDIY View Post
As you can see from the photos, insulation is covering what I suspect is a long crack running down the foundation wall. But I am open to any other interpretations because I really don't know.
From the photos, the first just looks like fair parging, but the other sure looks like a crack.

A guy that does waterproofing once explained to me --- if you have poured concrete basement, and you have a vertical crack (the most common), it wont be just a short crack, it will go all the way from top of the wall to bottom, every time. Easiest to find the crack by looking along the outside of the house between the ground anf top of foundation (as you have done).

On this forum, one pro explained that there are three sure things about concrete:
-its heavy
-nobody is going to steal it from you
-its going to crack

You might have a warranty available from builder or other, since its relatively new.

Google "basement waterproofing name-of-my town" --- in any sizable city, there are plenty of outfits that all they do is fix this stuff. They dig a few feet wide on the outside (hopefully just grass there, not your new patio) put goop over the crack, dimple membrane to protect the goop, and then fill up the hole. And hand you a ten year warranty. Not really a big deal.

Last edited by SPS-1; 08-05-2020 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:52 AM   #7
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it? Photo


horsepuckey - if conc's placed properly & not subjected to loads for which it was never designed, it will never crack,,, but that's not common when shortcuts are taken

' warranty available from builder ' ??? no one warrants water leaks after 1 yr - read your home warranty,,, IF they do, they got an atty fresh outta law school who barely passed the bar exam.

i'm more concerned about the displacement - how much is it ?

rather'n digging & wtrproofing, think about ' stitching ' pins & epoxy crack injection but find the right guy incl a structural pe,,, we do a lot of work for hoa's - read your mstr agreement - may be the hoa's issue & not yours
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:20 AM   #8
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


That looks more like a "shift" than just a crack from plasticity shrinkage or stress.

Remove the bagged insulation and see what it looks like on the inside.
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Old 08-12-2020, 01:20 PM   #9
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


UPDATE:

A higher up person from the builder came by today to assess the issue. He seemed very knowledgeable.

He cut through the insulation in the basement and identified a large crack.

Please see the attached photo.

It looks like it was previously repaired? I guess during the beginning of construction? This was not repaired after we took possession. Or is that strip of mortar something else?

He said that it will be fixed using epoxy injection. I trust his judgement but I'd still like to know what you all think.

Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3onthetree View Post
That looks more like a "shift" than just a crack from plasticity shrinkage or stress.

Remove the bagged insulation and see what it looks like on the inside.
Well, he cut the insulation, but that's what it looks like on the inside. It's a bit hard to tell if there is a shift because of the strip of mortar? I can see a crack, at least.

My understanding is that epoxy injection is good for structural repairs, so should that cover it in any case - shift, crack, whatever?
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Last edited by DanielDIY; 08-12-2020 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 08-13-2020, 07:34 AM   #10
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


Yes, there was probably a crack there that the builder just grouted over.
Fix'n it and That Guy like this.
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Old 08-14-2020, 04:49 AM   #11
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


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Originally Posted by huesmann View Post
Yes, there was probably a crack there that the builder just grouted over.
Should the builder have fixed it this way in the first place?
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Old 08-14-2020, 06:28 AM   #12
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


This looks like a lazy repair job.
Let the builder correct it the correct way.
I think that it was excellent PR to come and look at this and then to promise to fix it.
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Old 08-14-2020, 06:57 AM   #13
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielDIY View Post
Should the builder have fixed it this way in the first place?
Concrete or mortar is not a fix. With the crack in the foundation, its going to move a little. Concrete or mortar does not flex.

Its a band aid intended to last long enough for the contractors to clear out.
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Old 08-14-2020, 06:57 AM   #14
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


Hard to imagine there is any rebar in there. I would be checking with the city to see if they inspected it before the pour or if it was done by an engineers and see what was called for on the plans.
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Old 08-14-2020, 07:18 AM   #15
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Re: Basement Leak! Foundation Wall Crack! Diagnosis? Solution? How do I fix it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dj3 View Post
This looks like a lazy repair job.
Let the builder correct it the correct way.
I think that it was excellent PR to come and look at this and then to promise to fix it.
The guy who came from the builder tried to handwave away the initial repair. When he cut through the insulation and the initial repair was revealed, I remarked "oh, it looks like it was already worked on" and he said "no, it's parging ..", or something to that effect. We had just been talking about parging so I'm pretty sure that the word "parging" was just the first thing that was on his mind. It could have been anything. Anything other than owning up and taking responsibility for the initial sloppy, lazy repair.

But he did say that it would be fixed using epoxy injection, which from what I've read seems to be a good way to go.

I just hope that the guy who does the repair doesn't rush it or do a lazy, sloppy, incompetent job. I hope that he properly opens up the crack, prepares the surface, etc. The problem is that I don't know what to check for or what to tell him, because I don't really know anything. It would be nice if I could trust professionals to do a professional job, but here we are.

Last edited by DanielDIY; 08-14-2020 at 07:35 AM.
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