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What are the Best Ways to Repair Basement Cracks?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Basement cracks are entirely normal, though they can cause a lot of problems for homeowners. Shrinking concrete places a vast amount of stress on a basement wall, resulting in cracks. While you can't prevent your basement walls from shrinking, you can fill cracks before water is allowed to seep inside of your home.

Polyurethane foam injections are frequently used in order to fill basement cracks. This type of foam combines with water inside of the crack to create a solid hole filler. As it hardens, the polyurethane will form a tough seal with basement walls creating a barrier that's impossible for water to enter. There are other methods that can be used to fill basement cracks, though polyurethane foam is often the preferred method.

Patch kits that have been developed for basement cracks can be purchased in hardware stores around the globe. These kits may stop water from leaking into a basement temporarily, though they are more of a superficial fix than a permanent one. Another method devised to repair basement cracks is to fill the area with hydraulic cement.

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This involves cutting away at a current crack, and filling it with a liquid cement mixture. The one drawback of a hydraulic cement application is that it does not prevent water from seeping into a crack. If you are unsure of which method to choose, consider hiring a professional contractor to relieve your basement of any cracks and water leaks. Professional contractors will be able to determine the best possible filler for your basement area.

If you do intend to fill your basement cracks on your own, be sure not to sand or paint your basement walls until any filler has had time to set and dry completely. To speed up this process, allow an industrial fan to solidify any filler that you have applied. This way, your basement will have time to dry, and you won't have to wait for weeks to paint, sand, or refinish your basement area.

Crack filler can be purchased online or inside of any hardware store. Before using any kind of filler, be sure to read about application steps carefully. While most fillers are simple to use, avoiding water seepage is a matter of applying filler correctly the first time. Keep in mind that additional cracks will likely appear over time, though these cracks can be filled using all the same techniques listed above.

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bluespirit
Post 6

@Tomislav - Many foundations are made with a variations of concrete. I am sure there are differing opinions on what is less likely to crack or shrink (causes a crack), but from what I have heard foundations made from fully cured concrete block is the least likely to crack.

Tomislav
Post 5

I would second the suggestion to call in a pro as my parents have had a recurring basement leak problem.

However, I would also suggest getting a warranty on the job. While most jobs will stop water from leaking in the rather immediate future only jobs done right will have a lasting affect on the leaks.

My parents even went through a company that fixed basement leaks as their sole income supply and not too long after they were done digging up our entire front and side yard to fix the leak did it begin to leak again.

Also my parents were unable to recoup the costs because the company had gone out of business.

Are all foundations made of the same material or are some materials less likely to crack?

backdraft
Post 4

@tigers88 - You're right that lots of homeowners can handle this job. But there are also lots of jobs that homeowners should not tackle themselves. Ins some cases this can included fixing basement cracks.

I have done foundation work for 20 years and I've seen what can happen when a person tries to do the work themselves without calling in a pro. There is the very real risk that they will either fail to fix the problem or even make it worse. I could tell you some horror stories about DIY projects gone wrong.

The only way to really be sure that the problem is fixed is to use a pro. A lot of times a simple tuck pointing job will not cost that much money and can be done in a day or two. I thinks its worth the piece of mind to know that the work is done well.

tigers88
Post 3

I have done this kind of work in several basements and I think hydraulic cement works the best. It is cheap to buy, easy to apply and in most cases it will stop the growth of the crack completely. I did this job the first time without any training and it worked without incident. I would expect that most people could handle it on their own as well.

nextcorrea
Post 2

Tuck pointing is one of the most important pieces of routine maintenance that any homeowner can perform on their house. Foundation problems can go from bad to worse to catastrophic is just a matter of months.

In most cases this is an easy job that even an inexperienced or amateur home remodeled can tackle without much trouble. The key is preparing the site you are going to fill and applying the right kind of sealant. In my experience the polyurethane foam is the easiest and most reliable sealant available. Homeowners can find lots of helpful tutorials and walkthroughs online if they are still nervous about starting this job on their own.

amsden2000
Post 1

My basement walls were cracked all over the place -- thanks for the help!

The worst part of the whole thing was cleaning the walls. I had to wear rubber gloves and scrub the heck out of the wall around the cracks. The filler I got said that the wall had to be free of anything sticky, any paint, any dust and pretty much anything else. I had to use three different cleaners just to get the wall ready to be filled.

After all the scrubbing, I had to make the cracks bigger for some reason -- blame the filler -- with a hammer and chisel. Then I had to vacuum and scrub it again!

I'm thankful it's done, but what a hassle.

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