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Foundation leaks can be an expensive problem for the homeowner. A leaking foundation allows water into the basement or crawlspace, at best creating a damp and unpleasant environment, and at worst, ruining part of the living space of your home. Fortunately, repairing foundation leaks is possible, and in many cases may be done cheaply and easily if caught early.
The first step in repairing foundation leaks is to divert as much water as possible away from the foundation. Check the slope around the outside of the house. The soil should slope gradually away from the home to prevent water from pooling close to the foundation. Many times, the slope is correct around the majority of the home, but in one or two spots, there is an area where the soil forces the water against the base of the home. This is due to the addition of a sidewalk, raised bed, or other changes to the landscaping.
Once you have diverted water away from the foundation, it is time to repair any existing cracks. Head into the basement or crawlspace and start looking for any cracks in the foundation walls. These areas, no matter how small, provide a space for water to seep into the home. Use cement to repair these spots to stop any foundation leaks for good.
Many people stop at this point, confident that diverting water from the exterior of the home and patching any leaks will stop foundation leaks. Often, they are correct. One additional step can provide an extra layer of protection. If the foundation has not been waterproofed, it is not too late to perform this project.
Waterproofing the entire exterior of a foundation is too big a job for the do-it-yourselfer, however, choosing some spots that require special attention can be nearly as effective. Use an exterior foundation-waterproofing product, which comes in a can similar to paint and is applied with a brush. The easiest way to determine where to waterproof the exterior of the foundation is to waterproof outside the areas of the home that required patches on the inside, as well as any areas that are in difficult to drain spots.
To waterproof the exterior of an existing foundation, dig the dirt away from the foundation in the areas that require waterproofing. Paint the waterproofing material onto the exterior of the foundation, and allow it to cure before backfilling. After backfilling, be certain to return the proper slope to the disturbed area. Finally, compact the soil to prevent the area from shifting, and allowing water to pool by the foundation.