How to Fix a Leaking Crack in Your Basement Wall

How to Fix a Leaking Crack in Your Basement Wall

fix a leaking crack

Basements are important parts of our homes, often used for storage, laundry, or extra living space. But when a crack in the basement wall starts leaking, it can turn this useful area into a big problem. If you see water seeping through a crack in your basement wall, it’s definitely a concern. Learn exactly how to fix a leaking crack in your basement wall with this guide.

What Causes Basement Wall Cracks?

Before jumping into how to fix a leaking crack, it’s important to understand what might have caused it in the first place. Cracks in basement walls can occur due to several reasons:

  1. Hydrostatic Pressure: Water pressure from the soil around the home can push against the walls, causing them to crack.
  2. Concrete Shrinkage: As concrete cures, it can shrink, leading to cracks.
  3. Foundation Settlement: Over time, the ground beneath the home may settle unevenly, putting stress on the basement walls.

Identifying the Type of Crack

Basement wall cracks come in different shapes and sizes. They can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. Vertical cracks are usually less severe and are often due to concrete shrinkage. Horizontal cracks, on the other hand, are more serious as they may indicate pressure from water-saturated soil.

Steps to Fix a Leaking Crack

Step 1: Prepare the Area

The first step in fixing a leaking crack in the basement wall is to prepare the area:

  1. Clean the Crack: Remove any dirt, debris, or loose concrete from the crack using a wire brush.
  2. Dry the Area: Make sure the area around the crack is completely dry. Use a heat gun or a hairdryer to speed up the process.

Step 2: Choose the Right Repair Material

Selecting the right repair material is crucial. Here are some options:

  1. Hydraulic Cement: This is a quick-setting material that expands as it cures, making it ideal for sealing cracks.
  2. Epoxy Injection: For larger or more severe cracks, epoxy injections can be used to bond the concrete back together.
  3. Polyurethane Foam: This flexible material can expand and contract with the crack, making it a good option for dynamic cracks.

Step 3: Apply the Repair Material

Using Hydraulic Cement

  1. Mix the Cement: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the hydraulic cement.
  2. Apply the Cement: Use a trowel to force the cement into the crack. Be sure to overfill the crack slightly, as the cement will shrink as it cures.
  3. Smooth the Surface: Once the cement has started to set, use the trowel to smooth the surface.

Using Epoxy Injection

  1. Install Injection Ports: Drill small holes along the crack and insert injection ports.
  2. Seal the Crack: Use an epoxy paste to seal the surface of the crack between the ports.
  3. Inject the Epoxy: Starting from the bottom, inject the epoxy into the ports. Move to the next port only when epoxy starts to come out of the adjacent one.

Preventing Future Leaks

Waterproofing the Basement

To ensure the repair lasts, consider taking steps to waterproof the basement:

  1. Interior Waterproofing: Apply a waterproof sealant to the basement walls and floors.
  2. Exterior Waterproofing: Install a waterproof membrane on the exterior of the basement walls to keep water out.
  3. Improve Drainage: Ensure gutters and downspouts direct water away from the home’s foundation.

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect the basement for new cracks or signs of water damage. Early detection can save from more extensive repairs in the future.

When to Call a Professional

While many minor cracks can be fixed with DIY methods, some situations call for professional help:

  1. Large Cracks: If the crack is wider than 1/4 inch, it’s best to call a professional.
  2. Horizontal Cracks: These can indicate serious structural issues that need expert attention.
  3. Persistent Leaks: If water continues to seep in despite your repairs, a professional waterproofing company can provide a more permanent solution.

In Summary

Fixing a leaking crack in the basement wall can seem daunting, but with the right approach, it’s a manageable task. By understanding the cause of the crack, preparing the area properly, choosing the right repair material, and taking steps to prevent future leaks, the basement can be protected from water damage.

If you encounter any issues beyond your skill level, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help ensure your home remains safe and dry.