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Why a basement leaks when the ground is frozen

 

How can a basement be leaking when the ground is frozen?

During winters in Southern Ontario, the frost line (the depth to which the ground freezes) can extend to 3.5 - 4 feet below grade; that's why many homes are insulated at the top half of the basement wall.  As the footings of the majority of foundations are typically 6.5 feet below grade, the lowermost 3 feet of soil above the footing and weeping tile never freezes; therefore, water that is present around the base of your foundation remains in liquid form throughout the year.

By far, the majority of foundations leak at or near the bottom of the wall, well below the frost line; thus, hydrostatic pressure is always present. The presence of hydrostatic pressure causes foundation cracks, tie-rod holes and snap rods, located well below the frost line, to leak because of their constant exposure to water pressure against the foundation wall.

This constant exposure of your foundation to hydrostatic pressure, even in the middle of winter, makes you vulnerable to basement leaks even when it is not raining and the snow hasn't melted.

Fortunately, any type of basement leak, with very few exceptions, can be repaired even during the coldest winter months.


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© 2015 AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing®. All rights reserved

Which waterproofing method to choose for concrete foundation leaks

 

Should you choose epoxy or polyurethane injection over other basement waterproofing repair methods?

The following topics are covered on this page:

  1. The use of injection in basement waterproofing applications
  2. Injection in commercial waterproofing applications
  3. Epoxy crack injection
  4. Polyurethane injection
  5. Other available waterproofing repair methods:

Do any of these images look familiar?
Leaking foundation crack with staining of wall Leaking honeycombing that was patched by the builder  Leaking tie rod holes that caused rot of vapor barrier
Basement wall crack with efflorescence Honeycombing that was patched over Leaking tie-rod holes with sediment staining

The use of injection in basement waterproofing applications

Pressurized injection is used exclusively for poured concrete foundations and structures. Pressurized injection involves either epoxy or polyurethane resin and is used for the repair and waterproofing of cracks, holes, or cavities in foundation walls, from inside the home almost exclusively. It is a very common repair method for poured concrete waterproofing and is the least costly method of repairing active leaks and/or preventing potential leaks in poured concrete foundation walls. A professional injection will keep water from entering your basement, reduce basement dampness, and prevent moisture from permeating and damaging the poured concrete foundation walls.

Pressurized injection especially, is a waterproofing method that requires technicians to possess considerable skill, experience and tenacity. Waterproofing Contractors that do not offer pressurized injection services inevitably have realized that their organization does not possess the requisite expertise to provide reliable, long lasting injections, hence they purposely limit the waterproofing repair options they make available to you. If you are told that injection is a "bandaid" solution then you can be sure that the contractor that states this does not offer foundation crack injection services.

Injection is widely used in commercial waterproofing applications

Pressurized injection is commonly used for water-stopping in mines and subway tunnels, to seal joints between sections of concrete sewer pipe and in underground parking garages. Injection repairs are capable of withstanding extremely high levels of hydrostatic pressure which is certainly higher than the pressure around most residential foundations.

Epoxy crack injection

Epoxy crack injection involves filling a crack with epoxy, a two component chemical blend (epoxy and hardener) that binds or welds two walls together and sets as a hard plastic; in the concrete industry epoxy injection is considered to be a structural repair. Read more

Epoxy crack injection Closeup of low pressure epoxy crack injection
Epoxy crack injection near the top of the crack Dispensing tool injecting epoxy resin at low pressure


Polyurethane injection

Polyurethane injection is different from epoxy injection in that polyurethane resin expands with considerable force and seals cavities and cracks by completely filling the opening / void that is letting water enter into your basement. Read more

 

 Typical residential polyurethane injection applications
Crack with paste and injection packers installed Polyurethane resin expanding through a foundation wall crack Polyurethane injection of a tie rod hole
 Crack ready for injection  Polyurethane travels through walls  Tie-rod cavity injected with polyurethane

 


Note:
Each type of injection has distinct technical characteristics and limitations; consequently, one size does not fit all. Rely on our technicians to determine the type of injection most suited to your particular situation. Both methods are tried and true waterproofing techniques that will solve your problem once and for all. Read more

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Other available waterproofing repair methods:

Excavation and Waterproofing

Traditionally, waterproofing poured concrete foundations involved the external excavation of the foundation, with the application of a concrete patch over a crack, tie-rod hole, or honeycombing in the foundation to prevent water penetration. As these patches frequently detach themselves from the wall due to incorrect application, the absence of a good chemical bond, and / or the natural thermal cycling that occurs on the outside of the foundation, these patch repairs eventually fail.

Only the application of an elastomeric rubber coating, or similar waterproofing material, on the outer surface of the foundation wall will reliably waterproof a foundation wall; however, excavation and waterproofing is, by far, the most expensive way to waterproof a poured concrete foundation. Furthermore, it is inherently destructive insofar as your landscaping is concerned. Read more

Interior Perimeter Weeping Tile Installation

Another available "broad brush" waterproofing method is installation of a perimeter drain tile  or weeping tile system beneath the basement floor that captures the water that continues to leak into the basement; this method requires the use of a sump pump to mechanically pump the water to the outside. While this basement waterproofing works very well for concrete block foundations, AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® does not recommend this type of basement waterproofing for poured concrete foundations because water continues to enter the basement. The continuous wetting of the concrete within and around cracks and other openings will result in absorption of water and ultimately the saturation of the concrete which will weaken the concrete over time. Unlike stone, concrete is a porous material that readily absorbs water.

Preventing Cracks From Leaking Without Repairing Them

Yet another technique, specific to crack repair, involves the application of a rubber membrane over the leaking crack on the inside of the wall. The membrane prevents water from pooling on the basement floor as the water drains into the gravel under the basement floor slab; consequently, water continues to enter your basement and the concrete surrounding the crack if usually saturated.

The ongoing saturation of concrete will weaken the concrete over time; to the point of crumbling. If the amount of water channelled beneath the floor slab is great and there is significant hydrostatic pressure beneath the floor slab, water will enter the basement through floor cracks or through the seam between the floor slab and the wall. Read more

Basement Crack Repair Using Hydraulic Cement

Homeowners, new home builders and contractors seeking a quick fix, an inexpensive fix, or a low repair cost will often use hydraulic cement on the interior of the wall to stop a leak. Such surface repairs may stop leaks in the short term, but these repairs will cause water to be trapped within the wall; consequently, the concrete behind the repair becomes saturated with water, a condition which will lead to an accelerated deterioration of the surrounding concrete; furthermore, these types of repairs typically do not last.

Example of a failed crack repair using hydraulic cement
 Failed crack repair using hydraulic cement
This crack repair didn't stand the test of time and ultimately had to be injected with polyurethane

 

The alternatives to pressurized injection are quite destructive and are certainly far more expensive than pressurized injection.

Tip graphicCrack injection is a specialization that requires technicians to have considerable skill, experience and tenacity. Waterproofing contractors that do not offer pressurized injection services likely recognize that their staff do not possess the requisite expertise to provide reliable, long lasting injections; hence your available repair options are limited. This situation makes choosing a waterproofing contractor, on the basis of pricing alone or with limited repair options for you, a very risky proposition. For an injection to work 100% and endure the test of time it must be done properly; this is very much dependent on the skill and tenacity of the technician doing the work. It is likely impossible for you to establish whether the technician sent to your home has the requisite experience and training. If your first impression of a waterproofing contractor is less than ideal, go with your instincts; this will at least minimize the risk to you of having to call for warranty repairs at a later date and/or having to deal with poor customer service.

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© 2015 AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing®. All rights reserved

DIY Basement Leak Repair | Fixing a Foundation Leak Yourself

 

Can I Fix a Basement Leak Myself?

Much like plumbing and welding, fixing basement leaks and foundation waterproofing is a specialty. While many home improvement and repair projects can be undertaken by the average person who has spent sufficient time researching tricks and techniques, repairing basement leaks and fixing cracks is not straightforward and forgiving as some Do-It-Yourself book / DIY crack injection kit vendors would have you believe.

DIY projects are naturally very attractive to homeowners hoping to save money; when it comes to DIY basement waterproofing however, much like do-it-yourself plumbing, errors are typically very frustrating, destructive and costly. Therefore, you need to know how to fix a foundation leak properly, and you need to have the right tools, if you hope to fix a wet basement yourself.

 

Action Plan download offer

 

Our basement is flooding and we've been up most of the night, is there anything we can do?

If you have a basement leak (from the walls only) that seems to be out of control, to avoid staying up all night mopping up water, you will want to try to stop the leak until it can be properly repaired (or you can call us to properly repair the leak on an urgent basis). While you may be able to stop the leak completely, you still need to have it repaired professionally; otherwise you will end up trapping water in the wall which will lead to the accelerated deterioration of your foundation walls over time.

Step one, of course, is figuring out where the water is leaking into the basement from. If your basement is finished you will have to open the drywall or remove panelling in order to see the foundation wall and the exact source of the leak. Read more

For a quick concrete block leak repair, or poured concrete foundation crack repair, you can apply hydraulic cement over the leak; it is only a temporary measure but an effective one. Hydraulic cement can be purchased at hardware stores such as The Home Depot, Rona, and Canadian Tire. Be sure to use protective gloves as the cement will become surprisingly hot as you work with it; also, the pot life is very short (2-3 minutes) so you have to work fast. Note: as this type of repair is done on the negative pressure side of the wall (the inside), it will not withstand the test of time; therefore, even if you manage to stop the leak, you still need to have this professionally repaired as soon as possible.

Note: The application of tar, rubber, or cementitious coatings on the inside surface of your exterior foundation walls is, in our opinion, a big mistake. This approach to waterproofing a basement will trap water within the foundation walls which will lead to the accelerated deterioration of your foundation walls. This type of waterproofing repair is not long lasting, and you will adversely impact a professional waterproofing contractor's ability in the future to assess the extent and type of basement waterproofing, and/or structural reinforcement, that is required.

Planning a DIY foundation crack repair? Check out this blog post first! http://goo.gl/GFwakk

Button to download 10 simple and inexpensive ways to eliminate and prevent basement leaks

 

I am planning on digging around my house and waterproofing the foundation myself

As you must excavate an exterior wall down to the footing, which is typically 6.5' below grade, to repair the leak properly; the work itself is so demanding, particularly with clay soil, that you will likely regret trying to do it on your own. Furthermore, if you don't do the waterproofing work properly, you will ultimately end up having to hire a waterproofing contractor to undo what you have done and redo it professionally.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Excavation carries the risk of soil cave-ins; if this occurs while you're digging, your lifespan is expected to be 45 seconds;
  2. Whenever digging is involved there is always the risk that you will cut through a hydro cable, a gas line, telephone or cable line, sprinkler system water line, etc., and
  3. You need to address the drainage, damp-proofing and waterproofing aspects of the foundation repair; do you really understand what is involved? If you spend considerable time and money waterproofing your own foundation and you are ultimately unsuccessful, you will end up paying yet more money in the end and you'll be very frustrated.

I am planning on buying a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) crack repair kit and inject my own basement cracks

While crack injection repairs are simple in principle, repairs can be quite difficult and there are numerous factors that you must take into account before deciding to spend your hard earned money on these kits.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. There are two types of injection materials for basement crack repairs, epoxy and polyurethane. The characteristics of the crack itself dictate the injection material to use as well as the crack repair technique that will work best. In foundation crack injection, one size does not fit all.
  2. DIY injection kits are always low pressure (typically involving the use of a caulking gun); in some cases there may be insufficient pressure to ensure that the injected resin travels through the wall to the outside;
  3. The viscosity of the material that you are injecting must be appropriate for the size of the crack being repaired. If the viscosity of the injection resin is too low (resin too thin), the injected resin will drain into the soil outside and the repair will fail (for this reason the majority of foundation crack repair kits utilize polyurethane resin which solidifies rapidly);
  4. A do-it-yourself crack injection kit is not useable on an actively leaking crack; this is because the kit will require that you apply an anchoring paste over the crack which cannot adhere to a wet or damp wall surface;
  5. DIY injection kits are not suitable for repairing leaks in concrete block or cinderblock foundations because the blocks are hollow; and
  6. If there is mud or mineral in the crack, it is unlikely that your injection will succeed because the crack needs to be flushed prior to the crack injection, and you are not equipped to flush the crack through the thickness of the wall.

Note: If you have a leak originating from the top of the wall or from beneath a basement window frame, the use of hydraulic cement will entrap water along the framing and promote wood rot. See for yourself...

Patio door leak that resulted in rotten sill plate and floor joists

The sill plate is the base of the wood framing of a home and costly to fix.

 

A significant amount of knowledge, skill and equipment is required to do basement waterproofing work; if Waterproofing Contractors cannot work without these prerequisites, how can you? Ultimately, the objective of doing waterproofing work yourself is to save money; don't be fooled, you do not need to excavate around your home to properly waterproof your basement. To find out how to waterproof any foundation leak, view the List of basement waterproofing repair methods.

Be sure to read our companion blog post: Waterproofing basement walls - do it yourself

Link to the Top 20 questions to ask download offer

 

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© 2015 AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing®. All rights reserved

Why Basement Walls Leak

 

Many people are surprised when they discover water in their basement that is the result of a basement leak. While most basement walls don't leak everyday, basement leaks are very common, regardless of the age of the home, and a fact of life in regions with a significant amount of rainfall and snow.

Leaking cinder block wall
 Cinderblock wall leaking in the corner

 

Assuming that the water you are seeing on your basement floor is actually the result of a leaking basement wall, groundwater has found a way to penetrate through your foundation. Very simply, there is a hole in the wall that is allowing water to get into your basement.

 

Action Plan download offer

 

Hydrostatic pressure and basement wall leaks

The water in the soil surrounding your basement constantly applies pressure onto your foundation walls. The more water present in the soil from rains and/or melting snow, the more pressure is applied to your foundation.

As a simple analogy, a soft drink can contains a fair amount of fluid, if we make an extremely tiny pin hole in the can the soft drink will leak out. Similarly, if there is a hole in a basement wall, water pressure from the soil against the foundation wall will cause water to leak out of the hole (or crack); in some cases this will only happen after unusually heavy rains, and in other cases, water will leak from the basement wall most of the time.

The most common foundation wall leaks

The holes (or gaps) in a foundation wall that are typically at the source of the leak will vary according to the type of foundation on which a home is built. Most foundations built since the 1940s are either cinder block (concrete block) or poured concrete; we will deal with leaks through these types of foundation walls exclusively.

Leaks in poured concrete basement walls

The two most common sources of basement leaks in poured concrete foundations are:

  • Cracks; and
  • Tie-rod holes.

Both of these can be inexpensively and quickly repaired by injecting them from inside the home; alternatively, the foundation can be excavated and waterproofed at the crack and tie-rod hole locations.

Follow this hyperlink for more information about injection.

Leaking Tie-Rod Hole IMG 20110318 00005
 Leaking tie-rod hole  Foundation crack that has been leaking

 

Leaks in cinder block foundation walls

Like poured concrete foundations, cinder block basement walls also have two very common sources of basement leaks:

  • Cracks in the mortar joints between the concrete blocks; and
  • Cracks in the blocks themselves.

Unlike poured concrete foundations, concrete block wall leaks are different because the cracks allow water to penetrate the basement walls and then, because cinder block walls are hollow, water pools within the walls and tends to seep out gradually. The way to fix leaks in block basement walls is more complicated than for poured concrete walls.

Follow this hyperlink for more information on fixing concrete block foundation leaks.

Click on this hyperlink for a comprehensive article on the most common sources of basement leaks.

Leaking Concrete Block Foundation Wall
 Leaking Concrete Block wall

 

The role that eavestroughs and grading play in causing basement leaks

Many people, even supposedly knowledgeable contractors, believe that eavestroughs and improper grading are responsible for leaky basement walls; actually, this notion is not technically correct.

When the grade (or slope) of your landscaping causes surface water to travel towards your house, or if an eavestrough is dumping water close to your foundation, what is actually happening is that the amount of water in the soil next to your foundation is increasing. This increased amount of water adds to the hydrostatic, or water, pressure against your foundation.

It is not pressure itself that causes your basement to leak; rather, the higher pressure results in basement leaks because all of this water is able to penetrate the foundation wall because there is a hole in it. Repair the holes in the foundation wall and no amount of pressure will result in a basement leak - ever.

 

Button to download 10 simple and inexpensive ways to eliminate and prevent basement leaks

 

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© 2015 AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing®. All rights reserved

Selling a home with a leaky basement

 

For many people, selling their home is a very stressful experience. In addition to the stressors currently affecting you, several additional stressors are introduced into your life when you sell your home; according to the Holmes – Rahe Stress Scale, some of the stressors associated with moving are:

  • Taking out a mortgage; 
  • Change in financial state; 
  • Major change in living conditions; and 
  • Change in residence.

To learn more, click on the following link: Wikipedia

AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® is not in the stress counselling business; however, we can assist you by minimizing or eliminating some of the stress associated with the sale of your home by providing expert guidance and solid advice relating to waterproofing issues that affect both the re-sale value of your home and the length of time it takes to sell it.

 

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Basement waterproofing issues related to home sales

When you put your home on the market you will likely face several issues with respect to your basement:

  1. When you put your home on the market with a realtor you may be asked to complete a disclosure form on which you will be asked if you have any basement leaks or foundation problems that you are aware of. If you answer falsely, you are taking legal and/or financial risks. If you answer truthfully, you may frighten prospective purchasers. 
  2. Most of the time, the eventual purchaser of your home will hire a home inspector to thoroughly inspect your home as a condition of the sale; one of their checklist items is the condition of the foundation. They will look for cracks and other leaks and humidity. Note: Home inspectors are increasingly using moisture meters to measure humidity levels in the basement and/or abnormally high levels of moisture behind basement walls. 
  3. If a potential purchaser observes water or water stains in the basement, leaking or non-leaking cracks, or if they are advised of high humidity levels, they may not even bother to make an offer or waive the home inspection clause in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, even if they love your home. It is a regrettable fact that many purchasers view foundation cracks as being symptomatic of structural failure. While this is generally not the case, a prospective purchaser puts great faith in their home inspector's opinion above that of any other person (in some cases, even the opinion of a professional waterproofing contractor). 
  4. If a home inspector's report identifies problems associated with foundation leaks and/or cracks, you may be compelled to repair all problems as a condition of the sale, or settle for a reduced price (likely inconsistent with the cost of repair) to close the deal. 
  5. If you own a home built between 1950 and the late 70's, you most likely have a concrete block or cinderblock foundation. Unfortunately, this foundation type is prone to basement leaks and deterioration over time. Consequently, a home inspection will likely reveal a high relative humidity level in the basement and moisture behind the finished basement walls. 
  6. Even if you have never personally observed water on the basement floor, it doesn't mean that your basement hasn't leaked. Our technicians consistently report that many leaks go undetected by homeowners for many years.

Within the past decade, many home purchasers and/or Realtors have increasingly hired us to conduct detailed inspections of foundations/basements when home inspectors reported finding moisture problems and/or basement dampness. Our inspections are thorough and provide realistic repair costs associated with necessary basement waterproofing. Our reports are then used by purchasers to renegotiate the purchase price of homes; in many cases, the price reductions are quite substantial.

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Why you should have a basement inspection before selling your home

As a homeseller, we recommend that you engage a qualified waterproofing contractor to conduct an independent assessment of the condition of your foundation prior to putting your home on the market; there are several advantages in doing so:

  1. You will have a report of the condition of your basement that was prepared by a Professional Waterproofing Contractor; this will provide you with a strong counterargument when a home inspector with limited knowledge of foundation issues and repair costs frightens the purchasers with wet or cracked basement concerns;
  2. You will have an opportunity to rectify simple foundation related issues before they have a chance of becoming "showstoppers" during price negotiations;
  3. With the knowledge of the actual condition of your foundation, you will be able to formulate a strategy, concerning a leaky basement, with your Realtor without being under tremendous time pressure;
  4. You will be in a position to avoid having to take your home off the market for several weeks to have it waterproofed; and
  5. By knowing the actual cost of required waterproofing repairs, you will be in a stronger negotiating position when you receive a discounted offer.

For more information, click on the following hyperlink: General Foundation Inspection.

Schedule a free quote

 

A True Story:

In the summer of 2008, AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® was called in by a realtor for an opinion concerning a home inspector's report that identified moisture ingress issues pertaining to a home with a concrete block foundation; there was visible evidence of water ingress in a closet. In his report, the home inspector provided an estimated repair cost of $25,000.00; consequently, the buyers asked for a $25,000.00 price reduction. This situation was extremely stressful for the homeowner, an elderly widow, in tears, naturally, who needed the highest possible selling price for her home. When AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® conducted an inspection using thermal imaging, we found that the moisture ingress problem was limited to the corner of the foundation. The problem was properly repaired for $2,500.00, not $25,000.00. Upon completion of our work, the home sold the following week for fair market value.

AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® is involved in many real estate transactions either before the listing, after the home inspection, or after the new homeowner moves in only to find water ingress problems that were not identified by their home inspector when they had the property inspected.

We realize that most homeowners do not want to spend money on a home that they are selling, as these expenditures are considered to be a net loss. Unfortunately, with today's technology, it is increasingly unlikely that a leaking basement will go undetected during a home inspection.

The need to prepare for the sale of your home is so important that several leading organizations have published advice on this subject specifically. Click on the links below to read more:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation article - Getting your house ready to sell
Amerispec of Canada article - Ask the Inspector Article - The potential purchasers of my home are having a home inspection performed. What do I need to do to prepare my house for the inspection?

 


 

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© 2015 AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing®. All rights reserved

 

Leaky Basement Repair

 

After many years in the waterproofing business we have concluded that there is little as disturbing to homeowners as discovering a leak in their basement. While every person has their own reason for concern about repairing a leaky basement, some of the most common fears are:

  1. The belief that the repair of the basement leak is prohibitively expensive;
  2. That excavation is required to fix the problem;
  3. That home insurance rarely covers damage that is the result of a basement leak;
  4. Carpeting, laminate flooring, baseboards, drywall and furnishings are damaged and/or moldy; and
  5. A legitimate fear that dealing with a waterproofing contractor might turn into a nightmare.

From the brief list above, it is clear that there are various reasons for concern with regards to a leaky basement. Fortunately, some of those beliefs are not entirely accurate.

Does Repairing a Basement Leak Cost a Fortune?

There are many different types of basement leaks; have a look at the following images:

Leaky crack in need of repair

Leaking tie rod hole to be repaired

Wet concrete block wall in need of repair

 Foundation crack with efflorescence

 Leaking tie-rod hole with staining

 Leaking concrete / cinder block wall

 

The images above are associated with typical basement leaks. In terms of repair cost, let's take a look at each of these types of leaks (from left to right):

    • leaking foundation crack - at the end of the day, a foundation crack is a vertical hole in the wall. From the image it is clear that there is sediment staining as well as efflorescence. The foundation is poured concrete which is solid and 8" thick. Much like a windshield chip repair it is possible to fill the void using resin under pressure, thereby eliminating the crack. The average price of a foundation crack injection as of January 2015 is $450 and typically takes about 2 hours to perform.
    • The center image shows a leak from a forming tie-rod hole which is 5/8" in diameter and extends throughout the thickness of the wall. Like a crack, it too can be filled using pressurized injection of a resin at a cost of $150 as of January 2015.

Cracks and tie-rod holes contribute to over 90% of poured concrete foundation leaks which is fortunate for homeowners as these repairs are minimally invasive and inexpensive.

    • The final image on the right shows a leaking concrete block (cinder block) foundation wall. Concrete block foundations are far more costly to repair compared to poured concrete, as injection methods cannot be used because there are typically 2 or 3 hollow cells in the centre of each concrete block as well as individual mortar joints. This in turn makes it impossible to inject effectively. As a result of this construction practice, much more involved repair procedures are required. Typically, a leaking concrete block foundation repair usually costs $3500 and up.

Fully waterproofed foundation wall Completed interior perimeter drain system
Exterior Concrete Block Foundation Waterproofing Completed Interior Perimeter Drain System

The exterior of the house does not have to be dug up to fix the problem!

It's a common misconception that all waterproofing must take place on the exterior of a building. In truth, the majority of waterproofing work can take place inside the basement. This is especially the case in houses with poured concrete foundations; as most leaks in these foundations emanate from either cracks or tie rod holes which can be easily identified and injected by a qualified technician.

There are exceptions however when injection may not be a viable option and thus excavation may be required; such as, when a leak occurs behind the electrical panel or behind a fireplace and cannot be accessed conveniently.

When finished basements are in need of leak repairs, having to access the crack or tie rod hole will involve the removal of drywall and insulation to expose the issue and provide access for repair. Though this may provide an inconvenience to the homeowner, it is far more cost effective and less invasive than the disruptive process of exterior excavation to waterproof. On average, the cost to repair a crack from the exterior is roughly 3 times the price of repairing it through injection.

It is also of benefit to note that the removal of drywall in the area where the leak has occurred will help prevent the growth of mold in the area preserving the health and safety of you and your family.

Concrete block foundations are the only foundation type where exterior waterproofing methods will need to be considered. Although, interior perimeter drain systems are by far the most popular solution because of their lower cost and are less intrusive. The interior method allows you to avoid having to disturb your landscaping and provides an opportunity to install a sump pump if you do not already have one, which also collects water from under the basement floor as well as the block walls. Overall the interior water-proofing method offers more benefits in comparison to the exterior method but each have their merits. To read more about concrete block foundation water-proofing click here.

 

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Home insurance rarely covers damage that is the result of a basement leak

Many homeowners believe that their home insurance covers basement leaks, however this is rarely the case. Unfortunately every home will have cracks in its foundation, though not every foundation or crack for that matter will leak. When it comes to basement leaks caused by ground water, insurance companies will not cover the damages as basement leaks are extremely common and consequently, insurance premiums would be astronomical. Your home insurance may typically only cover large scale flooding such as a plumbing issue or sewer backup which may be a result of a significant natural disaster or an infrastructure failure in your community.

 

Leaky Basements can cause significant Damage

It is for good reason that people despise basement leaks because often a leak can cause serious damage in a finished basement. Carpeting, laminate flooring, drywall, baseboards and furnishings that come in contact with water that is not cleaned up in short order will allow the growth of mold. Even undiscovered leaks, such as a leak under a bookshelf or dresser may lead to swelling and damage to personal effects. When water comes into a basement the damage can be very small or rather large and ignoring a basement leak could end up being quite costly to the homeowner in the end. Allowing a foundation to continue leaking within a finished basement can lead to mold growth on the interior or exterior of walls, rotten framing and even electrical wiring being exposed to water. If it is suspected that there is a leak in your basement it is important that you have a qualified water-proofing technician assess it immediately.

Remember, leaky basements don’t repair themselves EVER. If you are worried about what can happen to your basement and personal effects chances are it can happen. It is best to be proactive when dealing with a leaking basement.

In unfinished basements the consequences are not as severe. Provided you don’t have personal effects that are coming in contact with the water, your main concern would be concrete deterioration. Continued exposure to water causes concrete to break down and lose its structural integrity.

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Dealing with a contractor doesn't have to be a nightmare

When it comes to the unknown, it is natural for most people to be afraid. As basement leaks aren't your everyday occurence, it's important to make sure that you're basing your waterproofing decision not only on cost but also taking into consideration quality as well as the most efficient repair method.

AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® prides itself in an excellent customer experience from beginning to end. Our staff of educated waterproofing technicians is dedicated to making sure the appropriate waterproofing method is performed on the given type of basement leak, that the job is done right the first time, and that you are left with a dry basement as well as a sense of reassurance and trust.

Rest assured, AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® does also provide transferable warranties on all standard waterproofing methods.

What sets AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® apart from other waterproofing contractors is that we will always put ourselves in our client's shoes and understand presented concerns and approach the issue with complete honesty. Your satisfaction is the only priority and we use honesty as the best policy to insure that.

With our excellent service being recognized by an A+ status with the Better Business Bureau, you can rest assured that you are in great hands!

 

 

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Foundation Waterproofing Repairs

 

Why you should read this article

By reading this article you will become familiar with several aspects of foundation waterproofing repairs that you as a homeowner really should know before calling basement waterproofing companies to get quotes to repair a leak in your basement.

Woman calling for help for a foundation leak Water in a basement needing foundation repair 
 Call to a waterproofing contractor  Water all over the floor usually means waterproofing repairs are needed

 

The traditional method of waterproofing a foundation

The traditional way to waterproof a foundation, going back about 90 years, has been and continues to be, to excavate around the foundation, apply a waterproof coating and change the weeping tile (in a nutshell). This process is equivalent to an "overhaul" as it effectively takes you back to the time when the house was originally built, as that was the last time the foundation walls were fully exposed.

Traditional foundation waterproofing involves the following steps:

  • Excavate around the home to the extent that waterproofing is required;
  • Apply a coating onto the foundation walls to render them "waterproof", and install a dampproof membrane over top of the waterproof coating once it has cured;
  • Replace the existing weeping tile which may or may not be capable of efficiently draining water that has accumulated at the footing; and
  • Backfill and compact the soil.

 

 

Click on the following hyperlink for a much more detailed article on how exterior waterproofing is carried out.

Having met 1000's of homeowners over the years it is clear that the ideology "the only way to waterproof a foundation is to excavate around the house and waterproof the walls" is alive and well. While this belief is quickly changing, many consider digging up the foundation and waterproofing the exterior foundation walls as the "proper" and only way to waterproof a foundation.

There are alternatives to digging up around your house to waterproof your basement

As an informed homeowner it is essential to know that traditional approach to basement waterproofing is but one of several waterproofing methods available today; however, the majority of contractors (both general contractors and waterproofing contractors) will recommend and provide you with a quote for this method of foundation waterproofing; it is our opinion that this is the case for several reasons:

  1. The contract value for external waterproofing work is high, so there is more profit to be made; (you may wish to read our post on the cost of waterproofing a basement)
  2. It is widely believed that the cause of basement leaks is broken / faulty / clogged weeping tile; as this merits further discussion, we discuss this further on another page of this site - check out the article on weeping tile replacement;
  3. The level of skill required to externally waterproof a foundation is low, making it possible to hire seasonal workers to carry out the work with virtually no experience and/or training; and
  4. If a foundation is waterproofed from the exterior it is not generally necessary for a salesperson to positively establish the cause / location of a basement leak, making quotes quick and easy to do. Caution - a cursory inspection of your basement could cause you to spend many $1000's more than you have to, and many people have. To pursue this further, read our blog post on basement leaks that are not caused by a leaky basement.

 

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Repairing foundation cracks from the outside

Sometimes the cause of a basement leak is a crack (or cracks) in the foundation. Like waterproofing a foundation from the outside, traditional crack repair involves excavating the foundation where the crack is, all the way down to the footing (it is crucial to excavate the foundation to that depth). Waterproofing the crack on the outside should be done by installing a flexible membrane over top of the crack. Patching over the crack with cement and/or applying a tar coating will not stand the test of time.

It should be noted that this type of repair method doesn't actually fix a crack. This approach is really the application of a patch over the crack so that water cannot penetrate the crack and leak into the basement.

Click here to read about fixing cracks from outside in more detail. If you have a home built after 1980 be sure to read our article on crack repair for poured concrete foundations.

Do you have a concrete block foundation? If so, crack repair is more complicated; follow this link for more information on how block foundations are waterproofed.

Click to find out how much basement waterproofing costs

 

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Basement Leak Repair - Mississauga - Basement Waterproofing

 

Due to its proximity to Toronto and major highways, the city of Mississauga has experienced significant population growth over the past 35-40 years. This population growth has been the driving force behind fast paced housing development in Mississauga.

During this time, construction practices have also evolved, resulting in the widespread use of increasingly progressive foundation construction methods. One positive outcome of this evolution in building practices was the shift from the post-war era use of concrete blocks (cinder blocks) to the use of poured concrete for foundation construction.

This change in foundation construction practices has a significant impact on how basements are waterproofed and how basement leaks are repaired in Mississauga.

In this article:

Basement leak repairs for newer homes

Having a poured concrete foundation means that you have the greatest number of options for repairing basement leaks. This may come as a surprise, but you don't have to resort to costly and destructive excavation to professionally repair a foundation leak. In fact, in virtually every situation, poured concrete basement leaks can be fixed using injection repair methods which are undertaken from inside the home.

The best news is that injection repairs cost far less than excavating and waterproofing foundation walls externally, and injection repairs can be done year-round under all weather conditions. As an added bonus, this repair method saves you the high cost and trouble of re-landscaping after excavation work has been completed.

The average cost for repairing a foundation crack by injection, as of January 2015, is $450 and takes only 2-3 hours to complete. Read more

 

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Polyurethane injection foundation crack repair
 Polyurethane injection crack repair

 

Foundation cracks are one of the most common causes of basement leaks in poured concrete foundations; naturally, there are other causes as well. For more information on the different basement leak possibilities, follow this hyperlink to sources of basement leaks in poured concrete foundations.

AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® has considerable expertise in the pressurized injection of both epoxy and polyurethane to repair just about any leak in a poured concrete foundation. The attributes of the resins we use provide us with the flexibility needed to tackle just about any basement leak repair job needed for a poured concrete foundation.

Basement waterproofing for older homes

Most homes in Mississauga have poured concrete foundations because their construction is fairly recent; however, most homes built prior to the mid 1970’s have concrete block or cinderblock foundations. The design characteristics of block foundations introduce limitations with respect to how they can be repaired and waterproofed when they are leaking or cracked.

As you may have already read above, injection leak repairs are pretty cheap; unfortunately, due to the fact that concrete block walls are largely hollow, making the travel of injected materials uncontrollable, polyurethane and epoxy injection repairs are not suitable waterproofing options for concrete block / cinderblock foundations.

Concrete block foundations consist of rows (properly called "courses") of cinder blocks bound together using mortar. These blocks have hollow cells (2 or 3 depending on the age of the block) that tend to fill up with water when hydrostatic pressure forces water through cracks in the blocks themselves, or through the mortar joints binding them together.

Older concrete block - cinderblock  Modern concrete block
 Older style cinderblock  Current configuration for concrete block

 

When groundwater penetrates a block foundation wall, the water drains down within the wall and builds up in the lowest courses. This accumulation of water within the hollow blocks often creates large areas of seepage which infiltrate your basement, necessitating relatively expensive repairs to correct the problem. 

Wet and cracked block basement wall Concrete block foundation wall with peeling paint
 Saturated leaking concrete block foundation  Peeling paint from seepage through blocks

Traditionally, leaking block walls were excavated in large sections and waterproofed with a membrane. This method is quite costly, very damaging to landscaping, entirely weather dependent and generally involves the use of very odorous chemicals. The cost for this type of waterproofing depends on accessibility, depth and the linear footage of the excavation. Read more

Excavated foundation wall with waterproof coating applied
 Excavated wall with elastomeric waterproof coating applied

 

If the prospect of digging up around your home is out the question, there exists another approach to waterproofing a cinderblock foundation - the installation of an interior perimeter drain system. This method will keep your basement dry, and in most cases costs much less than excavating and waterproofing.

Interior weeping tile installed along footing for drainage
 Perimeter drain pipe collects water to be evacuated

 

An interior perimeter drain system very effectively drains a water-filled wall into an interior weeping tile system that removes the water. An interior perimeter drain system can be installed year round and, on average, costs about $3500 for approximately 30’ of waterproofing.

Read more

AquaGuard Injection & Waterproofing® has been providing homeowners in Mississauga basement waterproofing services since 2002. All waterproofing work described above is covered by a 25-year transferable warranty!

 

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Cracked foundation repair

 

Cracked foundation repair is a subject of great interest among homeowners because foundation cracks are often viewed as a serious defect despite being a very common occurrence in homes with poured concrete foundations.

Because of the potential seriousness associated with foundation cracks it is generally advised that foundation cracks be repaired whether they are leaking or not. Since many homeowners are concerned with how to repair foundation cracks I've written this blog post to provide relevant and related information such as why foundations crack, as well as the various available methods for properly fixing a cracked foundation.

 

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Why foundations crack

The most common foundation cracks are caused by the shrinkage of concrete during the curing process. Since concrete is composed of water, cement and gravel it shrinks as it cures and dries. While drying, hardened concrete shrinks approximately 1/16 of an inch over a distance of 10 linear feet.

Concrete curing is affected by temperature; if its curing is interrupted by a significant temperature drop, for example overnight, the cured concrete will be affected because it contracts as it cools. On the other hand, when a foundation is poured in intense heat and sun, it can dry too quickly and crack because of thermal expansion.

Basement cracks are also created by the settlement of the soil beneath foundation walls. This can occur when your home’s footings aren’t wide enough or are damaged. Also, if the soil around your home is saturated with water, or if we haven’t had precipitation for quite a while, new problems may develop with the foundation. When the crack width exceeds 1/8 inch it is generally considered to be a “structural” crack.

 

Example of structural foundation crack
Wide cracks are considered to be "structural" cracks

 

When the soil is saturated the groundwater rises and exerts pressure against your basement walls (hydrostatic pressure); the associated soil pressure can cause basement wall cracks and the hydrostatic pressure causes basement leaks. During extended dry periods, the soil around your foundation shrinks as the water evaporates; this can cause your foundation to settle and often results in the development of one or more new basement wall cracks.

Horizontal cracking, usually observed on the upper part of the wall is usually caused by frost damage, and the freeze-thaw cycle. In most cases, water from your downspouts saturates the soil, as the soil freezes it exerts considerable pressure on the basement wall. In some instances horizontal cracking is caused by heavy equipment travelling too close to the foundation wall during backfilling.

How foundation cracks are repaired

In order to repair the types of foundation cracks described above, we employ one of the following three methods. These methods for foundation crack repair are: Epoxy crack injection, Polyurethane crack injection and finally, exterior crack repair.

Epoxy crack injection refers to the method of injecting a two-part glue into the crack from the surface of the crack. The epoxy is injected under pressure directly into the crack through injection ports that are installed at roughly one foot intervals from the bottom to the top of the crack. The material is injected sequentially from the bottom to the top until the crack is full and then begins to cure inside the crack forming a rigid material; essentially gluing the two walls together.

Polyurethane is the other chemical we use when injecting foundation cracks. Typically used in actively leaking cracks or cracks that have been repaired before; polyurethane is a resin that is injected into the crack from ports that are drilled beside the crack intersecting it halfway through the wall. The injection pressure for polyurethane is much higher than that of epoxy and the fact that polyurethane reacts with water makes it the method of choice when dealing with actively leaking or previously repaired foundation cracks.

Alternatively, there is the option of repairing the foundation crack externally. External crack repair is the traditional method of foundation crack repair. This method entails excavation down to the footing, cleaning the wall to expose the crack and applying a rubberized patch to the crack to cover it. While external crack repair is effective at preventing basement leaks it does have limitations, such as: it does not fill-in the crack, it is destructive to landscaping, its high cost relative to other repair methods, it is weather dependent and also takes several weeks to coordinate and have underground utilities located.

What it costs to repair a cracked foundation

The cost to repair a cracked foundation depends on the method of repair. General pricing is as follows:

Foundation crack injection (Epoxy or Polyurethane) price ranges from $350-$575 depending on the company.

When stabilization of a crack is required (ie. Crack is deemed structural and requires reinforcement), carbon fiber reinforcement staples are applied at a cost of $50 each. Most cracks of average length require 3 staples.

The cost of exterior crack repair typically starts at around $1200 per crack but could increase depending on ease of accessibility.

 

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Tags: foundation crack repaircracked foundation basement crack repaircracked foundation repair

Basement foundation wall crack repair

 

Why cracks develop in basement walls

Like death and taxes in life there are also certainties with concrete; one, it will harden and two, it will crack. Fortunately basement wall crack repairs are generally quick and inexpensive.

The most common foundation cracks are caused by concrete shrinkage. Since concrete is composed of water, cement and gravel it shrinks as it cures and dries. While drying, hardened concrete shrinks approximately 1/16 of an inch over a distance of 10 linear feet.

Concrete curing is affected by temperature; if its curing is interrupted by a significant temperature drop, for example an overnight cold snap, the cured concrete will be affected because it contracts as it cools. Conversely, when a foundation is poured in intense heat and sun, it can dry too quickly and crack due to thermal expansion.

Basement cracks also develop due to the settlement of the soil beneath your foundation walls. This can occur when your home’s footings aren’t wide enough or are damaged. Also, if the soil around your home is saturated with water, or if we haven’t had precipitation for quite a while, new problems may develop with the foundation. When the crack width exceeds 1/8 inch it is generally considered to be a “structural” crack.

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When the soil is saturated the groundwater rises and exerts pressure against your basement walls (hydrostatic pressure); the associated soil pressure can cause basement wall cracks and the hydrostatic pressure causes basement leaks. During extended dry periods, the soil around your foundation shrinks as the water evaporates; this can cause your foundation to settle and often results in the development of one or more new basement wall cracks.

Horizontal cracking, usually observed on the upper part of the wall is usually caused by frost damage, and the freeze-thaw cycle. In most cases, water from your downspouts saturates the soil, as the soil freezes it exerts considerable pressure on the basement wall. In some instances horizontal cracking is caused by heavy equipment travelling too close to the foundation wall during backfilling.

Typical shrinkage crack Wide structural foundation crack
 A typical crack caused by concrete shrinkage  Wide structural foundation wall crack

Should you worry about a basement wall crack?

 

Maybe.

As we discussed above, there are several different types of cracks in basement walls. Depending on crack width and orientation (vertical, horizontal, diagonal), it may or may not be something to be concerned about.

Basement wall cracks can be unsightly when they leak; however, many homeowners feel that if a crack develops in their foundation it is due to poor quality or workmanship. While this could be true, with respect to basement walls, if a crack is not structural, is not too wide (what is acceptable depends on who you ask but any crack <1/8 inch), and is not leaking water, it should be considered to be normal and therefore acceptable – unless you are concerned about a basement leak in the future.

information on the cost of basement wall crack repairs.

Concrete shrinkage cracks are seldom a problem because there are no associated structural concerns. However, these basement wall cracks commonly leak and they often allow insects to get into your home; it just makes sense to deal with them.

There are times when you should be concerned about a basement wall crack, such as a horizontal crack. A horizontal crack indicates that the foundation wall’s structural integrity has been undermined and requires professional attention (and usually reinforcement).

Diagonal cracks are typically the result of foundation settlement and should be assessed by an experienced professional as footing support may be required.

Cracks originating from the corner of windows and other openings are usually the result of stress build-up at the window corner and probably account for 40% of the cracks that we repair; in general, these cracks should not cause undue concern.

At the end of the day, all cracks mean something and it is important to take action where warranted. Here a couple of images of cracks that you should be concerned about:

diagonal basement wall cracks very wide foundation crack
Crisscrossing cracks are a sign of foundation failure Cracks wider than 6mm are a structural concern

 

 

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How basement wall cracks are repaired

Based on what we have discussed so far, some basement wall crack repairs are simple while some are more complicated. In general, cracks in poured concrete foundations are repaired quickly and inexpensively - typically using a crack repair process referred to as "crack injection". 99.9% of leaking poured concrete basement walls are repaired using this process; of course another option is to excavate the foundation at the crack location and apply a waterproof barrier over the crack. (see exterior crack repair)

Cinder block foundations crack as well; however, the repair of cracks in block walls is handled completely differently. For more information check out our introduction to concrete block foundation waterproofing.

 

 

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