Is it better to have a basement leak fixed from the inside or the outside?
All wet basement waterproofing and leak repairs, regardless of the foundation type, can be performed from inside the home or from the outside. For available repair options, please consult our Basement Waterproofing Repair Methods page.
Assuming that you have a poured concrete foundation, both repair methods can resolve your water infiltration problem, the decision to inject a leak from the inside or excavate from the outside is entirely based on your circumstances. In making this decision we recommend that you consider the following:
1. Injection repairs require top to bottom exposure of the bare wall in the vicinity of the repair. In contrast, external excavation will invariably damage the landscaping in the vicinity of the repair as well as the areas wherever the soil has to be piled and where the excavator and crews will be travelling; additionally, fences and decks may have to be removed and rebuilt, and so on.
2. An injection from the inside costs hundreds of dollars whereas an external excavation can easily cost several thousand dollars (not including the cost of re-landscaping, rebuilding the fence, etc).
3. Injections, which are always carried out from inside, will fill the crack or hole completely from the inside to the outside. External crack repairs simply patch the foundation on the outside.
4. The warranty provided for an internal injection is generally longer than a warranty offered for an external excavation.
5. When excavating it is possible to damage the weeping tile system such that you end up with greater problems after the repair than you had when you started.
6. When excavating there is a risk of damage to gas lines, hydro lines, etc, even if the locates were done properly; assuming that the contractor has gone to the trouble of obtaining the locates. As compared to injection, there is far greater exposure to significant human error when excavating.
7. With excavation there is always a risk of the earth caving in; if the proper safety procedures and excavation techniques are not being used, and the person in the pit is killed by a cave in, you may end up being sued.
8. The scheduling of excavation work is dependent upon the availability of crews and excavators; delays on other jobs due to rain or equipment maintenance can postpone your scheduled repair by days or weeks. Given that injections are typically completed within a few hours by a single technician with fewer equipment requirements, your wait in the event of a delay will be measured in hours, not days or weeks.
9. If the cost of accessing the wall from inside is prohibitive, or if you have a custom built bar or shelving you might consider external excavation; however, if the problem has not been ascertained by examining the bare wall from inside, you cannot be 100% sure of what exactly needs to be repaired, if anything at all. Note: the location of the puddle of water on the floor does not necessarily coincide with the location of the problem. Under these circumstances we recommend that you call us to arrange for a thermal imaging inspection in order to pinpoint the exact location of the problem.
Homeowner Tip: Before you agree to any foundation repair, ensure that the cause of the problem is known with 100% certainty. In general, if you haven't observed the problem on the bare walls from inside the home you cannot be certain as to the cause of the leak or problem; from the outside, you can't possibly tell whether a crack is leaking or whether there are 1 or 2 or 3 or even 10 rod holes leaking. All too often, homeowners agree to thousands of dollars of foundation excavation and waterproofing which is either done in the wrong location, for the wrong reasons, or to resolve a problem that could have been fixed from the inside for thousands of dollars less. Check out our Basement Waterproofing Repair Methods page to find out what repair options are available for your specific situation.