LESLIE: Carol in Rhode Island is on the line with a basement question. What’s going on at your money pit?
CAROL: Hi. I’m renovating a little ranch and when I removed the paneling in the basement, I discovered a crack in the foundation. So, I’m wondering what the right way is to repair that crack and then, also, to seal the foundation.
TOM: Can you describe the crack, Carol? Is it horizontal or vertical? And how big is it?
CAROL: It’s vertical and it goes from top to bottom and it is probably about 1/16-inch.
TOM: Well, that’s not terribly concerning to me.
TOM: I know it’s concerning to see any kind of crack in a wall but if it’s only 1/16-inch and the walls are still flush, they’re not – one wall is not pushed out further than the other, then I think you should just treat it as a cosmetic matter right now. And I would pick up a masonry caulk. QUIKRETE makes a product that does this. And I would just simply caulk that line from top to bottom.
If you noticed more movement over time, then I might tell you to get an engineer to look at it. But just a hairline crack like that in the foundation is pretty typical. How old is this house?
CAROL: I would say it was built in the 50s and I plan on putting the panel – some paneling back.
CAROL: So that crack is going to be covered at that point.
TOM: The crack is flush. In other words, both sides of the wall are still in perfect alignment or is one …?
CAROL: Yeah. Yes.
LESLIE: Not one’s sticking out?
TOM: Yeah, it sounds pretty typical. And so I wouldn’t be that concerned about it.
CAROL: OK. And what can I seal the foundation with before I put paneling back up?
TOM: Well, you could use a moisture-resistant paint for that. There’s products like Thompson’s Water Seal and other types of products like that, that are foundation-wall paints, that are simply designed to give you good adhesion. Remember, if you have a leak issue, those paints are not going to stop it from coming through.
TOM: You need to have good grading and drainage at the foundation perimeter, good gutters and have to be cleaned, extended away, soil sloped away, that sort of thing. But if you just want to stop the surface humidity from getting into the house, then that’s definitely something you could consider.