Seal a Cracked Cement Foundation from Water
LESLIE: Richard in Rhode Island finds The Money Pit on WPRO. What’s going on at your money pit?
RICHARD: I have a new home and a new attached garage. However, the water keeps seeping through a crack in the new foundation. I have had it chiseled out. They put hydraulic cement in it. They said that would alleviate the problem. I subsequently took my backhoe and tried to grade and divert some of the water away from the house. And the heavy days of – heavy, rainy days, I should say – the water still seeps through that same crack that they “fixed.”
TOM: Mm-hmm. You said they put in a hydraulic cement there.
TOM: I would prefer an epoxy patching compound or a flowable urethane.
LESLIE: Because it will adhere better to that concrete …
TOM: It sticks better.
LESLIE: … that’s already there.
TOM: You see, you’ve got a crack, so that’s always going to be the weak link. I mean when you get water that collects on the outside of the foundation, it’s going to find a weak link and find its way in. But rather than a cement I would have much preferred to have used an epoxy in that. And how far did you have to dig down to expose this?
RICHARD: It was all the way down from grade level down to the base, which is about seven to eight feet down.
TOM: Oh, boy. So well, at this point, you know, short of you digging that out again, this is really just going to be a water management issue. I mean you could epoxy patch it on the inside and that might help a little bit. But keeping the water away from this – such as the grading that you’ve done – is going to be the best way to slow it down.
LESLIE: What about your gutters, Richard? Do you have gutters on the house?
RICHARD: Brand new gutters, actually. But what happened was the guy – the excavator – ended up putting the boulders along the foundation. He said, “Oh, that’s fine” and I’m sure the water’s finding its way back through there somehow.
TOM: Wait a minute. Say that again. He put what along the foundation?
RICHARD: Boulders of the surrounding …
TOM: Oh and he pushed boulders back in? He pushed stone back in?
TOM: Yeah, listen. If you don’t build up your grade correctly and that soil is not properly tamped down, clean fill dirt tamped all the way up to the surface covered with just a tiny bit of topsoil and sloping away from the wall so it drops off, say, six inches on four feet; if you don’t have letter-perfect grade like that and if you have a lot of loose stone and loose fill and boulders in there, what’s going to happen is no matter what you do to that crack, water’s going to collect on the other side of it.
RICHARD: Incredible. Is this epoxy, rather, going to adhere to it? Can I have them reapply that …
RICHARD: … or will it not do so because of this hydraulic cement?
LESLIE: No, it’ll stick.
TOM: No, it’ll stick. Check out the products from AboCast – A-b-o-C-a-s-t. They make some really good quality epoxy patching compounds that I think this would be perfectly suited for.
RICHARD: Wow, thank you so much.