Seal Cracks in Basement Walls
LESLIE: Ron in Wisconsin is finishing a basement and it needs some help. What can we do for you?
RON: I have about a 50-year-old basement. It’s got the old, you know, the stone block walls; rock walls, actually.
RON: And I need, first of all, to seal those up good and I’ve been kind of using some of this foam in a can and I want to make sure that it’s OK to do that. And then, secondly, I need to make sure that I’m not getting water in. I want to build a stud wall around the perimeter of the basement and I want to make sure that I don’t have any issues going on back there when I get that done.
TOM: Well, you know, inside water features really add a lot to the value of the house. (Leslie chuckles)
RON: (chuckling) Yeah. I don’t need (inaudible at 0:27:20.3).
TOM: (overlapping voices) But they have to be planned, not unplanned. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Basement swimming pools are fantastic.
TOM: Well, listen, the first thing I want you to do is figure out what the source of that water is and stop just trying to plug it. It’s probably a grading deficiency outside or a problem with the gutters or for some reason, you’re running a lot of water against the foundation.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Combination of the both.
TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to stop at the source first. In terms of how do you plug it? Well, generally, if it’s a – you say it’s a block wall or a stone wall?
RON: It’s a stone wall, sorry.
TOM: Hmm. Well, I know what you’re using. You’re using the polyurethane foam.
LESLIE: Expandable foam.
TOM: Expandable foam.
LESLIE: Could you use like a flowable urethane or an epoxy patching compound to fill in those areas?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Something thicker is what I’d like to see. Like an epoxy patching compound would probably be a good choice.
TOM: Because that foam may be working but it’s not really designed for that.
LESLIE: Yeah. I would definitely go with the epoxy patching compound. Fill in all of those cracks because, this way, you know it’s going to stick to what’s there and you don’t have to worry about it breaking out or popping out. And it’s actually made for that purpose.
And then when it comes to building the stud wall, you want to make sure that you give yourself some space between the studs and the stone wall itself; like maybe six inches.
Tom, I know you always say less but you want to get air circulating behind there to sort of keep things dry.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
LESLIE: And would you use metal studs, Tom?
TOM: It’s not a bad idea to use metal studs but again, you do want to keep that wall about six inches away from the foundation because, this way, you can have some air circulation.
A little trick of the trade is you can use HVAC vents or registers, return registers, in the wall – one up high and one down low – to make sure you’re always constantly circulating some air flow through the wall space.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And when it comes to your wallboard choice, I would definitely use paperless drywall. You know, look for something that’s fiberglass-faced because if you’re already dealing with a potentially moisture situation in this basement, you don’t want to introduce mold food. So keep as much paper out of there as possible.
RON: OK. Alright. That sounds really good. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.