LESLIE: Steve in Maryland is on the line with a question about water penetrating walls. How can we help you?
STEVE: My neighbor had a house built within the last year. She had solid-concrete foundation put in with her crawlspace. And I’ve got cinder-block walls on my foundation. And I’ve had a lot of – I’ve had some water penetrating walls. And I’m thinking, because she has solid concrete – I think maybe if I ever had another house built, maybe that’s the way to go, with solid concrete. I don’t see how water can penetrate that. And I wanted to bounce that off of you and see what you had to say about it.
TOM: Well, water can certainly penetrate solid-concrete walls. Perhaps not as easily as it can a concrete-block wall. But in either case, you can stop that very simply by improving the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter. Most of the time when a foundation leaks, whether it’s a crawlspace or a basement, there’s something wrong with that drainage. So your gutters are clogged and overflowing, the downspouts are perhaps not extended out 4 to 6 feet from the house – because most contractors leave them go out about a foot or so, which is a mistake – or the soil is too flat or the soil is sloping back into the wall or there’s some landscape element, like brick edging or 4×4 timbers or something like that, that’s holding water against the foundation and can cause water penetrating walls.
If you want to stop a foundation from leaking, you want to manage that drainage. But if you are sort of starting from scratch and had your option to go with a block wall or a solid-concrete wall, I do agree that a solid-concrete wall will be much stronger and much more solid and not be prone to some of the issues that we’ve seen with block walls over the years, like leakage or cracking and that sort of thing.
STEVE: Yeah, well, I appreciate that information.