Discovering a crack in your basement wall can begin to stir up anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions. Your home is one of your biggest investments, and you never want to find something wrong with it. When you do find an issue, you need to act on it as soon as you can to avoid further damages.
Basement wall repair can be done at home without the need of contacting a professional, but this depends on what the issue is. Knowing how to fix foundation cracks in the basement is beneficial whether it’s an issue that you can fix yourself or not.
Don’t ignore the cracks in your basement wall. Learn how to address the issue by continuing to read below. Here’s everything you need to know about repairing the cracks in your basement!
1. Determine the Type of Crack
The first thing you want to do is determine the type of crack. There are many foundation cracks that aren’t serious. These types of cracks can be fixed at home with an epoxy-injection system.
These cracks tend to be small, hairline cracks. They also run vertically or diagonally. The more serious cracks tend to be horizontal cracks and are more than 1/2 an inch in width.
You can use these tips to help you with your decision to either seal them yourself or call in a professional. If you’re still not sure, then you can have a contractor or engineer come out and assess the situation for you.
2. Cover Hairline Cracks With Paint
If you do discover a hairline crack or two in your basement, then it’s essential to understand that these cracks are generally from normal settling or shrinking and aren’t a cause for panic. These cracks will appear about one year after the construction of the basement.
The most common places to find hairline cracks are near the doors, windows, or corners in the basement. To cover these cracks, you can apply a fresh coat of paint made specifically for masonry. Allow the paint to dry and then apply a second coat if needed.
The paint will be enough to cover up those hairline cracks which are simply a cosmetic issue.
3. Track the Growth of New Cracks
When new cracks in the basement appear, you need to track the growth of them. Keep an eye on them to see how much they expand either in length or width. To track the growth, you can use a pencil to mark both its width and length on the wall.
A crack that’s no larger than 1/8 of an inch shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s important to ensure it doesn’t grow. After marking the wall and dating it, be sure to check it at least once a month for signs of growth. If it did grow, then make your new markings with the new date.
If after several months there’s no sign of the crack growing and no water is speaking in, you can then fill in the crack using a grout repair kit.
4. Clean Wall and Align Injection Points
For larger cracks that are wider than 1/8 of an inch but smaller than 1/4 of an inch, you can fill them with an epoxy crack sealer. Before you do so, however, you need to first scrub and clean your wall. Use a wire brush to scrub the crack and remove any loose concrete debris, paint chips, or older sealer.
When done, use a vacuum to remove all dust and debris left. You’ll then want to use 3-inch finishing nails to align your injection points. Place them in the crack only halfway and keep them 12 inches apart.
5. Mix and Spread Epoxy Crack Sealer
You’ll now need to mix and spread the epoxy crack sealer. Be sure to have two mixing sticks ready, because you won’t want to contaminate one part of the mix with the other. Mix equal amounts of part A and part B to create the sealer.
You can take a piece of wood and a putty knife to then mix the two parts together until they create a grey tone. When done, take the sealer and spread it onto a base of one of the injection ports.
Place the port above one of the nails and push it into the wall. You’ll then do the same for the other nails.
6. Seal the Entire Crack and Fill the Ports
The next step is to mix together a large amount of sealer to place over the entire crack. You can use the putty knife to smooth it over. You’ll want to place it over the crack itself and an extra inch on either side of it.
Cover the injection ports with the sealer as well, but leave the neck of the ports sticking out. Use a paintbrush to spread mineral spirits on the edges of the sealer. Let the sealer rest for about 6-10 hours before injecting the crack with the epoxy.
When ready, mix together the LCR epoxy and place it inside a caulking gun. Place it in the lowest port first and squeeze the caulking gun handle until the epoxy exits through the port above it. Remove the port and seal it.
Do this for each port. After 5 days, you can then remove the necks of the ports with a saw and cover the port with the sealer.
7. Leave the Job for the Pros
Although this is a job that can be done by yourself, there are certain situations that call for reputable basement waterproofing contractors. If you ever feel like the job is too tedious, difficult, or questionable, then don’t hesitate to call in the professionals.
Professional contractors will know which cracks are a cause of worry and which ones aren’t. They’ll also know how to properly seal all cracks and keep any water from seeping in.
A DIY Basement Wall Repair or a Job for the Pros?
Are the cracks you found repairable with a DIY basement wall repair or do they require some help from the professionals? Use the guide above to help you determine what the right fix is.
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