Why Foundation Crack Repair Kits Aren’t The Best Waterproofing Solution

Why Foundation Crack Repair Kits Aren’t The Best Waterproofing Solution
Why Foundation Crack Repair Kits Aren’t The Best Waterproofing Solution
Are you thinking about using a cracked foundation repair kit to repair a crack in a basement wall? If so, this short article will explain why merely sealing the crack isn’t a long-term basement waterproofing solution. At the most, a cracked foundation repair kit is a temporary “band-aid”. When it fails – and it will, eventually – water will once again start seeping into your basement.

A DIY cracked foundation repair kit won’t fix the root problem

The main problem with DIY cracked foundation repair kits is they don’t fix the root problem: water build-up in the soil. When the soil gets over-saturated with water that can’t drain off, hydrostatic pressure builds up.
 
What is hydrostatic pressure?
Hydrostatic pressure builds up when the soil around your foundation gets saturated with water that can’t drain off. The pressure then starts pushing against your foundation walls. If it isn’t relieved, one or more foundation walls could start to bow inward and even crack. Concrete block foundation walls are especially susceptible to bowing and cracking from hydrostatic pressure.
 
If you have a vertical hairline crack in your poured concrete foundation wall, it was most likely caused during the concrete curing process. While it won’t affect your home’s structural integrity, it could allow water to enter your basement, especially if there’s hydrostatic pressure in the soil due to drainage issues.
 
Cracked foundation repair kits don’t relieve hydrostatic pressure
The real issue is not the hairline crack caused during the concrete curing process. These are largely harmless. The issue is the water in the soil outside the foundation wall. If there weren’t any excess moisture in the soil, it couldn’t seep through the crack. If there’s a lot of excess moisture in the soil, hydrostatic pressure will build up and push the water through the crack.
 
So, while a DIY repair job will buy you some time, it’s not a long-term solution because it doesn’t do anything about excess moisture in the soil. It merely puts up a barrier to keep the water out. 
 
That’s the wrong approach. 
 
Your goal should be to keep excess moisture from building up in the soil. If there isn’t any excess moisture in the soil, it can’t get into your basement. You can prevent excess water from building up in the soil via a drain tile system

Drain tile keeps water from building up in the soil

Yes, a drain tile system is more expensive than a foundation crack repair kit. However, when it comes to basement waterproofing, it’s a lasting solution you’ll only need to do once. There are two types of drain tile systems, interior, and exterior. Here’s how they work:
 
Exterior drain tile system
An exterior drain tile system is installed around the perimeter of your home’s foundation at the footing level. Therefore, in an existing home, it will mean excavation down to the footing. A shallow trench is dug, and a perforated pipe is placed in it. The pipe is covered, and from that point on, any excess soil moisture gets channeled into a sump pit with a sump pump (if necessary) and released away from the foundation.
 
Interior drain tile system
An interior drain tile system is installed along the inside perimeter of your basement wall. Your floor will need to be jackhammered to create the shallow trench for the perforated pipe. If you’re going to finish your basement, the floor will be replaced and the pipe covered. If you’re not planning to finish your basement, the trench might be left open, and the pipe only covered with gravel. Any excess water in the soil under the foundation will now flow into the pipe and from there into a sump pit to be expelled away from the foundation via a sump pump.
 
Both exterior and interior drain tile systems keep water from building up in the soil around and under the foundation. If there’s no excess water in the soil, it can’t get into your basement. For more information on how a drain tile system works, see Basement Drain Systems: The Secret To A Dry Basement.

Other ways to keep water away from your home’s foundation

While a drain tile system is a gold standard when it comes to basement waterproofing, there are other ways to keep moisture from building up in the soil around your home’s foundation including,
 
  • Regrade your yard, if necessary – Your yard should slope away from your home’s foundation, not toward it. If it slopes toward your home, water will drain toward your foundation and saturate the soil. You don’t want this. A landscaper can help you with regrading, or you could do it yourself.
  • Clean gutters regularly – Clogged gutters could cause water to flow over the side of your home and into the soil next to the foundation.
  • Install downspout extensions, if necessary – Downspouts that are too short will release water close to the foundation. Extensions are easy to install and channel water away from the foundation before releasing it.
  • Keep water-hungry vegetation away from the foundation – Obviously, you don’t want vegetation that needs a lot of water next to the foundation. Look for plants, shrubs, and trees that don’t need much water.
 
While a cracked foundation repair kit might be tempting as a quick remedy, it’s not a long-term solution. Your goal should be to keep water from building up in the soil. If there’s no water in the soil, it can’t make its way into your basement.
 
If you have a wet basement and you’re in our northern California service area, contact us today for an estimate.

WRITTEN BY

Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.

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