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WATER LEAKING IN BASEMENT? When your home was built and your basement dug out, soil that was compacted for long periods of time was disturbed. That soil is usually mostly clay which does not allow water to perculate through it easily. Instead water veins form in the clay soil surrounding your basement walls. After a period of time the exterior coating on your basement walls wears away and water settling into the ground from rain forces itself through your basement walls through lateral pressure.
If your basement walls are constructed of cinder blocks, the water forcing itself against them works its way into the hollow cavities of the blocks. The blocks eventually fill to a height in which the weight of the water pushes itself downward to the bottom level of the basement wall where the wall meets the floor and the water then enters your basement floor.
Most often when water builds up in the clay bowl surrounding your basement, water that has previously settled further in the ground, under the basement floor, begins to build up also causing the underground water table to rise and press up against the basement floor by hydrostatic pressure.
This water also seeks release at the point of least resistance again usually at the cove base where the basement walls and floor meet. The result is a torrent of water flooding your basement floor, soaking your basement walls and eroding your foundation. This ground water is highly acidic and it erodes the concrete securing your cinder block walls together causing more leaks and in some cases, collapse.
We are the experts at fixing hard foundation repair projects other contractors can't solve. TheDryMaster team frequently works with Professional Engineers to ensure your basement repair is properly designed.
The settling and shifting of foundations can often be caused by building a structure on expanding or contracting soil due to freezing or holding water, improperly compacted fill soils, or from poor maintenance of the dirt around the building's foundation. Whatever the cause of a troublesome settling foundation, this settlement can ruin a building's value and even render it unsafe.
Whether you are experiencing settling foundations, bowed or cracked basement walls, cracks in drywall, sagging floor joists or have a home built on unsuitable foundation soils, The DryMaster team can solve your problem. We're experts in both concrete block and poured foundations. Our repair staff are experts at carbon fiber wall repairs, steel I beams, piering, etc. DryMaster’s crews take pride in fixing your foundation right the first time!
REMEMBER WATER IS THE THREAT TO ANY FOUNDATION
REMEMBER WATER IS THE THREAT TO ANY FOUNDATION
Seepage, is a common problem which may occur in combination with cracks. Seepage often is caused by surface water filling the clay bowl and pressing against the exterior of basement walls. Ineffective or poorly maintained drainage systems don't relieve seepage pressure. Although a dry basement may have serious cracks and structural problems, while a leaky basement may be structurally sound. Cracks, movement and leaks are not always related. The false water table causes seepage problems. Lateral pressure from wet soil at eight feet below grade gets up to 15,00 pounds per square foot against the basement walls. This pressure causes leaks, cracks and structural failures.
TYPICAL BASEMENT CONSTRUCTION
A typical basement or foundation is constructed to support the home, resist lateral pressure and resist the movement of frost. Often, in colder climates, basements are constructed because the foundation must extend below the frost line. Once you dig down four feet to get below the frost line, a full-depth basement makes sense. In mild climates, there is little or no frost and the foundation often consists of a concrete slab on grade or a crawl space.
A typical basement is constructed of a footing that supports the basement walls and floor. The footing must rest on solid compacted soil. The wall may be constructed of cement block, poured concrete, brick, stone or tile. In recent years, most foundation walls have been constructed of cement block or poured concrete. The floor is poured concrete supported on the edges by the footing and in the center by compacted gravel. In areas with soils that don’t drain well, such as clay soil, a french drain often is installed. Subsoil drain pipe is installed underground along the footing . Bleeders are installed through the footing to allow water to pass from the outside to the inside and is connected to a crock and sump pump. As water drains into the crock and the level rises, the pump turns on and removes the water. In some parts of the country prior to 1954, the discharge from the crock was connected to a combined sewer system through a check valve. The exterior french drain system as proven to fail for various reasons and have been augmented by interior subfloor pressure relief systems as used by DryMaster.
BLOCK OR POURED CONCRETE WALLS
A cinder block or cement block wall is laid up like a brick wall. Mortar is used to set the block in place and bond the cinder blocks together . Most cinder blocks used in basements have a hollow core. A cinder block basement wall easily supports the weight of a home. Cinder block is very strong in compression. However, block walls, if subjected to lateral pressure fail.The basement walls also can be made of poured concrete. These walls typically are stronger against horizontal pressure, and they easily support the weight of a home. The construction looks similar except that poured concrete is substituted for cement block.
Step cracks refer to cracks that follow the mortar joints in a block wall. The cracks travel up or down along the mortar. In many cases, this type of crack is caused by movement of the footing, shrinkage or wall movement. Small narrow step cracks are not a major cause for concern; however, wide cracks or step cracks combined with other cracks and movement can be problimatic.
STEP CRACKS AT WINDOWS AND BEAM ENDS
Step cracks often will occur at the weak point of a wall around window openings. Step cracks are common at “beam-end” walls. At the beam-end wall, the beam transfers a large point load to the wall. The load often creates step cracks down and away from the beam as the footing settles ever so slightly. Block walls will crack before they move.
STEP CRACKS COMBINED WITH HORIZONTAL SHEAR
Combinations of cracks often indicate a more serious problem. Step cracks may be found with horizontal cracks, vertical cracks and wall movement. A combination of cracks needs a professional review. Any long horizontal crack at the second or third mortar joint, under the top block or over the bottom block, combined with step cracks and inward movement, indicates a problem. While step cracks near windows and corners often are not serious, if they are combined with floor cracks, shear or vertical cracks, there is cause for concern.
Vertical (up and down) cracks can be caused by simple shrinkage of materials. These cracks often occur in the control joints of poured walls. They appear as hairline cracks in mortar joints and through blocks in a cement block wall. Some vertical shrinkage cracks in poured concrete can be up to 1/8 inch wide. Cracks in block walls should be very narrow, without horizontal movement.
Vertical cracks are an issue if they are wide, tapered from top to bottom, or found in combination with other cracks. They can occur because of settlement, wall movement or tipping walls. Vertical cracks also occur if a wall is pushed in and breaks away from the adjacent corner or surface. Vertical cracks with horizontal or shear movement at the crack always indicate a problem. Vertical shear cracks at a corner with no horizontal cracks indicate a large amount of water freezing at the corner. In this case, the center of the wall can be stable.
Horizontal cracks can appear at the mortar joints in block walls. They indicate that the wall has moved horizontally. As the wall is pushed in, the joint opens up inside the basement, and a similar crack will occur outside near the base of the wall. Horizontal cracks are caused by lateral pressure due to wet soils, poor maintenance of surface water and frost.
Horizontal cracks in block walls always need to be taken seriously. A horizontal crack combined with step or vertical cracks will most probably leak. When there is water in the soil, the soil may expand, common in clay soils. When the wet soil expands, the wall may be pushed in and the horizontal crack may open further.
Frost in exterior soil causes similar movement and cracking as the frost expands the soil. Soil settles behind the bowed wall pushing it further in. A horizontal crack can happen during a single season. Rain and snowmelt combined with freezing temperatures can cause a wall to move and crack suddenly. As the wall is pushed in, the horizontal cracks open. With more movement, the wall breaks away from the corners, resulting in step cracks and vertical cracks. The corners are stable, while the wall breaks away. This type of movement and cracking typically occurs in a block basement, not in one made of poured concrete. When bowing or movement occurs in a poured concrete wall there will be a combination of vertical and 45-degree angle cracks. The cracks allow the wall to break away from the stable corners and move inward.
Basement floor cracks are common, because concrete shrinks as it cures. Cracks from an inside corner or small spider web like cracks are not of major concern. These often are shrinkage-related. Basement floors often have gaps between the floor and the wall or around the sump pump crock in a corner. There is evidence of a problem if the cracks are parallel to the wall and footings or if there is vertical movement associated with the cracks. Displacement at the cracks, or floor cracks that align with wall cracks, also indicate a problem. Floors that are tipped, heaved, and cracked often leak. Heaving indicates hydrostatic pressure from a failed french drain.
REPAIR BEAMS FOR WALLS
A practical and cost effective repair for walls is the installation of interior steel beams. The beams are bolted to the floor framing and the concrete floor and set flush against the wall. If the concrete floor is being cut, the beams may be set into the concrete. Any space between the wall and the beam is filled with grout. The beams are bolted to the side of the floor joists on a supporting foundation wall. When placed on a beam-end wall with joists parallel to the wall, they will be blocked back to several joists and to the subfloor for support. The beams are placed with 36 to 48inch center spacing . Excavation and straightening of the wall may be necessary. If a beam repair is done in conjunction with an subfloor pressure relief system, the lower end of the beam will be set into the concrete patch for the subfloor pressure relief system.
REPAIR WITH RODS AND CONCRETE
Block walls with cracks and movement also may be repaired and reinforced with rods and concrete. Since the typical block has hollow cores, these cores can be reinforced with vertical reinforcing rods set in concrete. The exterior face of the block is broken away and rods are pushed down the core. Concrete then is poured down the core.
INTERIOR CONCRETE FOUNDATION CRACK REPAIR
Here are the basic steps for successful low-pressure crack injection. Keep in mind, however, that the type of EPOXY OR POLYURETHANE used and the time required for injection will vary with each job depending on the crack width, wall thickness, and other conditions.
Install injection ports: Surface Ports (short rigid-plastic tubes with a flat base) serve as handy entryways for getting the repair material into the crack. They eliminate the need to drill into the concrete, reducing labor time and cleanup. The base of the port is placed directly over the crack and bonded to the surface with an epoxy paste. A general rule-of-thumb is to space the ports an inch apart for each inch of wall thickness.
Seal the surface: Use an epoxy adhesive (such as Emecole 301) to seal over the surface ports and exposed cracks. The paste cures in about 20 to 45 minutes to provide a surface seal with excellent bond characteristics that holds up under injection pressures. The entire exposed crack is covered with the paste, leaving only the port holes uncovered.
Inject the crack: Begin injecting at the lowest port on the wall and continue until the epoxy or urethane begins to ooze out of the port above it. That's the visual sign that the crack has been filled to that level. Plug the first port with the cap and move up to the next port, repeating this procedure until the entire crack has been filled with epoxy or urethane. Let the compression spring on the dispensing tool push the material into the crack using slow, constant pressure. This will reduce the possibility of leaks or blow-outs and allow time for the repair material to fully penetrate the crack.
Remove the ports: Allow 24 to 48 hours at room temperature for the epoxy or polyurethane to cure and penetrate into the cracks. The injection ports can then be removed by striking them with a trowel or hammer. If appearance is an issue, the epoxy surface seal can be chipped away or ground off with a sanding disk. Another option is to use a surface seal that can simply be peeled off the wall after the repair is fully cured. Emecole manufactures a polyurea-based seal (Emecole 322) that develops a strong enough bond to allow the injector to do the work, but is flexible and can be peeled away when the job is done.
Efflorescence is caused by water moving through concrete and masonry products. As it travels through in a process called capillary action, the water dissolves salts contained in the material. When the water reaches the inside wall it evaporates and leaves the salts on the surface. Overtime the buildup of the salty deposits can become quite significant. This process is facilitated by lower temperatures, humidity, rain, or , hydrostatic pressure.
There are two types of efflorescence. There's the regular or powdery kind that is easily removed. There's also crystallized efflorescence. This occurs when powdery deposits go through cycles of being re-dissolved, drying out, then re-dissolved again and so on. This forms crystals which begin to adhere tightly to the surface and requires basement waterproofing.
Humidity and moisture play a key role. Water stored in the blocks of a cinder block foundation wall is evidenced by the presence of efflorescence.
Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit that appears on the surface of cinder blocks as a whitish powder or crust. As lateral pressure forces underground water into the cinder blocks, the cavities in the blocks fill up.The ground water is high in acid and it's that acidity that leeches the salts (limestone) out of the mortar joints.The ground water is high in acid and it's that acidity that leeches the salts (limestone) out of the mortar joints. Hydrostatic pressure causes the water and minerals to migrate to the surface of the wall. This leeching hardens on the exterior walls of the cinder blocks.
A combination of circumstances causes efflorescence.
First, there must be minerals (soluble salts) present in the substrate. All setting materials, including grout and thin set mixtures, used in the installation of tiles contain minerals. Minerals can also be found in the cinder blocks. the foundation and the ground.
Second, water must be present to act as a vehicle for the minerals to pass through to the surface.
Third, All three conditions must be present to produce efflorescence.
Eliminate the hydrostatic pressure and the problem will not appear.
Dry Rot is caused by a fungus that destroys wood. The wood is actually being eaten by the fungi resulting in a weakening of the floor joists of the home. This condition can cause failure of the floor joists. Moisture is the major cause of this fungus. Damp leasing basements are breeding grounds for the fungus that causes Dry Rot. If you see signs of Dry Rot on your floor joists you should callthe professionals at DryMaster to give your basement a complete free inspection and to offer you a plan of action to prevent dry Rot.