Archive for the ‘foundation’ category

Water Leaks by Basement Foundation

October 1st, 2010

QUESTION

My tri-level home is about 35 years old. We have water in our basement coming from the foundation between the lower level and basement common wall, and the front basement wall. The basement wall is under a 6’x23′ cement slab across the front of the house. Whom do I contact to resolve this issue?

ANSWER

Think about the specific symptoms you see when the leak is occurs. If it only leaks when it rains, you may have a problem with surface water, surface drainage, gutters, downspouts, sump-pump discharge, or storm sewer lines. If you have a sump pump, is it running and moving water? Does it run when the leak occurs?

A leak at the floor/wall joint is caused by too much water flow toward the area, and a possible hampered drain tile system. Water leaking higher on the wall is often caused by surface drainage issues.

I suggest you contact an independent basement inspector. In the Milwaukee area, Mike Shadid (414-379-1265) and Chuck Weber (414-536-1300) are good options.

Basement Specialists Inc. is a great basement repair company. However, be careful; some basement repair companies will send their sales folks to evaluate the problem, or say that they provide an “independent” inspector who actually works for the repair company.

Foundation Cracks

March 10th, 2010

We have a 1100-square-foot 1950’s ranch. The interior basement walls look good, but we have several hairline cracks visible on the one-foot exterior block that we can see. Is urethane caulking a good idea? Thanks!!

Answer:

If the cracks are vertical and next to an outside corner, it could indicate some wall movement. When a block wall moves inward, a crack often appears near the corner in the vertical mortar joint. You can check the walls for movement with a plumb bob or a long level. The walls should be within 1/2 inch of plumb when compared to the corners.

Minor cracks on the outside of the block wall could be filled with a urethane or polyurethane caulk but this is not a structural repair – just cosmetic. If you are considering selling your home soon, caulk may not be a good idea because it raises the question of what the caulk is hiding.

Check for movement and other cracks inside. If you do have cracks or movement over 1/2 inch, consider a review by an independent basement consultant.