How Foundation Cracks are Sealed
You have some cracks in your foundation and need to know what you will have to do to get them fixed. The first thing that should be done is to contact a qualified foundation repair specialist to assess the damage and get it repaired. The severity of the cracks will determine the steps that will need to be taken.
Preparing the Surface
If the foundation cracks are not too severe, and you feel you can fill them yourself, you will want to follow these steps to prepare the surface:
Clear the area that is in front of the cracks by removing grass, tree limbs, bushes, and plants in order to be able to examine the damage up close and make more room to work.
- Next, you will need to carefully scrape away any loose debris or materials that are wedged or hanging in or off the cracked area. Some of the things that you can use to do this include wire brushes and tools, such as a screwdriver or a small putty knife. Instead of these tools, you can use an air compressor, which is somewhat more effective at getting dust and debris out of cracks.
- Widening the crack just a little bit can also help in the repair process. You can do this with the help of a hammer and a small chisel. As well, roughing up the edges of the crack will give the sealant something to adhere to.
- After widening the crack, you will need to thoroughly clean the opening with a brush to make sure that no dust or loose chips will come off during the repair process. Depending on the type of sealant that you’ll use to fix the crack, you might need to wet the surfaces down with water before applying the sealant.
Applying the Sealant
After properly preparing the crack, you can begin applying the sealer. Some of the sealants that can be used to repair foundation cracks are:
- Epoxy sealers
- Vinyl concrete patching compound
- Cement mixture
- Hydraulic cement
- Polyurethane-, latex-, or silicone-based caulk
- Concrete/masonry waterproofing sealer (this is a product that you should use at the end)
When you are filling a crack in your foundation with any of the sealants listed above, you can use a variety of tools, such as a putty knife, trowel, flat-head screwdriver, and/or paint brushes. You can as well use a baker’s cone to fill the cement into the crack to reach a deeper depth. However, if you’re going to fix the crack with polyurethane-, latex-, or silicone-based caulk, it would be much simpler to use a caulking gun.
For cracks that are a half-inch wide and/or deep, you can place a foam backer rod into the void and then apply caulk or a cement mixture on top of it. Backer rods help to fill the cavity and give something behind your application.
With any of the applications, you will need to make sure that the opening is filled in, and you will also need to level off the outer side of the crack. Whatever products you choose, it’s important to follow the instructions entirely for the best outcome. For instance, some of the above products require a certain thickness on the surface in order to seal the crack properly. As well, most products must be completely dry before applying a second layer or another product.
If you have very deep and/or wide cracks or cracks that go all the way through your foundation, it is best to have a professional foundation repair contractor fix the problem. A professional contractor will have the necessary equipment and sealants to make sure that you will not have any water and pest intrusion issues afterward.
You should always make sure to look over your entire foundation for any signs that there could be a problem. If you observe any issues, you need to find out what is causing them in the first place, before sealing any cracks. There are many different reasons for foundation problems, such as excess water, drought, and tree root intrusion.
Even though you might have some cracks in your foundation, it is not out of your reach (so to speak) to be able to fix it on your own. However, if you need any help or information, contact our professionals, and they will be glad to help you from start to finish!
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