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How Can A Foundation Leak Be Repaired?

Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant

Picture of a leaking foundation

Looking for accurate cost information related to foundation leak repair?

Perfect, you’re in the right spot. In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How do you find where the water leak is coming from?
  • How can you fix a leaky basement yourself?
  • How do you waterproof a foundation?
  • How can you save money while fixing foundation leaks?

As a homeowner, walking downstairs to find water in your basement or crawl space is just about the last thing you want to experience. Unfortunately, most basements suffer from water intrusion or moisture problems, so you’ll likely have to deal with a wet basement at some point.

Water intrusion can be a tricky problem to deal with, so knowing how to find the cause of the problem and how to fix the issue yourself can go a long way in mitigating property damage and reducing the cost of repair.

Below, I’m going to discuss how to find the source of your basement leak, how to stop the water intrusion, and how to waterproof your basement to prevent leakage from recurring.

How Do You Identify Where The Leak Is Coming From?

The first order of business when solving leaking basement problems is to find the source of the problem. Knowing where the moisture or water is coming from will allow you to implement the best solution and stop leaking from happening going forward.

Leaks can often be found with a visual inspection of your slab and concrete basement walls. Even if there isn’t water in your basement at the time of the examination, there are some signs that point to the underlying problem.

Cracks in your concrete floor or walls often let water in and will need to be treated with an epoxy sealant. Efflorescence is white staining on concrete block walls that forms from salts and minerals left behind after water seeps in and evaporates in your basement.

In addition to the underlying problem, you should also be able to identify the area of your basement that is allowing water in.

Moisture or efflorescence on one side of your basement could indicate localized drainage issues, which can make the repair more manageable and more affordable.

How Do You Repair The Leak Yourself?

If leaking is your only issue and your foundation walls haven’t suffered from additional related damage like horizontal, diagonal, or stair-step cracks, you can treat the issue yourself and solve your water problems with some DIY solutions.

We’ll detail the process to repair a basement leak below.

Remove Excess Humidity

Your first step should be to remove humidity from your basement. Whether water wicks through your concrete or seeps through foundation wall cracks, it evaporates into the air once inside and creates problems with humidity.

Humid conditions under your home promote mildew and mold growth, which can be hazardous to your health and costly to remediate. Removal and replacement of molded material can also increase repair costs.

Installing a dehumidifier is an excellent way to maintain a healthy relative humidity in your basement and prevent mold from growing.

Insulate Any Pipes

Next, you should insulate plumbing pipes and HVAC ducts that run through your basement. Pipes or ducts that carry hot water or air will “sweat” because of condensation on their exterior.

The water that condenses on your plumbing and heating lines can drip into your basement and create a moisture problem from the inside of your home. This is a crucial step because it will prevent moisture problems from persisting even once you solve your leakage issues.

Plug Holes And Cracks that are in the Foundation

Once your pipes are insulated, you can turn your focus to stopping water intrusion. Inspect your basement walls and concrete slab thoroughly for cracks or any physical damage.

Horizontal, diagonal, and stair-step cracks should be inspected by a structural engineer, but you can seal hairline cracks in your concrete walls or basement floor yourself.

There are several different kinds of sealants you can use to stop water intrusion through foundation cracks. I’ll discuss each of them below.

Hydraulic Cement

Hydraulic cement is a cementitious solution that gets applied to foundation cracks with a putty knife or trowel.

It can be applied as a DIY project for around $30 in materials, but the best seal is obtained if a v-shaped groove is cut along the length of a crack to offer the cement more surface area to bond.

We recommend having one of our foundation professionals grind away the cement if you’re uncomfortable doing so yourself.

Waterproofing Caulk

Waterproofing caulk is available at most home improvement stores for under $25 and can be applied quickly with a caulk gun.

Waterproofing caulk forms a relatively weak seal and may need to be reapplied over time if your concrete foundation settles further or cracks widen.

Epoxy Injections

Epoxy crack injections can be tricky to do yourself, but if you can carry out proper surface preparation, you may be able to get it done. You can expect to pay approximately $50 for an epoxy injection kit. However, if you’re inexperienced in this area, reach out to one of our seasoned professionals to save you from a possible headache.

The surface of your concrete over the foundation crack must be sealed, and the resulting groove gets filled with epoxy through injection ports. The bond that the epoxy creates is strong enough to reinforce the concrete and prevent the gap from widening, in addition to stopping water seepage.

How Do You Waterproof Your Foundation?

Once the cracks in your foundation are sealed and your present moisture problem is solved, you’ll want to turn your focus to preventing water intrusion in the future.

Basement waterproofing can be as involved of a process as you want, but the extent of your waterproofing measures will determine how effective your system is at preventing moisture issues.

I will discuss the most common foundation waterproofing methods below. However, keep in mind that you can and should use multiple methods in conjunction with one another if your property and situation require more extensive waterproofing.

Method 1: Implement Proper Exterior Drainage

Your first line of defense against water intrusion is really limiting the amount of water that ever comes in contact with your foundation. Proper drainage outside your concrete walls will stop most water from damaging your concrete and getting inside your basement.

An adequate drainage system should include gutters, downspouts, and gutter extensions. This may be enough to get good drainage on your property, but you should also consider installing a French drain or footing drain if you have a big problem with runoff after heavy rainfall or groundwater.

Lastly, grading the soil around your home away from your foundation will help limit the amount of water that comes in contact with your foundation.

Method 2: Dampproofing

Dampproofing is an exterior sealant that acts as a moisture barrier to keep water from seeping through your concrete from the surrounding soil. It can be costly to install retroactively, given the excavation that is required.

Method 3: Waterproofing Paint

Dampproofing works to protect the outside of your foundation walls from water seepage, and waterproofing paint does the same for the inside of your basement walls.

This polyurethane paint gets applied with brushes or rollers just like interior drywall paint, and it acts as a waterproof barrier to stop liquid water and water vapor from getting into your basement.

Waterproof paint is an essential part of many waterproofing systems, but it shouldn’t be a standalone solution.

Water can still wick through your concrete and build up behind the paint, eventually causing the sealant to peel and allow water through. Additionally, interior waterproofing products can tear with foundational movement or settling, rendering them ineffective.

 

Method 4: Install an Interior Drainage System

If you have persistent leaking or want the best protection from possible flooding and water damage, an interior drainage system can complement your other waterproofing methods. Interior drainage systems include floor drains, tile drains or weeping tiles, or a sump pump.

How to Save Money on Foundation Leak Repair?

Your best option for saving money when fixing foundation leaks is to treat the underlying problem.

Foundation issues tend to get worse over time because of all the pressure from your home and the surrounding soil, so fixing the actual problem instead of treating the symptoms will save you time and money in future repairs.

Correcting drainage issues by installing exterior drain systems and waterproofing methods can be costly upfront, but they’ll prevent problems from recurring down the road.

Additionally, spending the money on a professional to get the problem solved sooner rather than later can help cut down on costs significantly.

A minor leakage problem may cost several hundreds of dollars to repair, but it will worsen over time, require more expensive solutions, and may even necessitate interior repair or costly mold remediation. Getting the problem properly solved now will save you money in the long run.

Lastly, you can easily spend upwards of $10,000 to have all of the waterproofing methods we’ve described above implemented on your foundation, but treating the actual problem sufficiently without going overboard can help save thousands of dollars.

This is why we recommend getting quote from one of our professionals to determine exactly what needs to be done and limit the scope of work appropriately so you’re not wasting money on things that aren’t necessary.

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Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant
SHORT BIO: Hey, I'm Sam Smith. I'm one of our service techs here at Regional Foundation Repair. I'm here to help you learn more about your home's foundation. I've been doing this for a while, so I have a few insider tips and tricks to share!

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