As most homeowners with poured-in-place concrete foundations can attest: Cracks in basement walls are a fact of life. These cracks—due to drying shrinkage, thermal movement, and other causes—usually are minor and result in few problems. But over time, even minor cracks can grow larger and cause big headaches, such as loss of structural integrity or, more commonly, water leakage.
The good news is that in most cases homeowners can now have these cracks fixed permanently—without the need for costly, disruptive excavation—using low-pressure injection of epoxy or polyurethane foam repair materials.
“Most basements eventually leak. Even if a crack is not leaking now, eventually water will find it,” says Lou Cole, president of Emecole Inc., Romeoville, Ill., a manufacturer of epoxies and polyurethane foams for all types of foundation crack repair. Cole says that in the Midwest, crack injection has been an accepted way of tackling these repairs for many years, and more and more foundation repair contractors around the country are adopting the technique because it is cost-effective, reliable, and permanent.
Emecole’s customers—primarily residential waterproofing contractors—have less than a 1% callback rate for crack repair work. “More than 99% of the time, crack injection will fix the problem,” says Cole. Most contractors in the Chicago area (as well as other parts of the country) warranty the injection repair for the life of the structure, he adds.
Cole launched his company in 1987, after coming up with the concept of dual-cartridge dispensing of two-component materials using a spring-assisted dispensing tool similar to a caulking gun. The application that seemed to show the most promise for his dual-cartridge system was low-pressure injection of cracks in concrete. That gave him the impetus to develop a line of epoxies and polyurethane foams specifically formulated for those types of repairs.
“The whole purpose is to fill the crack, from front to back, with epoxy or polyurethane. For basement walls, low-pressure injection is the best way to ensure that the crack is completely filled,” Cole maintains. This method is effective for filling cracks 0.002 to 1 inch wide in walls up to 12 inches thick. It can also be used to fill cracks in concrete floors and ceilings
For more information, go to www.emecole.com