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Injection Crack Repair and Carbon Fiber Stitching of Poured Wall Foundations

The structural repair of a crack in poured wall founda-tion structures (such as bridges, columns, and roads) by epoxy injection has been a successful common practice in concrete repair for over 40 years. His-torically, in primarily the Mid-west, this practice was extended to include injection repair of poured wall basement founda-tions (whether they were struc-tural in nature or just to repair a water-leaking crack).

In other parts of the country, where concrete block was the more common material used in basement foundations, leaking cracks could only be dealt with by incorporating some form of an internal drain tile system or some base-board approach. These continue to be the best method for concrete block leaking repair.

Most parts of the coun-try today are having an increas-ing percentage of homes built on poured wall foundations. In many of these areas, the local waterproofing contractors still recommend basement wall repair using the same drain tile methods they learned for con-crete block repair. This exists in spite of the fact that most of these poured wall foundation cracks can be effectively repaired by the time-proven, more economical crack injection method.

Previous objections to crack injection in the repair of poured wall foundations typically involved using methods more suited to the repair of heavily leaking large cracks. These methods were originally devel-oped for the repair of leaking dams and other large structures. They required the use of high pressure dispensing equipment. Today, a contractor can walk into a basement with a bucket holding the dual cartridge dis-pensing tool (see adjacent picture) a few dual-cartridges of material, surface ports, a trowel, and a wire brush and be pre-pared to do low pressure repair of a poured wall basement crack. The present process is user-friendly and very cost effective relative to other existing approaches.

Another objection to injection crack repair was the possibility that on-going move-ment could either re-open the initial repaired crack (especially if the cracked area had been acting as a control joint) or re-crack immediately adjacent to the original repair. This is a valid concern, and is something that occasionally happens, but can be successfully addressed. Carbon fiber can be applied across the repaired crack to reinforce a wall section to prevent the affect of such potential movement. This process is commonly referred to as carbon fiber stitching and is done at the same time as the injection repair. It replaces the technique of using steel-rebar for stitching and is simpler and more effective. This approach only fails when the instability actually requires more substantive approaches, such as carbon fiber strapping and/or piering.

Lastly, the question has arisen as to whether a contrac-tor can profitably market this approach. This is not a ques-tion that arises in the Midwest (i.e. the Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis areas) where injection crack repair of poured walls is the standard approach. A contractor can schedule and do 3-5 repairs in a day within a geographical area that mini-mizes travel time. Some major contractors justify using a sales force to solicit these repairs. These contractors are generating profitable repairs, which often exceed the profit they make on drainage tile repairs, and have less concern of mold and mildew forming on the wall.

Smaller contractors ef-fectively market crack injection repair often just over the phone. This requires the asking of effective questions to evaluate the problem and has been found to work. The same should be true in areas where crack injec-tion has to be sold to a public not fully acquainted with the concept.

There are two major reasons why doing injection crack repair of poured wall foundation is worth doing: one it works, and two that it is an effective repair at a cost that many consumers will accept as the price for the expanded use of their basement. It increases the size of the potential market since many consumers are willing to spend hundreds of dollars but not thousands for the increased usage of their base-ments. The present techniques make possible for a contractor to perform multiple repairs/day at a cost and nominal invest-ment which allows for a profit-able bottom line.

For more information, go to www.emecole.com


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