Guide to Foundation Repair Tips

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How do I seal cracks and holes in my foundation?

Sealing Cracks in a Foundation

If a crack in your foundation has led to the formation of your own little Water World in your basement, you may be able to close the gap by this guide to foundation repair:

1. Excavate the area to access the crack or hole from the outside.
2. Use a pressure washer, scraper, steel brush, compressed air and/or other approaches and tools to clean the wall area in and around the leak thoroughly.
3. Use a brick or pointing trowel to pack large voids with hydraulic cement, which you can apply to a wet surface. When it dries after a few days, brush on foundation coating and backfill.

   
How do I seal my basement floor ?

Sealing a Basement Floor

Sealing a concrete basement floor is a project most do-it-yourselfers can manage. Nothing to it but to do it. Be sure, however, that you follow the specific instructions and guidelines below:

• Clean away stains and soiled areas using a stiff scrub brush and a concrete cleaner, a solution of trisodium phosphate, or a phosphate-free cleaner.
• For tough stains, such as oil, try using a stain-specific, commercial product developed specifically for removing them. Refer to the package labels for additional instructions.
• Prepare the surface; using a pitching chisel or other steel-edged scraping tool, scrape away rough and uneven spots in the concrete floor.
• Sweep up and vacuum away concrete dust and other debris in cracks and control joints that could reduce adhesion.
• Wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in cement dust. If there are any cracks, trowel patching cement into the crack, smooth it out, and let it dry and cure.
• Apply the sealer; using a paintbrush, coat the perimeter of the floor with a clear concrete sealer. Read the label instructions for more specific information. Additional procedures may be recommended, such as neutralizing the alkali in the concrete before sealing it.
• For fast, thorough, and even coverage for the rest of the room apply the sealer using a paint roller and pan or a hand-held sprayer.
• Protect the walls from the spray with drop cloths or sheets of plastic.
• Wear safety goggles and a dust mask or respirator to protect yourself.

   
How do I color-match stucco?

Color Matching Stucco

Stucco is great stuff, but it can be a pain to get the repair stucco to match the original. In fact, if the you have a lot of patches, you may have to throw in the trowel and cover it with a cement-based paint or an acrylic exterior paint. Before you paint, don't forget to let the stucco patches cure at least 30 days. Also, when it is time to paint, dampen the wall with water. Finally, be aware that to prevent blotches cement-based paint will need a primer coat. Acrylic paint won't.

   
How do I repair cracks in concrete?

Repairing Cracks in a Concrete Foundation

Let's face it, concrete is critical to modern society, if only it would stop cracking up on us. Well, not to condone it or anything, but concrete can't help cracking. It's just the way its made. You see, there are these capillaries that form during the curing process that eventually let water in. The pressure from the moisture cracks the concrete. The only thing you can do is repair the cracks. Here's a brief guide to foundation repair for concrete:

1. Clean out cracks of any size as best you can, using a wire brush or even a strong spray of water.
2. Fill small cracks (less than 1/8 inch) with caulk specially made for concrete. (Be sure cracks are dry before caulking.)
3. Fill larger cracks or small holes (less than a few inches) using patching products designed for concrete. These usually are in the form of a powder that is mixed with water. They typically expand as they dry and become very hard.
4. Apply sealant or paint to the concrete. One more thing. Patching compounds generally work better if the crack is damp or wet.

   
What is below grade waterproofing?

Waterproofing below grade

Despite what you may think, Below Grade Waterproofing has nothing to do with the quality of material or workmanship. It simply refers to waterproofing applied to that part of a building foundation that is below ground level. There is positive waterproofing and negative waterproofing which, again, are not value judgements. Positive waterproofing is applied on the side of the foundation at the source of the water and negative waterproofing is on the opposite side. Here are a few more below grade waterproofing factoids you can spring on your friends at your next engineering trivia challenge:

• Always apply a sample area to determine coverage and effectiveness.
• Dampproofing is the treatment of a surface to retard moisture absorption when there is no hydrostatic pressure.
• Waterproofing is the treatment of a surface to prevent the passage of water when there is hydrostatic pressure.
• Asphalt dampproofing will break down under UV and microbiological activity. It will become brittle, and crack with age (Don't we all?)
• Every building should have a grading and landscaping plan that provides control of all surface water on a lot. Surface water has to be able to drain away from the house and foundation walls on all sides.
• All foundations need a footing drain that runs uninterrupted around the entire perimeter of the foundation.
• Expansive soils are clays that absorb moisture and can crack or collapse all but the strongest walls and floors. This is why expansive soil is generally removed and replaced by a backfill material consisting of soil or gravel that do not expand when wet.

   
How do capillaries make concrete weak?

How Capillaries Cause Cracks in Concrete

Capillaries are subversive little agents that undermine the strength of concrete by providing air spaces for moisture invaders, making it porous. They shamelessly wick moisture from the surrounding environment and bring it to the top of the concrete slab just underneath flooring materials, enabling the water, or water vapor, when it condenses, to ravage helpless flooring adhesives.

   
What kind of foundations are there?

Types of Foundations

To most of us, a foundation is a foundation is a foundation. But to building type experts, nothing could be further from the truth. The foundation wall of a building may be a cast-in-place concrete retaining or basement wall or a structural wall complete with load-bearing pilasters. These walls may can be concrete or reinforced masonry. The foundation wall system may include an earth retention system of soldier piles and wood lagging or shotcreted rock which may require waterproofing. Water removal and control are crucial for most portions of the foundation wall. In addition, thermal loading of the upper areas of the foundation wall must be addressed.

   
How do I repair stucco?

Repairing Stucco

Holes, crumbling, and chipped corners in stucco are pretty easy to handle. But don't ignore them, or you could be stuck with a big repair bill later on. As soon as you detect a crack in stucco, make it a point to fix it as quickly as you can.Even small cracks will let water seep into the underlying structure, where it will eventually cause damage. Over time, water and the winter freeze/thaw cycles will turn minor cracks into major problems. Patch large cracks and gaps in a stucco surface with the same stucco mix that was used on the walls, if feasible. Otherwise, use a stucco patching compound. Before you start, though, be sure to check the package instructions for specific information. Fill small cracks with all-acrylic or siliconized-acrylic sealants. If you spot large cracks but don't have time to make a thorough repair, at least seal the openings with a bead of silicone caulk to keep out water. You can peel away the caulking when you start making long-term repairs.

   
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