Wet basements are pretty common in most areas of the country with average rain and snowfall because, regardless of how well a foundation is built, years of lateral and/or hydrostatic pressure from water in the ground will eventually cause that water to find its way in.
There are lots of these “ways in,” sources of basement seepage like cracks in walls or floors, cove joints, cracks or deterioration in the mortar joints of masonry walls and more.
Some of these leaks are serious enough that the repair is considered a major undertaking and requires a fair amount of time, usually multiple days, to complete. There are also, surprising to many homeowners, effective methods of permanent basement waterproofing that can put an end to a leaky basement very quickly, most often in a matter of hours, certainly within one day.
Let’s start off by being completely honest – there are some repairs to wet basements that are going to take time. Anything that requires outside excavation, for example, like exterior drain tile and/or waterproofing membranes, will take a few days to finish. Interior drain tile, with its minimal digging on the interior, can sometimes be done in one day but is often a two-day job.
There are several ways to repair very common sources of leaky basements, however, that can be done very quickly by a competent professional.
The most common type of residential foundation in the United States is one made of poured concrete and the most common source of a leaky basement in this type of foundation is a non-structural crack in the basement wall. These cracks can be caused by either lateral pressure from over-saturated soil outside the walls or as a result of the foundation’s settling or dropping.
Foundation wall cracks can be repaired on the interior or exterior and either method takes less than one day to complete.
Interior Crack Injection – When a leaking wall crack is accessible from the interior, such as not being behind a finish wall or blocked by a furnace or water heater, it is best repaired by injecting it from the inside with expanding polyurethane. The polyurethane fills the crack all the way to the outside soil and remains flexible when cured to prevent re-cracking caused by minor foundation movement.
Interior crack injection can be done by a skilled professional in a matter of hours.
Exterior Crack Repair – If the crack can’t be accessed from inside, an exterior repair can be made. A small-diameter hole is dug along the foundation at the site of the crack, all the way down to the footings. The hole is filled with granular sodium bentonite clay, which absorbs water from the surrounding soil to become plastic and form a permanent, impenetrable barrier on the “positive side” of the foundation wall. The remaining opening is backfilled with soil and the repair is complete in less than one day.
Sump Pump – Installing a new sump pump or replacing an underpowered or worn sump pump is a quick way to ensure that water is removed from the ground around the foundation before it has a chance to enter the basement. Also, installing a battery back-up sump pump system provides assurance that, even during the worst conditions, power outages or primary pump failure won’t mean a huge leak in the basement. When done by a basement waterproofing professional, either installation can be completed in a matter of hours.
Of course, the skill of the basement waterproofing professional has a lot to do with the repairs being completed quickly and effectively. At U.S Waterproofing, we have been drying wet basements for 57 years, with repairs big and small, all over the Chicago area as well as southeastern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. Ask for our free advice on how a leaky basement can be fixed quickly.
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