Cracks are often par for the course when it comes to basement walls. Your home’s foundation is comprised of rigid materials that can crack when they expand and contract with temperature changes, or experience pressure from a settling foundation.
Other cracks form as a natural consequence of the concrete curing process. Most cracks in basement walls don’t threaten a home’s structural integrity, but it’s a good idea to repair them. Even small cracks can allow water, radon gases and other unwanted substances to enter.
Patching Small Cracks
Small cracks in a basement wall are usually relatively simple to patch. While you can make the repair using an ordinary cement mix, a vinyl concrete patch offers an elastic bond that is stronger and longer-lasting than regular concrete. Vinyl concrete patch kits consist of a dry powder that must be rehydrated with water, or, for a more durable bond, a special latex liquid. As the name suggests, vinyl patches also contain vinyl which helps the patch effectively seal cracks using less material. To patch a small crack using a vinyl concrete patch, follow these steps:
- Start by cleaning the crack and the area surrounding it to ensure the vinyl patch adheres properly.
- Remove loose pieces of concrete, remnants of old fillers and paint from the crack and the area surrounding it. A wire brush will help you get the job done.
- Then, use a shop vacuum or soft bristle brush to clean up dust and smaller debris.
- Working in small batches, mix the patch ingredients according to package instructions.
- Apply the material to the crack in a smooth layer with a putty knife, feathering it out away from the crack, and allow the patch to cure.
How to Repair Larger Cracks
Repairing larger cracks is a considerably more complex process. There are a variety of DIY basement wall crack fillers on the market, including polyurethane foam and hydraulic cement products. If you’re looking for a long-lasting solution, an epoxy-injection kit is your best bet. Here are a few tips to get started on repairing larger cracks:
- Start by cleaning away dirt and debris in and around the crack.
- Follow the kit instructions to apply the injection ports and sealing compound along the length of the crack.
- Starting with the bottom port, inject the crack with the epoxy and continue moving upward, plugging each port as you go.
- Once the epoxy cures, saw the neck off of each port.
Making Permanent Repairs
For more permanent, guaranteed crack repair, it’s best to hire a professional. There are other circumstances that call for professional help, too. For example, while minor cracks in basement walls are normal, others may compromise your home’s structural integrity. If you notice large, deep or numerous cracks, or if the cracks run horizontally along the wall, hire a structural engineer to determine whether your home’s foundation is at risk of serious damage.
Improve Your Basement with a Remodel
Repairing cracks can improve the appearance of walls, but there’s more you can do to make the most out of your basement.
Finish your basement to see its full potential, explore the endless possibilities this new space will bring, and remodel to improve your lifestyle. In need of professional guidance? We have plenty of ideas and tips to share.
To finish or remodel your basement, contact Reliable Home Improvement. Our professional design and construction team will bring your ideas to life.