Basement wall issues are unfortunately common. Foundations can damage. Plus, small leaks can gradually cause more significant cracks. If you fix an old basement wall without addressing the cause, you’re setting yourself up for a disaster. There’s always a reason for a basement wall to crack. It comes from pressure. By determining how to relieve this pressure, you reduce the likelihood of it occurring again.
The remedies to fix old basement walls will vary. Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as installing metal corner guards. Other times, you may require advanced repairs. What basement repair professionals and homeowners who’ve gone through similar trouble can agree on is to address the problem quickly.
Here is a guide on how to fix the old basement walls:
What You Can Do to Stop A Leaky Basement
There are fixes for every leaky basement. If the cause is roof runoff, repair and maintain your drainage system. If it’s from window wells, install well covers. Install a sump pump if there’s groundwater coming through. If the issue is more extensive than these remedies can manage, consider calling a professional to complete an excavation and waterproofing. Although time-consuming and expensive, the results are thorough and lasting.
Why Not to Use Drywall in a Basement
Basements are predominantly made from concrete is for many reasons, none more important than moisture. Moisture leads to mold. If your basement was drywall, moisture would build up against the covering and wood would begin to rot. Even mold-resistant drywall isn’t preferred in basements as it doesn’t provide long-lasting protection. To this point, when fixing basement walls, it is imperative to think long-term. Materials like drywall don’t have a place in basement wall repair or reinforcement. It is best to stick with what works. In this case, that’s concrete.
What Can I Fill Basement Wall Cracks With?
Even after you’ve relieved the pressure on a basement wall or stopped the reason for the cracking, you’ll still be left with a damaged basement wall. If your basement wall is made from poured concrete, you can successfully fill in the cracks with a mortar, hydraulic cement, or polyurethane. When your wall is made from concrete blocks or if you have cracks that exceed 1/2-inches in width, fill them with an epoxy mixed with sand.
Why Hydraulic Cement is Perfect
Hydraulic cement and similar concrete repair mixes make DIY basement wall repairs easy. Hydraulic cement contains additives that will cause it to expand and set at a faster pace than average cement. It is designed to be mixed with water. Once it is to the desired consistency, applying it is done either with a putty knife or gloved fingers. As it dries, it will expand and push deeper into cracks and crevices to eventually form a watertight bond. Hydraulic cement begins to sit in 3 minutes or less, so be sure to do any repairs quickly.
How to Use a Concrete Repair Mix
A lot of home improvement stores sell packaged concrete repair mixes. A bag of mortar and concrete bonding agent will also work. First, remove any loose materials from your basement walls and brush off any dust. Then, brush the bonding agent onto the old concrete and allow it to become tacky. While waiting, prepare your concrete repair mix. This should involve mixing it with water until it’s the consistency of peanut butter. Spread it on a trowel and smooth it across the surface.
Don’t Forget to Seal Your Basement Walls
Once your concrete repair mix has dried on your basement wall, plugging any minor cracks, imperfections, and damage, let it remain there for a few days. Give it time to sink in and completely dry. Once a few days have passed, seal the basement wall with a brush-on waterproofing compound or paint. This last step of waterproofing may be a key line of defence against future issues with your wall and is a necessary part of the repair.
When Your Basement Wall is Rough and Uneven
Sometimes, an old basement wall isn’t damaged in any way other than on its surface. When concrete is applied incorrectly, it can feel rough. If that’s you, you can sand it down. It will take a long time and you could end up making the wall look worse. The recommended solution is to apply a thin overlay of new concrete. We are talking very thin. No more than a 1/2-inch thick. Smooth it with a trowel, making straight lines and flattening any raised areas.
Reinforcing Your Basement Walls
A common approach to old basement walls is to reinforce them by installing vertical carbon fiber strips. Carbon fibre is very, very durable. It is five times stronger than steel. The carbon fiber is also non-toxic, non-corrosive, and non-flammable. If there’s a significant amount of basement wall damage, reinforcement is one way to tackle issues like moisture, pressure, and weathering.