Poured Concrete Foundations
A poured concrete wall is generally a single slab of concrete made from pouring a premixed mixture of cement, gravel, sand and water. This mixture has traditionally been poured between two forms that are held together by ties. These ties are used as spacers to keep the form constrained to a specific width.
Problems with Poured Concrete
1. Horizontal or Vertical Cracks
A crack in your poured concrete foundation can be a serious problem. A horizontal crack indicates lower tensile strength than is required to support that wall and is often a structural issue. A vertical crack can be a structural problem if it has significantly changed in size. A non-structural crack will still have slight movement due to changing soil conditions and thermal changes in the wall itself. This is why a crack injection on its own will often fail.
Our Exterior Crack Repair section will explain the benefits of an outside repair while our Crack Stitching section will extoll the benefits of our permanent inside repair. While personal preference is a factor, site conditions will play a part in determining which repair is appropriate for you. Both of these solutions for curing a wet basement qualify for our industry leading Lifetime Transferrable Warranty.
2. Bowed or Buckling Walls
If you see visible horizontal cracks in your foundation, they are the result of soil pressure exerting itself against a wall with inadequate tensile strength. It may be caused by construction vehicles driving to close to the house, frost pressure due to lack of heat or excess insulation, or both, or another undetermined problem. Once the process starts, it is best to address it immediately. The longer the crack goes untreated, the harder it will be to correct. Please continue to our Foundation Stabilization section.
Poured Concrete History
The word concrete comes from the Latin word "concretus" which means compact or condensed. Concrete in its earliest form was used in ancient Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and the Roman Empire. Scientists at MIT are studying if the concrete may have been used in the blocks used to build the pyramids. Modern concrete as we know it was introduced in 1756 by British engineer John Smeaton who added pebbles as a coarse aggregate and mixing powdered brick into the cement. Burnt lime was introduced in 1824 and was called Portland Cement. Recipes varied between individual contractors and the quality of the resulting pours varied as well.
3. Weeping Tile
Depending on the age of your house and the type of soil that surrounds it, you will likely find weeping or drain tile around you property. Over time, weeping tile will become plugged with soil or roots. As a temporary fix, it may be possible to flush out the tile, allowing it to pass water until sediment inevitably blocks it up again. Root obstructions may be able to be removed using a sewer machine but this also is a temporary fix. Trees need water and the weeping tile around your house is an excellent source. There are really two options, replace the weeping tile or abandoning it.
Replacing your existing tile is accomplished with an Exterior Excavation, which as its name implies, is done from the outside. Abandoning the tile does not mean ignoring it and letting it leak, or filling in the basement with concrete. It means installing a new weeping tile system inside your home, hence the name Internal Breakout.
4. Snap Ties or Rod Holes
When a poured foundation is being constructed, rods or ties are used to hold the forms together and provide proper spacing when the concrete is poured between them. While there are many types of rods, they all fall into two categories, permanent and removable. Removable rods leave a hole through the foundation which is often plugged with cork and hydraulic cement. Permanent ties are snapped off after the forms are removed and a remnant piece of steel is left inside the wall.
In the early days of pouring concrete they would often use a small block of wood and twisted wire. The problems with these materials are obvious, the wood would rot and the metal would rust, causing leaks. Modern permanent ties are called snap ties because a contractor will hit the tie with a hammer to snap them off. If this is done too early, the tie will become loose in the concrete and when the tar that is applied to the outside fails, the tie will leak. If there is sufficient quantity or access is limited, an Exterior Excavation may be recommended. In some cases, we can inject the tie or rod hole with epoxy or urethane. Your DryBasements.com Estimator will show the best solution for your home.
5. Window Wells
Any time a window is located below grade, a well of some sort is required. A window well is a shaped piece of corrugated galvanized steel that protect your basement from leaks.
A basic galvanized well may seem like a simple item with simple installation. If that were true, fixing window wells would not feature so prominently in our business. Improper sizing, placement, installation, and drain structure are just some of the problems we remedy on a regular basis. Visit our Window Well section for more information.
6. Sewer Backup
Whether connected to the municipal sanitary sewer alone, or to both storm and sanitary sewers, your home could be susceptible to a backup. With today's weather being so unpredictable and extreme weather events becoming regular news items, it makes sense to ensure that your home is protected. Consult our Basement Isolation Program for more information.
Residents of London and Stratford may qualify for municipal subsidies for the installation of a Backwater Valve on the sanitary drain and/or sump pit and sump pump connected to your drain tile. Your DryBasements.com Estimator can give you complete details.