Foundations Need TLC Too: How To Repair The Damage To Your Foundation

Have you looked at your foundation lately? If you haven't, you might be missing vital information about the safety of your home. While things like dirt and efflorescence – the white dusty substance that builds up on concrete – won't harm your foundation, cracks will.

If you've noticed cracks in your foundation, you need to take care the problem as soon as possible. Here are some step-by-step instructions for repairing the damage to your foundation.

Cracked Concrete

If you have significant cracks in your foundation – cracks more than ¼" thick – you should have them inspected by a professional foundation contractor. Large cracks may indicate structural damage. However, cracks that are smaller than that can usually be taken care of as a DIY project.

Supplies You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Vinyl concrete patch – available at any home improvement store
  • Small sledgehammer
  • Chisel
  • Trowel
  • Plastic container
  • Water
  • Wire brush
  • Shop vacuum

Directions

  1. Pour 2 cups of concrete patch into your container.
  2. Add enough water to form a soft paste consistency.
  3. Put your safety goggles on.
  4. Remove the rough edges of the crack with your chisel and sledgehammer.
  5. Use your wire brush to loosen the debris inside the crevices.
  6. Vacuum the area with your shop vacuum.
  7. Scoop up a small amount of concrete patch with your trowel.
  8. Fill the crack with your concrete patch.
  9. Pack the patch into the crack using the tip of your trowel.
  10. Scrape away the excess patch with the edge of the trowel.
  11. Allow the patch to dry.
  12. Repeat the process on all the cracks you find in your foundation.

Crumbling Mortar

If you have a basement, you may have cinderblock or brick walls supporting your home. The mortar around those blocks or bricks can dry out over time. Take a look at the basement walls. If you see cracks in the mortar, you'll need to repair it to prevent further damage to your home.

Supplies You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Dry mortar mix – available at all home improvement centers
  • Plastic container
  • Sledgehammer
  • Chisel
  • Wire brush
  • Cement trowel
  • Spray bottle
  • Water

Direction

  1. Pour your dry mortar mix into the plastic container.
  2. Add enough water to form a soft paste consistency.
  3. Fill your spray bottle with water.
  4. Put your goggles on.
  5. Use your chisel and sledgehammer to chip away the loose mortar between the vertical and horizontal spaces between the blocks.
  6. Brush the loose debris away with your wire brush.
  7. Spray the area with water to keep the mortar moist.
  8. Spray additional water whenever the surface begins to dry out.
  9. Scoop up a generous amount of mortar and force it into the vertical spaces between the blocks first.
  10. Scrape away the excess mortar using the edge of your trowel.
  11. Once all the vertical spaces are filled, move on to the horizontal spaces.
  12. Allow the mortar to dry.

Don't ignore the cracks in your foundation. Annual inspections will help you locate and repair minor issues before they become major problems. If your foundation has significant damage – such as large cracks or areas where the concrete is crumbling – be sure to contact a foundation repair contractor like those at RAC Construction Company.

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