“Are your tie-rod holes leaking?” Yes, that’s a pretty personal question. We don’t expect you to give a ready answer, so relax. Leaks to home foundations come in a wide variety. If you want to get the right waterproofing assessment and repair in the right places, it’s important to hire a qualified professional. Your home’s perimeter drainage is an integrated system and there are many potential sources of leaks to your foundation and basement. It’s important to pinpoint the ones that are causing trouble before initiating a repair.

At Excavating and Drainage, we have literally tons of experience moving dirt and repairing weeping tile and perimeter pipes responsible for directing water away from your home. But we also know that often the drainage system isn’t always the issue. The problem is often the foundation itself– frequently stemming back to the initial construction of your home.
Let’s take a closer look at construction-related leakage issues found in foundations:

1) Shrinkage cracks

These cracks are caused by the loss of volume of the concrete as water evaporated during the curing process.

2) Settlement cracks

Settlement cracks are often caused during construction of the house when backfilling is done before the foundation achieved full strength. A sinking garage, gradually pulling away from the house is one result of settlement cracks.

3) Honeycombing

Concrete honeycombing has nothing to do with bees and it’s not a sweet problem to have. There’s an art to making a concrete foundation that sounds like a bit like a recipe for a cake or an alcoholic drink. When the recipe isn’t followed correctly, honeycombing can happen. And it’s not sweet. (Also, the alcohol consumption should wait until the job’s been done.)

Honeycombing describes the rough, pitted surface or voids in concrete. This is often caused by concrete mixed with an improper cement-to-water ratio, or not vibrating it sufficiently after it was poured. Concrete foundation-building is a “shaken not stirred” formula– and if it’s not followed, somebody’s basement could get wet.

4) Leaking Tie-rod Holes

Tie-rod holes are holes that made by the rod used to hold the steel forms together when a foundation is poured. After the concrete cures, these forms are removed, leaving a hole that is usually filled a small ball of hydraulic cement. The hollow spot in the middle of the foundation is blocked only by a small amount of hydraulic cement. It’s often the weak spot in a concrete foundation. It may not be a problem at first, but over time it can break down and let water in.

5) Water leaking from the top of the basement wall foundation

This is one issue not necessarily related to the foundation itself. Leaks from the top of the basement wall fall into two main categories,”above-grade” and “below-grade.”

If a problem is below-grade, the spillover joint (where the top of the foundation meets the main floor) will be saturated with moisture every time it rains. If you have an above-grade moisture problem, the water is able to get inside at ground level.

You can do a simple test to determine which type of grade problem you have. On a dry day, lay a hose on the ground and let it run a few minutes. If you see moisture in your basement, it’s probably a below-grade leak. At Groundhog, we perform more complex tests, but the hose test is a good place to start.

It’s likely the soil grade was improperly performed or homeowners tried to build the dirt level higher than the concrete wall, causing the seepage. This seepage is made easier then substandard brick or poor or improperly caulked siding. Even something as simple as an improperly directed downspout can cause this type of leaking.

At Groundhog Excavating and Drainage, we not only find the issues causing basement leaks and stop the problem at the source. It’s also our responsibility to show you the source of the problem and the remedy before we go to work to fix the damage to the foundation and protect the foundation itself from further leaks. We’ve found the best method to repair a leaking wall crack is an injection of high-viscosity polyurethane polymer into the crack. See our Water in Your Basement: Causes and Cures blog for details.

Don’t risk wasting your money because of an unprofessional assessment and shoddy — or even unnecessary — repair. If a waterproofing contractor doesn’t clearly show you the source of your foundation or basement leak, beware! Get in touch with Michael, Jeffrey and the professional, experienced crew at Groundhog Excavating and Drainage today. Phone 778-233-7499. You can also contact us here on our website.

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