Your Guide to Fixing Foundation Cracks from the Outside

If you’ve noticed foundation cracks on your property, addressing them promptly can prevent further damage and maintain your home’s structural integrity. Foundation cracks, whether hairline or larger, can lead to significant issues if left unchecked.

Fixing foundation cracks from the outside, a method known as exterior foundation repair is often a robust solution. 

This guide will walk you through the basics of identifying different types of foundation cracks—such as horizontal cracks, vertical cracks, and stair-step cracks—and the best practices for repairing them.

Utilizing materials like hydraulic cement, epoxy injections, and waterproofing tar, you can reinforce the foundation walls and prevent water infiltration. 

With the help of a professional foundation repair contractor, you can ensure that every step is handled efficiently. Whether you’re dealing with minor or structural foundation cracks, taking early preventive measures can save costly repairs and maintain your home’s foundation for many years.

Your Guide To Exterior Foundation Crack Repair

Fixing Foundation Cracks from the Outside

Identifying and addressing foundation cracks from the outside is crucial to preserving your home’s structural integrity. 

Various types of foundation cracks, such as horizontal cracks, vertical cracks, and stair-step foundation cracks, indicate different underlying issues, each requiring a distinct approach for repair.

Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal cracks in the foundation walls often result from lateral pressure caused by soil swells or water infiltration. Professionals typically use methods like epoxy injections and waterproofing tar to seal these hairline cracks and reinforce the wall.

Proper drainage systems may also be installed to alleviate pressure and prevent further damage.

Vertical Cracks

Vertical foundation cracks are usually less severe and can occur due to foundation settling or shrinkage. Repairing these involves filling the cracks with hydraulic cement or using a caulk gun for smaller hairline cracks. This helps to block out moisture and forestall any progression toward significant issues.

Stair-Step Cracks

Often appearing in homes with crawl spaces or those built on expansive soils, stair-step cracks may signal differential settlement. The repair might involve more comprehensive interventions like concrete leveling and crawl space encapsulation to stabilize the foundation and prevent further foundation cracks.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Fix an Outside Foundation Crack

It’s important to address foundation cracks promptly to avoid any further damage that can impact the overall structural integrity of the building. This method is effective for both structural and non-structural cracks, including minor and larger cracks.

Repair a Foundation Crack With an Epoxy Sealer

Using an epoxy sealer is a common and robust method provided by professional foundation repair contractors to address foundation cracks from the outside. This approach is ideal for cracks that are dry and clean, as epoxy is effective at restoring strength to cracked areas.

The first step is to ensure that the crack surface is free from loose material, which can be removed with a wire brush or a putty knife. This preparation helps the epoxy adhere properly to the concrete.

Block Out the Injection Ports

Before mixing the epoxy, set up the injection ports along the foundation crack. These ports facilitate the epoxy injection deep into the crack, ensuring that the entire depth of the crack is filled.

Space the ports roughly eight to twelve inches apart along the entire crack. Affix each port securely to the foundation walls using an epoxy paste. Make sure the ports are tightly sealed to prevent the epoxy from leaking out during injection.

Mixing the Epoxy Sealer

Epoxy sealers typically come in two parts that must be mixed thoroughly before use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct ratio and mixing technique.

Mixing the epoxy properly is crucial to achieving a consistent texture and optimal penetration into the foundation crack. Once mixed, the epoxy should be used within a specific time frame, referred to as the “pot life,” to ensure effectiveness.

Attaching the Injection Port

Once the injection ports are set and the epoxy is mixed, start attaching the mixing nozzle to the first port at the lowest point of the crack. Begin injecting the epoxy slowly, and monitor the area to ensure that the epoxy is filling the crack effectively.

As the epoxy starts to ooze out of the next port, plug the first port, and move to the next one. This process ensures that the entire crack is filled with epoxy from bottom to top.

Applying Epoxy Sealer Along the Crack

After setting up your injection ports, the next step is to apply a layer of epoxy sealer along the entire length of the foundation crack. This sealer covers the exposed areas of the crack, securing the edges around each injection port.

Use a putty knife to smooth out the epoxy sealer, ensuring it bonds well with the foundation wall. This sealing layer must be allowed to cure according to the manufacturer’s specified time, typically several hours, to form a strong, impermeable bond that supports the deeper injection process.

Injecting the Epoxy into the Crack

Once the sealing layer has cured, begin injecting the epoxy. Attach a mixing nozzle to your epoxy injection gun and insert it into the first injection port at one end of the crack. Start injecting the epoxy slowly, ensuring it fills the entire depth and breadth of the crack.

As the epoxy flows through the crack and reaches the next port, you will see it start to emerge, indicating that the section of the crack is filled. At this point, plug the first port and move to the next, repeating the process until every section of the crack is filled.

This step is crucial as it ensures the structural cracks within the foundation wall are thoroughly addressed, restoring the foundation’s integrity.

Sealing and Removing Injection Ports

After the epoxy has been injected and the crack is filled, leave the setup to cure as recommended by the epoxy manufacturer—typically for several hours or overnight.

Once the epoxy has fully hardened, remove the injection ports from the wall. You may need to sand down any protruding material using a wire brush to ensure the surface of your foundation wall is smooth and even.

Finally, apply a layer of waterproofing tar or paint over the repaired crack and surrounding area to provide an additional layer of protection against moisture and water infiltration.

Fixing Foundation Cracks By Yourself

Addressing foundation cracks by yourself can be a feasible option if you are dealing with minor or non-structural cracks. Understanding how to repair non-structural cracks—such as hairline or shrinkage cracks—can save money and prevent the progression to more significant issues.

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the crack using a wire brush to remove any loose material, ensuring that the surface is free from debris and dust. This step is crucial for the repair material to adhere properly to the concrete.

Once cleaned, a straightforward method is using a caulk gun filled with hydraulic cement or a suitable concrete crack sealant. These materials are specifically designed to cope with the moisture and slight movement that can cause foundation cracks, providing a durable seal.

Next, carefully apply the sealant along the entire crack, ensuring it penetrates deeply and fills the gap. Use a putty knife to smooth over the surface, which will help integrate the sealant into the surrounding wall. Allow it to cure as directed, typically for 24 hours.

Your Guide to Fixing Foundation Cracks from the Outside

Getting a Qualified Professional to Fix the Damage

When facing significant foundation issues, such as structural cracks or differential settlement, hiring a qualified professional foundation repair contractor is essential. These specialists bring expertise and the right tools to ensure that repairs on your home’s foundation are done safely and effectively.

Start by researching local contractors with a solid reputation for fixing foundation cracks. Look for professionals who are licensed and insured, providing an extra layer of security and confidence in their work.

A reliable contractor should have extensive experience with various types of foundation cracks, from horizontal cracks to vertical cracks and even complex stair-step cracks.

It’s advisable to get multiple quotes and read reviews to compare the expertise and pricing of different contractors.

A reputable contractor will offer a detailed assessment of your foundation problems, explaining the necessary repairs such as epoxy injections, hydraulic cement applications, or even comprehensive solutions like crawl space encapsulation.

Ensure that the chosen contractor can explain how they will address your specific issues, like repairing cracks in basement walls or improving proper drainage around your foundation to prevent future problems.

Their ability to offer a real seal of quality for their work shows their commitment to maintaining your home’s structural integrity and preventing further damage.

Conclusion

Fixing foundation cracks from the outside is an essential step in maintaining your home’s structural integrity and value, particularly in areas with diverse weather conditions like Texas.

Understanding property tax laws in Texas and the living costs in Texas can influence your decision when hiring a professional contractor for such important repairs.

If you’re looking to sell your house in Arlington or find a buyer in the dynamic market, Four 19 Properties can offer resources. Additionally, we buy houses in Houston, Texas.

We often emphasize the importance of a well-maintained foundation when assessing a property’s value. As such, addressing foundation issues promptly ensures your home remains a valuable asset in Texas’s competitive real estate market.

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