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What to Do If Your Foundation is Crumbling

We’ve all heard the word foundation. When contractors start to build a home, this is what they start with. Foundations are normally one of three types. A full basement, a crawlspace, or a slab-on-grade. The point of a foundation is to create a steady and level load bearer for the weight of the home that will sit on top of it. Work has to be done to the area it will be placed or dug, depending on the type. If the home and foundation are old, or the foundations or surrounding area weren’t prepped properly, issues can start to occur with the concrete.

If your foundation is crumbling what do you do?

A crumbling foundation is usually due to moisture getting locked inside the concrete. Over the year, water can get trapped and then as the weather changes this water freezes and thaws while inside. In areas where the weather doesn’t reach freezing temperatures, then it is most likely due to poor drainage around the home. Water is simply sitting around the foundation or point of crumbling concrete.

Some signs other than just a crumbling foundation to look for, are also:

  • Any bulging, crumbling, or cracking in basement walls.
  • Walls that lean at the top or show signs of the walls sliding in at the bottom.
  • Leaks, water pooling, wet spots on the wall or basement floor.

As your foundation is the base that your home is built, it’s always a good decision to seek the knowledge of a professional. However, if there is little crumbling or you’re wanting to fix/patch an area before a professional can see you, here is what to do if your foundation is crumbling.

Things you’ll need:

  • Chisel
  • A Stiff Bristle Brush
  • Sponge
  • Concrete Paint
  • Concrete Patching Compound
  • Spray Bottle
  • Tarp

How to Patch a Small Crack in Your Foundation

Use a stiff bristled brush to clear away the loose pieces and any other debris or dirt on the decaying area. Once it cleared off and you can see how much is affected, you’re going to use a rotary hammer with a chiseled top (or a hammer and chisel if you do not have the power tool) and gently remove the other crumbling pieces. If rebar becomes exposed, it’s very important to remove any traces of rust off the bar before you move on. If any large pieces crumble off, you’re also going to want to keep them. You’ll puzzle these back together to give a stronger hold in large hole areas. When you have solid concrete, and clean rebar if any became exposed, you’ll use a garden hose and a brush to clean away any other loose dust, dirt, or concrete particles.

Let this dry. This will have to be set for no less than 24 hours to make sure all parts of the concrete are dry and ready for further repair. You can’t move on if the concrete is still wet, or if there was any other moisture, such as frost, on it. You have to allow the dry time because you don’t want to lock moisture inside the concrete as this is what caused the problem to begin with.

Once everything is dry, you will dampen the outside with a sponge. I know, you just waited 24 hours to make sure it was dry, and now here we are, adding more water. However, before we were making sure there was no moisture inside the concrete, and this is only going to be on the surface. Also, we are not soaking the concrete. You are only applying a little bit of water.

Go ahead and mix your patching compound. Hopefully, you’ll have kept the pieces that had broken off when you were clearing away your crumbling foundation, so go ahead and have these readily available now too.

Once the foundation area is damp, you’re going to coat the area in cement paint. Do not wait for the cement paint to dry, you want to immediately add on your patching compound. Use any large saved pieces and the compound to glue the larger areas back together. Once it’s all set, leave this to dry for about two hours, and then go back to apply another layer of the compound. This, you’ll leave in the open air for another half hour.

Once it’s dried for another half hour, you’re going to cover it in a tarp to keep excess water off the area. For another two days, gently spray the area with water, unless your compound instructions say otherwise. Once again, we are not trying to soak it. Lightly coat the area in water.

Once this compound is fully cured, you’re all fixed!

Common sources for moisture can include: Roof leaks, indoor plumbing leaks, outdoor drainage problems, damp basements and crawl spaces, steam from the bathroom or kitchen, condensation on cool surfaces, humidifiers, wet clothes drying inside the home, a clothes dryer venting indoors, and poor or improper ventilation of heating and cooking appliances. These areas should be checked on a regular basis for signs of growth.

We're Here to help!

Now. These steps are for small holes and crumbling concrete. If you have any of the other above-noted foundation issues such as the leaning walls or pooling water, you will have to call a professional. Your basement or foundation and surrounding area will have to be drained of water and waterproofed to keep everything safe. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us at (574) 584-3640. Yoder Home Services is located in Goshen, Indiana and mainly services Elkhart County and the surrounding areas. We offer several different home repair services, such as waterproofing, foundation repair, and mold damage remediation. You can also schedule an appointment where we’d be happy to answer any and all questions.

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