Bob Vila Radio: Plugging Leaks in Concrete or Masonry

Specially designed to block running water in concrete or masonry surfaces, hydraulic cement is the one weapon you need to fight a leaky foundation.

By Bob Vila | Updated May 24, 2015 12:21 PM

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A special type of cement, similar to mortar and easy to use, hydraulic cement is handy for preventing water from seeping through your foundation and into the basement.

Hydraulic Cement


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Listen to BOB VILA ON HYDRAULIC CEMENT or read the text below:

Once mixed with water, hydraulic cement sets and hardens in a matter of a few minutes. (Hot water quickens the setting time; cold water slows it down.) It can be used, not just on horizontal surfaces like floors, but also on vertical ones like basement walls. And it doesn’t shrink, rust, or corrode. It’ll remain intact even if it’s submerged in water.

So what’s not to like? Well, a couple of things. For one, exposure to hydraulic cement can be toxic, so you need to wear protective gear. And you need to work quickly, as the mortar only remains workable for about 10 minutes once mixed. One other drawback: It doesn’t work on frozen surfaces, so be sure to make your repairs before winter sets in!

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