09:30AM | 07/24/01
Member Since: 07/23/01
3 lifetime posts
I live in a house built in 1928. One of the basement walls leaks slightly during rainfall. Outside of this particular wall there is a concrete walkway that tucks up against the foundation with about a .5" space between. The foundation wall is made of old stone blocks.

I cleaned out what looked to be old, cracked, concrete filler and a small layer of tar that occupied the space between the walkway and the foundation wall. In doing so I noticed a hole in the foundation wall about an 1.5" wide that opens up inside the wall and is at least 2 ft. deep (best estimate from listening to pebbles drop in the hole).

First question, what should I do about the hole? I am afraid to fill it completely up with concrete or anything because I would be afraid it would expand and cause the wall to buckle on the inside.

Second question, what can I put in the space between the walkway and the foundation to prevent water from leaking straight down into the foundation? Is tar the best bet, or should I stick with concrete? Whatever it is, it will need to seal to the concrete on one side on the foundation on the other side and rest on dirt.

Jay J

05:55AM | 07/25/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi bsill,

You might consider filling the entire in question w/sand. Yes, sand. It should be able to handle any water that manages to filter down.

Broom it down and even water it so it settles COMPLETELY. If you don't do this (in spite of running the risk of water getting in the house), the sand will settle on it's OWN (over time), thus, creating a cavity (below your sealer.)

The Sealer I'm refering to is Concrete Caulk. Once you've filled and managed to 'settle' the sand to within 1/2" of the TOP LEVEL of the walkway, start using the Concrete Caulk. Be SURE the caulk is 'rated' for use in openings .5", (give or take since your crack may be wider in places, or narrower.) If you can't find what you need at the Home Center, visit perhaps a Stone Quarry, or a Cement Facility, or a Concrete Facility, or anything along those lines. There are even cataloge products that we are 'offered' here at work from time to time. So, they're out there. Use the Yellow Pages for starters, and start looking for these business under the 'headings' I've given or something similiar.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS Since your walkway can 'move' over the years, you may have to keep up w/this from time to time. You'd do as you're doing now - Clean out the 'affected areas', and re-do. Also, consider having gutters installed (if water runs off the roof, and you'll only know this FOR SURE if you're out there, looking up, during a rainstorm.) Consider some 'edging' on the 'other side' of the walkway, i.e., the side that's NOT up against the house, to keep any runoff from running across the walkway and towards the wall. I guess you'll know how good of a job it is you did when you find 'puddles' where the walkway meets the house. OK - Now what do you do??! Good question! In WInter, it will reek havoc on that area. If it's just a little water, keep your eyes on it to see if it's evaporating or 'leaching' down again. At worst, you MAY have to rip up the walkway and do it again, this time making sure it slopes AWAY from the foundation. BE SURE you have a good 'base' too if it comes to this. (And maybe then you can fill the hole in the foundation.) OH, tar and cement don't 'bond' well, so I'd stay away from that 'material' UNLESS the Container specifically says it will 'bond' with concrete. And lastly, you say 'old stone blocks'. I'm assuming cement blocks. If you're refering to SOLID STONE, you'll probably want to talk to a Foundation Contractor about this first. They are the ones that do this. If you can't find such a contractor, ctc. your local Building Inspector for leads. Or, visit almost any Architect or Civil Engineer for leads. Believe me - These folks deal with ALL kinds of Contractors.


06:09AM | 07/25/01
Member Since: 07/23/01
3 lifetime posts
Thank you Jay J. I appreciate your prompt response. I will attempt to fill the hole with sand before I seal it off.

Also, I bought a few buckets of hydraulic cement last night that I am planning on using as the sealer. I am pretty sure it said it will bond with cement, but I will check for sure before I apply it. If you think hydraulic cement is a bad idea, let me know.

As for re-doing the walkway, we probably will next summer. We just bought the house this spring and we have a few other projects that take priority to this one. I just needed a temporary fix to stop the leaking so we can dry out, clean and seal-up our basement walls. Whoever designed the walkway did not think too much about drainage, that is for certain.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice.

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