Foundations. Big word. It’s the most important thing we build on in anything in life. And aren’t there so many different foundation types in whatever category we’re talking about. We’re going to talk about homes now.
Different Types of Foundations
You could have your poured concrete, the actual term’s cast in place, your block, the actual word’s CMU. There are different types of block. Actually we just did a house the other day that was built out of the old blocks that are used for a gymnasium. They have the really nice kilned finish on it, so it was interesting because you don’t see that often. On The Hill, near the state streets, you’re going to find brick foundations there or concrete up four or five feet and brick above. You’ll see that in the nicer parts of Webster.
You’ve got stone foundations, which are very prevalent and that’s a limestone foundation. Each one of these foundations have very good merit, but each one of them needs to be dealt with independently and separately. So the one-size-fits-all repair doesn’t work for these. Many times you have to decide, am I going to be on the negative side, (which is the inside of the house), trying to work on this waterproofing; or am I gonna be on the positive side, (which is the outside). Most people don’t even want to talk about that because it’s not comfortable. Well, it is what it is.
Stone foundations have a type O cement around them. If you coat the inside of your basement with a material that doesn’t breathe, the moisture’s locked inside the stone and it kills the mortar off. If it breathes, the limestone will then heal itself and the stones will become tight again. You don’t want an escape from Alcatraz moment where you can get in and carve your way right in between the stones. And if you have a stone foundation and you’re wondering, go downstairs. Guarantee you’re going to see some orange bubbling and you’ll be able to carve your way right through. It’s not the end of the world. It can certainly be fixed. But if you have a bad area, the corners where the downspouts are.
Let’s get off stone now, let’s go to block CMU. There are two hollow chambers in each one of those blocks. Water gets inside of them, water weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon, 500 gallons is well over a thousand pounds. That’s going to start walking that wall in. You’ll see the belly in, so you’ll start to see a horizontal crack. Very important to take the water out of that wall or defer it away from the wall. And we’re going to talk about the outside in a minute. Cast in place, poured foundation, probably one of the easiest to fix. You need to be able to be sure that if material gets inside the wall, it’s repaired properly. How many times have I been to a house and they’re like “Well, I fixed it myself about six years ago and it’s done very well, now it’s leaking again.”
And now there’s organic material in that wall. I can’t occupy the same space in that 8 inch wall or 10 inch wall if there’s mud in it, if there’s sand in it, if there’s silt in it, if there’s sewage in it. Once that happens, they have to be flushed out. So if somebody doesn’t give you the price on the phone when you ask about a wall crack that’s a smart person. Now we can do these things with photographs sometimes but…
Different Foundations, Different Requirements
There’s dealing with a poured foundation, dealing with the brick foundation, dealing with a block foundation, dealing with a stone foundation, they all have their challenges and they can all be dealt with. Call us at Waterproof Solutions. We’d be happy to answer your questions.
So what’s important is, make sure that you protect your foundation from the outside. Your downspouts, the roof pitch, concrete that settles next to your home, don’t let it. If you’ve got a gray spot on the ground where there’s mold, leaves, where it dries up, you know the water sits there don’t let it sit there. Because if you don’t manage your yard, it will manage you. And that’s about it on foundations for the start.