I Quick Fixes for Wet Walls

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Ailing gutters, broken or leaking pipes, condensation, and seepage are the most common causes of basement moisture, [f allowed to persist, dampness can cause major damage to concrete basement walls. There are several effective ways to seal and protect the walls. If condensation is the source of the problem, check first that your clothes dryer is properly vented, and install a dehumidifier. If water is seeping in through small cracks or holes in the walls, repair damaged gutters and leaky pipes, and check the grade of the soil around your foundation. Once you’ve addressed the problem at its source, create a waterproof seal over openings in the basement walls. To stop occasional seepage, coat the walls with masonry sealer. For more frequent seepage, seal the openings and resurface the walls with a water-resistant masoniy coating. Heavy-duty coatings, such as surface bonding cement (opposite page), are best for very

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Although most water problems in basements are not caused by cracks in the foundation wall, a large crack should be repaired immediately, especially in a damp basement. To repair it, create a dovetail-shaped keyway with a cold chisel and maul, and then fill the crack with hydraulic repair cement (this product actually cures and hardens when it contacts water).

Tips for Inspecting & Sealing Basement Walls ►

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Paint that is peeling off basement walls usually indicates water seepage from outside that is trapped between the walls and the paint.

Tape a square of aluminum foil to a masonry wall to identify high moisture levels. Check the foil after 24 hours. Beads of water on top of the foil indicate high humidity in the room. Beads of water underneath suggest water seepage through the wall from outside.

 

To control minor seepage through porous concrete and masonry, seal walls with a cement-based masonry sealer. Clean the walls and prepare by adding acrylic fortifier to heavy-duty masonry coating. Dampen the walls and apply masonry coating to the walls (including all masonry joints) with a stiff masonry brush in a circular motion.

Resurface heavily cracked masonry walls with a water-resistant masonry coating, such as fiber — reinforced surface bonding cement with acrylic fortifier. Clean and dampen the walls according to the coating manufacturer’s instructions, and then fill large cracks and holes with the coating. Finally, plaster a %" layer of the coating on the walls using a finishing trowel. Specially formulated heavy-duty masonry coatings are available for very damp conditions.

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