From water damage to structural instability, foundation cracks are bad news.
As a general rule, you should prevent the soil around your home from becoming completely dry during a drought or dry spell. If the soil becomes completely dry it will shrink, pulling away from the foundation of your home. When the next big rain hits, the soil will then expand dramatically, applying too much pressure on your home’s foundation walls.
Combatting dryness can be achieved with a garden hose or sprinkler system. But what do you do when your basement or slab foundation is already cracked from foundation damage?
Fortunately, there are ways of waterproofing and repairing damaged foundations and basements. One of the most efficient and cost-effective methods is polyurethane injection, where structural polyurethane foam is used to safely fill in cracks.
What Is Polyurethane Injection?
Polyurethane injection is a type of chemical grouting and the most common water-stopping method of crack repair. Polyurethane is incredibly versatile and effective for waterproofing, and it’s used in both residential and commercial settings.
Unlike some other forms of foundation waterproofing and repair, no excavation is required for polyurethane injection. This can lower the cost of waterproofing a basement down by as much as two-thirds.
The polyurethane injection is pressurized to fill the entire crack or gap, no matter how thick the foundation wall to be filled is. This keeps water and ground moisture outside of the house where it belongs.
The Properties of Polyurethane
Polyurethane is a fluid resin. Through pressurization, it can be effectively injected into rock fissures, concrete cracks, expansion joints, and other hollow places in solid underground structures.
Within minutes of being injected into a concrete crack, the polyurethane experiences a chemical transformation which changes it from a liquid to solid.
The incredible versatility, cost-effectiveness, and popularity of polyurethane resins for crack injection is fueled by polyurethane’s remarkable properties. As mentioned, it has a very short cure time, making it an ideal option for water-stopping when time is of the essence.
The resin doesn’t require special environmental circumstances to work — whether the application area is dry, wet, or even actively leaking, the resin will cure normally.
The polyurethane resin comes in thousands of formulations which make it customizable for every setting and requirement. This puts the resin’s viscosity and cure time within the contractor’s control. Depending on the formulation used, polyurethane can be an incredibly flexible substance even after it’s been set.
Polyurethane Injection for Residential Structures
Polyurethane injection is used quite commonly in residential basements. This is generally because it’s much less expensive than excavating a foundation to waterproof the exterior wall. However, when done properly, it’s just as effective as the more expensive methods.
Of course, the emphasis here is on being done properly. Even though polyurethane injection is a fairly simple process, it takes a skilled professional to apply it correctly.
Many people, often including professional waterproofers, don’t appreciate the aptitude and skill a contractor must possess to perform a successful crack injection. The process will start with a certain amount of tweaking, based on the individual characteristics of the crack to be repaired. The technician needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the conditions to be met to successfully inject a crack. This requires a considerable amount of tenacity and attention to detail. Without these critical traits, the repair might not last very long.
Fortunately, it’s completely possible to find contractors who really know what they’re doing when it comes to polyurethane injection. By hiring the right foundation services, you can rest assured that your waterproofing and concrete repair needs are being met, without breaking the bank.