Foundation Structural Crack Repair With Carbon Fiber Reinforcement Gives Contractors Added Benefits

Kelly C. Gamble

The use of carbon fiber staples is an effective approach to permanently fix poured-wall basement cracks, when used in conjunction with an epoxy injection polymer. It is safe to give an unconditional lifetime warranty covering that the staple-reinforced, epoxy-repaired crack will not reopen and again leak (nor form a new crack immediately adjacent to it which would probably leak).

It is common to use either epoxy resins or polyurethane foams as the polymers injected into the basement crack with the intent to permanently prevent further water leakage and allergen/mold and mildew problems. Both products are effective in preventing subsequent leakage and a warranty generally goes with the repair (up to a lifetime warranty). Typically, epoxies are exclusively used where the crack is known to be structural in nature (continuing foundation movement/settling); either epoxies or polyurethane foam is effective if the crack is not structural in nature.

It can be difficult, at times, to accurately conclude whether the leaking crack is structural related. To assure that the repair is permanently sealed, it is advisable to use carbon fiber staples along with epoxy resins in the repair process in the event that the crack is based on some structural consideration. In addition, a very fast thickening epoxy is used to assure that epoxy does not leak out the back of the crack when a void exists behind the crack. This covers such a possibility. Keep in mind that once a basement is finished, it can become very difficult to determine that a crack has again formed and is again leaking. The leaking, if not discovered, will be a source of mold, mildew, rot and decay, and odor development behind the finished wall and/or insulation.

The epoxy glues the concrete back together and keeps the repaired area from moving inwardly. It cannot, however, keep the concrete from moving outwardly, potentially at greater force than the concrete can handle, causing a new crack to form. On the other hand, the carbon fiber staples add tensile strength exceeding any such force that can develop. As a consequence, the formerly cracked area has strength exceeding that of forces that would otherwise cause the repaired area from opening outwardly.

A warranty on one’s work may be sufficient comfort to a homeowner who is not planning to finish his basement, but it is essential for a homeowner who plans on undertaking the expense of finishing the basement. The crack repair could be subsequently covered by some form of wall board or wall paneling, and it might not be easy to again repair a crack that failed or to prevent damage (whether guaranteed or not), or to even know that the crack has reopened. A carbon fiber staple/epoxy injection resin repair should be a viable combination with a lifetime warranty that comes with the teeth of not just guaranteeing that the applicator stands behind his work but that no subsequent work is likely to be required.

Using such an epoxy resin in conjunction with the carbon fiber assures both the applicator and the homeowner that there will be no re-cracking and subsequent leaking of the repaired crack. It may be the last chance that the homeowner who is finishing the basement can know for sure that he has a permanently dry basement with the safety associated with a properly sealed basement.

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