A Practical Guide for Choosing Filler Material for Foundation Cracks

If you have a foundation crack on your home that simply needs a patch on it (not extensive repair work) you may wonder what type of filler, sealer or repair material to use. The following guide will give you information on the four major different types of material for this job, to help you make an informed decision before beginning your repair work.

The first type of sealer is a tar-based one. You can purchase it in five gallon buckets for a minimal price. This type of material works very well but is very often frowned on in the use of foundation patch work because it is, well, the color of tar. This of course, means that it cannot be painted over and is an eyesore to say the least.

The second type is polyurethane foam. This is used for filling a crack that does not need structural repair. It is a good choice for environments that must weather many seasons because it is flexible and expands with cold and heat related expansion and contraction. Another plus is that it is very easy to use and apply. The material itself is water proof so there is no need to dry out a crack prior to applying it. It also settles into place rather quickly so you don’t have to worry about dripping or drooping. The foam itself is not exactly sightly but is considered by many to be less of an eye sore than the tar-based filler.

The third type is cement-based filler. Probably the most valid choice if you are looking for an average priced repair solution that does not take a lot of time but will be effective and blend in with the present appearance, foundation crack aside, very easily and completely. This application requires a little more work than the two aforementioned types but not so much so that it creates an undue burden on the novice repair person. The first thing you are gong to want to do, just like if you were repairing a hole in a concrete floor, is to enlarge the crack a bit. You can use a chisel or other hard metal tool that will effectively reach into the crack to do this. Try to keep the crack narrow in the front and larger towards the back to help the concrete have a valid place to rest. Make sure to remove any particles and pieces of concrete from the crack after you have enlarged it. You an do this with a vacuum blower, traditional blower or even a skinny wire brush. Mix together your cement-based filler as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Dampen the area that you are going to fill with the sealant material. Insert the concrete-based mixture into the crack and fill. Smooth any material that oozes out or extends past the hole immediately because it is going to set very quickly. You want to make sure it is all as flat as possible so that it blends in to the existing foundation well for good visual appeal. Use your trowel to make sure all is smooth.

The last type of filler is epoxy. This type of repair material is very strong and will not only fill the hole but will provide an actual repair method for minimal foundation damage. The curing time can be quite lengthy (hours) and the visual appeal may not be so nice as the cement-based filler. You should follow manufacturer instructions to use this material, as it varies for each type of application.

Before choosing the filler you will use for the repair job, make sure you know where the source of the damage is coming from. If it is just settling, shrinking or allowing water in through a minimal crack that is on the surface of the foundation , doing the repair work yourself should pose no problems at all. If, however, the crack comes from a larger underlying problem, you are going to most likely have to call in a professional to assess and repair the damage.

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