It’s one of the most frightening things any homeowner can find when looking their property over for damage. A crack in the concrete foundation shakes most proud and diligent do-it-yourselfers to the core. They envision falling resale or costly professional repairs, of backhoes digging down into the yard and maybe even property line issues with the neighbors. But a crack in the concrete foundation of your home doesn’t always mean big trouble. In fact, repairing the problem is often something the owner can tackle on their own.
Tools and Chiseling the Crack
If you decide to tackle the job yourself, there are a few things you’ll need in the way of tools. Here’s a quick checklist:
- Cold chisel. Make sure you don’t accidentally buy a wood chisel. They’re not as strong and will likely break if you try and use it on concrete.
- Stiff brush. The wire variety is preferable here.
- A paintbrush for the bonding agent.
- Ball-peen hammer.
- Pointing Trowel.
Some concrete patching compounds let you work right over the crack as is. With others you’ll need to chisel out the crack. Here, you’ll need a narrow blade cold chisel and ball-peen hammer to work away at the crack until you’ve got it about ¼ in wide and ½ in deep. Try to undercut the edges and bush out any loose material when you’re done with a wire brush.
Filling the Crack
Don’t make the mistake here of thinking just any old concrete will do. To get the job done right, you’ll need a latex-concrete patching compound. It might sound like an ominous thing to look for, but not to worry. Almost all hardware stores will know exactly what you need when you tell them the nature of the job. Some types might also require a bonding agent to ensure the repaired crack dries and sets right. Always check the manufacture’s directions as other products may require soaking the crack with water before applying the compound.
The compound should be mixed thick. Hold it up near to the crack with a hawk and fill the crack using a pointed trowel. You should always work form the top to the bottom of the crack and press a little more in than the crack will hold.
Once you’ve got the crack filled, scrape away any excess compound with the trowel. Make sure to hold the hawk under to catch the excess as it falls. Afterwards, smooth the patch with the back of the trowel starting once again at the top. Finally, you can even use a whiskbroom to texture the patch to match the existing wall. If you’re not using a bonding agent, moisten the patch when the edges begin to dry. Then cover it over with plastic and cure it according to directions.