Throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire & Connecticut, there are many houses that were built with fieldstone or stone foundations. These houses were built between the late 1800’s and the early 1900s. Often times, these stone foundations are in need of maintenance.
When inspecting stone foundations from the interior, the telltale sign that the foundation needs some attention is a visible white power on the basement floor near the stone foundation wall. This powder is from the mortar decaying, due to age and humidity/environmental conditions. The mortar is what has bonded the stones together. When the mortar decays around the stones, the stones get loose. When the stones get loose, the foundation is weakened and can cause structural problems in the house. Often times you will see gaps between the stones. These gaps can allow cold air (higher energy bills) and unwanted guests such as mice, rat and snakes to enter your basement.
These gaps can be the gateway to the dreaded wet or flooded basement. Similarly, the powder could also be from a smear coat of mortar that was placed over the stones. The mortar decays from age, moisture, temperature changes and the shifting of the landscape.
To preserve your stone foundation, the mortar between the stones needs to be replaced with a process called repointing. The repointing repair process entails removing crumbling mortar, cleaning the subject area, and repacking the area with new mortar. The repointing will help prevent cold air infiltration and unwanted visitors such as insects, mice, snakes, and rats. It is financially prudent to maintain your stone foundation to avoid any water problems or potential structural issues.
Quite often, homeowners with small stone foundation leaks are told by waterproofing companies that they must install a drain system/French drain and cover the stone foundation with plastic. Furthermore, many waterproofing companies try and get homeowners to cover their stone foundations with plastic. Recently, a customer in Chelmsford, MA told me he was quoted $9,500 for this repair system. The problem with the plastic is it creates a greenhouse effect and exacerbates the mortar decay in between the stones. A French drain/drain system or sump pump is meant to remove water from under floor, not to repair a foundation leak coming through a stone foundation. There are solutions that can stop a stone foundation from leaking for as low as a tenth the cost of installing a French drain or sump pump solutions. In most cases, this solution is not the best thing for the structure or the customer’s wallet. A waterproofing professional that deals with leaking stone foundation can solve this problem for 100s of hundreds of dollars and not $1000s.
When these issues are identified early, the repairs to fix these issues do not have to be costly and time consuming. Homeowners and the weekend warriors should seek the advice and expertise of a professional foundation crack repair specialist to inspect the foundation and repair as needed to avoid basement leaks and future structural damage to the home. Seek the advice and expertise of a professional stone foundation and basement waterproofing specialist. Contact A-1 Foundation Crack Repair Inc today and speak to a live basement waterproofing professional.
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