Cost-effectiveness in basement waterproofing and crack repair

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Posted by: from Windsor
8/3/2012 at 10:42:43 PM

Could someone advise me on which method of basement repair is the most cost-effective?

Previously I have posted a question on the direction of basement repair. Thanks all knowledgeable contractor. All strongly suggest that I should fix the crack and prevent water from coming in before attempting anything further. Which led me to contact a number of contractors specialized in basement repair and waterproofing. In one week, I got five contractors giving suggestions and estimations. Bless them all for their professionism.

Now the problem is that each contractor describes his technique quite differently and gives a wide range of cost.

One stated that they will use a patented I-beam to support the crack wall to prevent the crack to develop further, along with a patent drain and sum system. This would cost ~$7-8K CAD.

Then the second contractor will use carbon-carbide straps every 3 feet on the cracked wall and recommend the full wall water proofing with drains along four walls with sum system. This would cost $14K before tax.

The third will do concrete filling and will drill holes at bottom concrete blocks and some kind of drain tiles. Also, it needs waterproofing all walls about 2 feet high. This costs ~$4k before tax.

The fourth contractor said $700, drilling hole on top of concrete blocks from the outside to fill the wall with concrete and no messy jack-hammering basement floor as the former three would do.

Then the fifth gentleman said that he will dig the ground outside along the crack wall to repair the old tiles and then fill some concrete to strengthen the wall which will cost $5K with tax.

It is quite overwhelming!! Price ranges from $700 to $14,000. There must be an explanation!! Could someone help me? I do want to have a house with a warm, dry and clean basement, but not a basement that last longer than the house.

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Date/Time8/4/2012 at 9:55:21 AM

Good Morning,

The fifth contractor is closest to the truth, all others do't know what they are talking about.

Wall crack need to be repaired before starting to renovate. Cracks on the house walls appear very often and is settlement of the ground, I would like to know when the house is build, that will tell me haw the house is build. Newer construction use wiping tiles, witch means any water absorbed sips trough the ground in to the wiping tiles (drain) and in to storm drain system. Today's construction is using plastic watertight material, with dos't allow rain to go on to the foundation.

Solving Your problem it would be opening from outside all the way down to the footing, applying special filer on the crack, then seal the are with water proof coating and no concrete buildup, concrete absorbs moisture and is not a sealant.

I hope this helps some what.



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Mehdi from Zamco Inc. in Whistler
Date/Time8/4/2012 at 3:26:17 PM

Hello Sarah,

You have a valid question about the range in the cost of what the contractors have quoted for repairing the concrete wall in your house.

The reason for this wide gap in price is the differance in the type of work each contractor has suggested. In my view you should focous on the best solution offered, even if it is more expensive than others. Sometimes the best solutions are not the most expensive ones. If you do the repairs based on price, you may not choose the right solution. Therefore, further damage will cost you more to fix a more complex problem.

Without seeing the work, it is hard to say what the best solution is, but in general the cracks in a concrete wall are caused by ground setelments, and small cracks do not rase structural issues. The moisture penetration is caused by presence of water pressing against the wall. So, if there are ways that you can drive surface and ground waters away from the building, there will be no need for waterproofing or filling the cracks.

Furthermore, you should know that filling the cracks (no matter the materals used) have no impact on the structural value of concrete. As for waterproofing, only proper installation of a membrane on the outside will stop water from entering the basement walls.

I whish you the best in your project,


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Sarah in Windsor
Date/Time8/4/2012 at 8:52:40 PM

Hi Steve,

The house is 56 years old. There is a square pit in the basement where the water level is varied each day. When the water is low, I can see two exits on two sides of the pit. A friend of mine said his house has the same built with pit where the ground water exits to the storm/city drain.

One contractor suggested to put a sump pump into the pit and drive the water out. If you could tell by the history of construction tech and time, I would appreciate to learn more before making a decision.



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Gaby from Amg Renovation in Hearst
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 8:45:21 AM


I did a few of those in northern Ontario where its normal with temperature changing, the only cost effective way is to dig the outside wall and follow the crack all the way, fill this with concrete and when dry add a resisto membrane (FOR FOUNDATION) on top of it, over lap like 10 in on each side to make sure. After what I do is add tar around the membrane again over lap like 10 in, and add a sheet of thin 2 inch bigger than your tar surface and cover everything even over the resisto membrane and use cement screws 2 in 1/2 just to put pressure on the sheet.

Really after you can paint it the same colour as your foundation and nobody will ever know its there and you will have a dry basement again, but make sure to fill, cover all the crack and your good to go.

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