So you’ve discovered a leak in your basement and the water trail leads you straight to your foundation. As you stand there in disbelief you think to yourself “what am I going to do…how much does it cost to waterproof a basement…who do I call… You’ve heard other’s talk about foundation problems but you’ve never been faced with anything like this. Like many of the clients we’ve helped over the years you’re probably thinking the exact same thing they did when they discovered their leaky basement “this is probably going to cost me at least 10,000 dollars”
So is that what it’s really going to cost you to repair your leaky foundation? The answer isn’t that simple and is usually determined by the type of foundation your home has. The three most common types of foundations are:
- Poured Concrete Foundation
- Cinder Block Foundation
- Stone or rubble foundation
Each one has its own set of problems and ways for water to enter through them which means repair methods and costs will vary…and in some cases quite drastically. Saying that we will explain which foundation repair will cost the least and move forward from there.
Poured Concrete Foundations
Poured concrete foundations are the easiest to diagnose and in most cases can be the least expensive to repair. The biggest issue we find with this type of foundation is cracking. How much does it cost to waterproof a basement in this case? The cost to perform a typical crack repair ranges from $500 to $2000 depending on whether it is repaired from the inside or the outside. Rod holes and snap ties are another entry point for water and the repair costs fit within the same numbers if there aren’t that many causing you grief. In the event you find multiple rod holes or snap ties leaking on more than one wall it would likely be best to get an estimate to properly waterproof the foundation from the exterior side.
Cinder Block Foundations
Cinder block foundations, on the other hand, are a little more involved when it comes to diagnosing and repairing. Due to its construction, there are many ways in which these foundations can leak. Many of the cinder block foundations we inspect have various types of cracking that all lead to water entering into the hollow cores of the block. When this happens the bottom row of blocks fills up with water which eventually pushes its way through the mortar joints and onto your basement floor. There are really only two ways to properly repair this foundation type, the most effective way is to waterproof the foundation from the outside ensuring water does not migrate through. The other is to install an interior drainage system connected to a sump pump system. Both of these repairs are priced by the linear foot with extras added in for obstructions that need to be removed to order to access the foundation. Prices range from 70 to 200 dollars per linear foot to supply and install these types of systems.
Stone or Rubble Foundations
Stone or rubble foundations are the most difficult and usually the most expensive foundation to deal with when it comes to repair. These types of foundations are constructed with stones or rocks that are bound together with mortar. In most cases, it’s the mortar that deteriorates between the stones or rocks that eventually leads to leaking or crumbling. We find the worst deterioration in sections of the foundation that is directly in front of downspouts or in a negative grading situation where water pools. These homes were built in an era when drainage systems (weeping tile) were not installed around the perimeter of the foundation which is another problem that leads to mortar deterioration.
Taking into consideration these foundations are typically over 100 years old, are held together with mortar that has deteriorated and does not have a way to drain water away from its base you can imagine what we find when we start digging them up. The worst case scenario is the mortar has turned into sand and there is nothing holding the stones or rocks together but the soil that surrounds it. When this is the case we are faced with no other alternative but to rebuild the foundation in the area that is affected. In some cases it’s a small section and costs can be kept fairly reasonable but in other cases, it can turn into a whole wall or more.
So how much does it cost to waterproof a basement in cases like this? Providing a cost to repair these types of foundations is difficult to put a number on without inspecting it thoroughly. In our experience, we’ve been involved in small section rebuilds that have ranged from 4 to 5 thousand dollars to total rebuilds that were up in the 50 – 60 thousand area.
The best thing you can do with a stone type foundation is to repair the mortar joints, seal it below grade and install a new weeping tile system before it becomes a major problem. A little preventative maintenance will save you thousands of dollars down the road.
If you would like more information or to get a free quote on how much does it cost to waterproof a basement, contact us today. We are more than happy to help.