Best Time for Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repair
Now that Spring is almost here with rain and thawing snow, many homeowners in Richmond and other parts of Virginia are thinking about whether their basements will remain dry. They may ask the following questions: When is the best time to waterproof a basement? Does it make a difference what the weather is? This article will answer some of those questions about the best time to do waterproofing and foundation repair.
Does weather affect the best time to do waterproofing?
Weather is an important consideration when it comes to basement waterproofing and foundation repairs. Some activities, like repairing basement cracks, can be done at any time of the year but are best done when it’s not raining. Others, like excavating foundation walls, should not be done during cold winter months.
How does rain affect waterproofing activities?
It depends on what materials you are using whether or not you can repair a crack that is actively leaking. If you plan to inject high-pressure polyurethane into a crack, it doesn’t make a difference because the polyurethane is waterproof and dries quickly. On the other hand, if you plan to use epoxy in the crack, it may leak through the crack and allow water to reenter.
It is never a good idea to excavate a foundation while the soil is wet or it is raining for the following reasons:
- It is extremely messy!
- Working with wet clay is like working with quicksand and is very inefficient. For the same reason, it represents a higher risk for workers.
- Working with wet sandy soil makes it more likely to cause later cave-ins.
- Both water and solvent-based foundation coatings simply don’t adhere to wet foundation walls.
How does cold weather affect waterproofing activities?
If you are working indoors, cold weather has little effect on crack repair. It all depends on the type of material you are using.
- Polyurethane – Winter is the best time to do polyurethane injection work, especially in parking garages and structures that get extremely cold. Concrete shrinks during the winter, therefore opening gaps to their maximum width, so the polyurethane will be flexible enough to fill the gap year-round. Fluid polyurethane resin is thicker when cold and takes longer to cure during winter weather.
- Epoxy – Epoxy crack injection is also feasible during winter months. Cold weather thickens the epoxy resin also. At 77 resin also. At 77°, the epoxy resin cures in 3-5 hours; during the winter months, it takes longer.
Foundation Excavation and Waterproofing
Winter is not the best time to perform foundation excavation and exterior waterproofing for the following reasons:
- While it is possible to coat a foundation with a solvent-based product, water-based coatings should never be used in cold weather.
- Because solvent-based coatings may require 48 hours to cure, it would cause your foundation to be exposed to freezing temperatures and frost for several days which may result in foundation heaving and damage.
- Solvent-based foundation coatings have a terrible odor, and with your windows closed, the smell will penetrate your home for at least a week.
- Freeze and thaw cycles increase the likelihood of soil cave-ins which are very dangerous and would require more time to pile and replace the soil into the foundation.