The Art of Foundation Repair: My Basement Sketches

I find myself in lots of basements each month.  SEALED’s specialty is repairing cracks in poured concrete foundations, and there are plenty around.  Keeping track of what I have seen, so I can make assessments and estimates or recall a particular basement, is an ongoing challenge.  I take photos and make notes, but most importantly, I draw a sketch of each wall I look at while I am at the property.  It really helps to jog my memory and remind me of what the overall project looks like.  And on more complicated jobs, I will include a copy of the sketch in my assessment and bid to a prospective customer.  It is not uncommon for SEALED to inspect a basement that has a number of cracks, including vertical, diagonal or horizontal, but the client may only ask us to repair some of them.  The sketch reminds both the homeowner and the SEALED technician what we agreed to do, and what areas were to be left untouched.  This is especially important where one or more cracks have previously been repaired.  We certainly don’t want to be held responsible for work done by other companies!

This technique is also quite useful when we are called to revisit a home that we may have worked on some time in the past.  SEALED doesn’t revisit many homes, and it usually occurs when the homeowner has either discovered a new crack or when one we didn’t repair but identified as a non-leaking crack begins to show signs of water entering the home.

On each sketch, I make notations and insert abbreviations such as WAP for Water Access Point, CF for Carbon Fiber, and sometimes the letter “I” that indicates the location of an I-beam that needs repair on the surrounding concrete.  The Prior Repair note highlights some foreign substance that has been placed on the crack (usually with little effectiveness).  I often show the length of each section of the crack so that I can determine the total linear feet of repair and which portions will be injected with expanding polyurethane and which will get a carbon fiber strap or Rhino Crack Lock™  The portion of any crack that will require carbon fiber is shown as a darker and thicker line, as those cracks are almost always wider than the ones just receiving polyurethane injections. And where you see circled numbers, they correspond to written descriptions I include in my proposals and bids to help clients understand what work we propose and where it is on their foundation walls.

My notations help me “see” the basements I have inspected and by indicating the places where repairs are needed and the orientation of the home, I can readily re-visit any home where I have worked.  This comes in handy when, as happened just this week, a client from two years back asked me to visit and estimate a repair on a crack that he had repaired by another firm three years before my work was accomplished.  He reminded me where the prior repair was done and added:  “You did such a great job for us two years ago that there was no one else we would want to make right what was incorrectly repaired initially.”  I really love it when we make a great impression on our clients.  And this client has also referred us to others in the time since we repaired his home.

About half of the jobs that SEALED performs involve just a single crack.  But it is not uncommon for us to visit a home that may have 40, 50 or even 60 linear feet of crack.  In fact, in 2017 the largest job we did involved 80 linear feet of cracks, on just two walls of one half of a duplex!

The sketches you see here are representative of jobs that we have performed on poured concrete foundations around the Kansas City metro.  Enjoy.

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