Submitted by madstar t3_yhz4ay in DIY

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we've had a ton of rain over the past week. I wanted to see how my crawlspace was doing and I found this crack with water seeping in through one corner of the foundation.

Should I be concerned about this? What would you do?

Thanks for the advice in advance!



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olympiamow t1_iugtw3y wrote

PNW Engineer here... 3 things garenteed in life: death, taxes, and cracking concrete. You don't have a scale in your pictures, so the following is assuming some things.

That crack is nothing to be concerned about. It looks hairline. Monitor it, make some marks and measure it. If it's changing to where you can stick a finger it or your subfloor becomes uneven, then you have an issue.

As for the groundwater, it looks like you are in a corner of your building. Check your gutters. You may have a downspout too close to the foundation. In the winter here in the PNW, I add gutter spout extensions 6 to 10 feet away from the foundations. Check your surface grade to make sure no ponding is occuring. In the grand scale of things, this amount of water is trivial. If it starts to pond under the building, you can attempt to seal it from the exterior. It looks like a 3 foot crawl space, some digging and $20 in sealer. But if I were you, I wouldn't worry about it now.


nathhad t1_iuhkck5 wrote

Non-PNW engineer here, just chiming in to say I agree with this fella. There's almost certainly an issue with drainage around the foundation, but this crack itself isn't an issue.


Steelyp t1_iuhw7fe wrote

Absolutely insane to me how important gutters are. As a first time home owner we had a bad hail storm and insurance replaced the roof. But because everyone was getting new roofs there was a lot of shortages/timing issues. Our roof went on but the gutters took another few days to get installed. Murphys Law appeared and a big rain happened and my god my entire house was full of water.

Turns out the previous renovations weren’t done very well and the water was running off the roof down into cracks and plaster and it just poured into our walls and ceilings. After a court case with the roofing company and further insurance claims it ended up being a $80k repair which turned into a $120k renovation. Fuck me gutters are important. Just one of them being directed the wrong way or clogged can cause some serious long term damage.


Ok-disaster2022 t1_iuiar5u wrote

If you watch a bunch of videos on building science it's pretty amazing how much science and engineering goes into keeping water out and preventing moisture and condensation from cause rot. The biggest thing I learned is large roof overhangs do tremendous work on extending the life of siding and reducing wear.


Steelyp t1_iuizy3p wrote

Any recommendations? Sounds interesting, I know I out 18 inch overhangs on my shed


milehighideas t1_iuioowr wrote

Had the same thing happen, they took 3 weeks to get gutters up but it never rains here, expect that week we got the biggest rainstorm in years. Roofing company had to do all the drywall and paint in three rooms. State Farm guy was furious at the roofing boss. Jake got real gangster on them.


LateralThinkerer t1_iuild09 wrote

Wait until you find out about expansive soils:

TL;DR some soils expand/contract with water content and can cause havoc. Get some long gutter spouts.


Ivebeenfurthereven t1_iuiy77i wrote

A big restoration project I'm working on has a 2.2 mile tunnel under a big hill. By far the most difficult civil engineering challenge is the layers of soft clay it passes through.

Canals inevitably leak a bit. This type of clay expands when wet. You can imagine the resultant chaos as the entire tunnel is slowly crushed by the earth around it.

With modern engineering, there must be a way, but hydraulic forces in the soil are not to be underestimated.


nibbles200 t1_iui7jfu wrote

I recently bought a house and it’s clear they have had water issues in the basement for years. They tried sealant products on the block foundation which clearly didn’t work. I very quickly identified the problem the first time it rained and all the gutters overflowed and I noticed the land sunk towards the house over the years with the water piling up against the house.

I went to clean the gutters and found they were filled solid with silt and I had to replace the down spouts because they were rock hard filled. I corrected the slope and redid the landscaping. No more standing water and the water runs away from the house at the surface.

Haven’t had any signs of water since. Clean your gutters and get the water away from the house people.


i__cant__even__ t1_iuime53 wrote

I’m a realtor and wet basements and crawl spaces poss me off, especially when a sump pump is installed to deal with excess water.

Here in the South and we get heavy rains (enough to cause flash flooding) and IMO the only correct way to protect your house is exactly what you described: take the top down approach and correct all conditions that allow water to pool. We have clay soil so that often means once you get the gutters sorted out you probably find you need drains of some sort but it’s a cheap fix compared to the damage water can do to a house over time.

I preach and preach this to my buyers and most do listen. I call myself the Gutter Evangelist. lol


Unicorn_puke t1_iuhqt92 wrote

To jump on this with a quote from my favourite YouTube mason - that's nothing to worry about


ThisUsernameIsTook t1_iuid3b7 wrote

Mike Holmes here: The entire house is going to have to come down. That's the shoddiest workmanship I've ever seen.


GreyStoneWpg22 t1_iui1myv wrote

This is solid advice. I had same fears about our house. Couple hairline cracks, I was nervous our house was gonna implode.

Engineer asked how long the cracks had been there. Most likely 20 he said hey if they get bigger call us back. If not, probably fine for another 20.


chickenmantesta t1_iui7zle wrote

I had a similar issue and my storm drains were clogged. The downspout would just pour water into the corner. Number one rule in home ownership: make sure the water is being directed away from the house. Clean the gutters and downspouts, direct the downspouts from the house, blow out the storm drains, replace your roof. None of these are crazy expensive and will save you $$ over time.


zvii t1_iuk5253 wrote

I was with you until you said replacing your roof wasn't crazy expensive. Everything else is perfect


Aegishjalmur07 t1_iuif1oy wrote

Another Engineer here and this guy is right.

The wall was almost certainly designed for the wet unit weight of the soil and with a sizeable factor of safety.

Its just bound to be annoying because of the water. Specialized concrete/epoxy products are your best bet, but they're expensive, so I wouldn't worry unless the water itself is an issue.


Helios53 t1_iuixntr wrote

This is the only answer the OP needs.


literal_garbage_man t1_iuiynjg wrote

What kind of marks should be made? Like… measurements? Any examples of how to mark a crack like this to track it over time would be helpful, if anyone has advice


olympiamow t1_iuj6oo3 wrote

It's already from top to bottom. At this point would be marking the slab with a grease pen for crack length. Measure the crack width and mark the location of the measure with a grease pen as well. Check it in a year. If nothing moved, every 3 to 5 years.


Bigmooseknuckle t1_iughwy5 wrote

Also, make sure the dirt is graded properly from the edge of the house in that area. Check all downspouts as well and make sure there isn't an abnormal amount of water draining at that area before you start getting into the heavy work.


mybrosteve t1_iuhmm4l wrote

Agreed. I was having a lot of water getting into my basement through the walls, but after improving the drainage away from the house (dry creek bed, rain garden, longer downspouts), the amount of water is almost never a problem now.


Hereforthebabyducks t1_iuii1ha wrote

I always recommend that people grab an umbrella when it’s pouring and just stand outside and watch where the water collects and puddles. Get rid of that with downspouts and landscaping and it’s likely you’ll get rid of the basement water too.


mazobob66 t1_iuiueqg wrote

Similar situation for me. Water coming in around basement windows that are "just" below grade. Reddit says to rip out old windows, put in new, dig around foundation and waterproof it.

Practical solution: I dug out window wells about 1 foot below the bottom edge of window. Put new window wells in using Tapcons and mastic, and then filled below the window with gravel for drainage.

Also got the downspout water further from the house using underground drain pipe and a popup.

Basement is totally dry since then, and it cost a couple hundred dollars versus thousands.


DotAccomplished5484 t1_iujan52 wrote

My experience is the same. I would occasionally have a small quantity of water in my basement after heavy rains. The house has flower beds and shrubs around the entire perimeter so I piled mulch 6" high around the entire foundation, tapering out about 18" from the foundation. Since then, not a single drop has entered the house. I do add a little more mulch every year to offset settling and composting.


mybrosteve t1_iuje113 wrote

We have the flowerbeds around 3/4 of the house as well. There is so much planted in there that there's no way I could change it significantly without digging everything up. Im sure all those roots are helping the water find its way down to the foundation much more quickly.


2crowncar t1_iui1h2s wrote

This is exactly the correct answer drainage outside is the first job. No puddling of water, water away from the house in gutters, land sloped away from house. Inside hydraulic cement that cement and use drylock on walls if necessary. That inside treatment is secondary and will not hold permanently.


Bigmooseknuckle t1_iughe90 wrote

I would be concerned because it will only get worse. I would try patching the wall from the inside with hydraulic cement. If that doesn't work, you'll have to dig down outside the house to fix the crack from the outside and apply waterproofing to the concrete block.


pbradley179 t1_iugp0xa wrote

Before that, check to make sure you've got good gutters and slope dirt away from the house to encourage water to stay away.


Mitchell789 t1_iuhlksr wrote

The way to fix the crack itself is using a concrete injection kit from the inside. You will not have to fix this from the outside by digging down at all. Ensuring water isn't pooling by your foundation is also something to do. But this isn't a concerning crack at all.


nigelthrowaways t1_iuhs02j wrote

This is what I used Super easy, you can watch the stuff expand out the top of the foundation wall on the outside as proof it makes it all the way through.

Fix your grading to prevent water flowing towards to the house.


Beneficial-Shower-42 t1_iuho4qw wrote

I used hydraulic cement for this same issue in my house. I also dug a French drain outside for the downspout about 6 feet from the house. It's best to do this now before it gets worse. You don't want mold or mildew buildup starting either.


1320Fastback t1_iughyjw wrote

Concern is needed. Hydraulic pressure on the back side of the wall can be immense.

Do you have proper drainage? French drains, gutters, ground slopes away from building?


roco8827 t1_iuheosw wrote

Vertical cracks in poured concrete are both common and to be expected. This is a water infiltration issue, not a structural one. Check your grade and ensure that it is properly sloped away from your home, dropping an inch every foot for ten feet from your foundation. To permanently fix this issue, polyurethane injection is the preferred method of repair. It can be done from the inside and should last for the life of the structure.


NWOhioHomeInspector t1_iuhjrc0 wrote

>To permanently fix this issue, polyurethane injection is the preferred method of repair.

This is the only answer.


hippoberserk t1_iugni88 wrote

I think the first thing to do is to make sure water is diverted away from the house. That may be fixing gutters and downspouts, adjusting the grade, and installing french drains.


chrisdavis211 t1_iugi0nk wrote

Listen to bigmooseknuckle, this is actually very sound advice.


DIYThrowaway01 t1_iuglddi wrote

Fix your gutters cuz


Beernacle t1_iugtnxx wrote

Yeah make sure your downspouts have extensions the move water away from the foundation


[deleted] t1_iuhwfe6 wrote

Check your downspouts. I have this issue and its because the previous owner piped the downspouts right into the ground.


nibbles200 t1_iui80zd wrote

Holy stupid, no outlet?


[deleted] t1_iuidf07 wrote

Nope. Noticed some “salt” coming through my garage wall and realized the downspout was just plumbed straight down and assume that’s what’s happening with the other downspouts. Now I have a light mildew smell in my live in basement and I have to redo my downspouts.


Ecsta t1_iuhsanp wrote

Hope its just a broken downspout or landscape grading.

Just had to dig up all around my house to fix water issues (weeping tile had completely collapsed) and it wasn't cheap lol.


Chuck-32 t1_iuguz9e wrote

There's some good advise here but you need to get the groundwater away from your foundation, have you checked your perimiter drain?


Darkassassin07 t1_iuhr9t5 wrote

Have a plumber check out your weeping tile drainage.

Cracks in the foundation wall typically happen when water builds up behind the wall and freezes, expanding and heaving the wall in. North American houses have a 'weeping tile' system that's a perforated pipe running around the outside base of the foundation to collect and drain water.

Older houses use clay tiles and have the water seep in the cracks, newer houses use plastic pipe with holes and a filter cloth. Both can become clogged and fail to drain, leading to your issue.

Another concern is water running towards the house instead of away. Poorly graded land around the home, down spouts improperly draining away, etc.


Ecsta t1_iuhsqx2 wrote

Yep this exactly. My house had terrible grading and then when we went to fix it we discovered my weeping tile was completely collapsed. Was a big job digging it all up and replacing it, but at least with all the extra dirt now I have the grading problem solved 😂


exiestjw t1_iuhushg wrote

Its far from a given that the interior drainage already exists. You'd know if it does because there will be a sump pump.


Darkassassin07 t1_iuhvxop wrote

Not necessarily, many houses have the weeping tile drain into the sewer line, others have a dry well out back that many owners know nothing about. Some even drain into a ditch near the road out front. There is usually a cleanout somewhere on the property.

A plumber (that's familiar with these systems) can help locate it and inspect the system, or give further advice.


exiestjw t1_iuhy1fv wrote

Ah, yeah I didn't look very hard at the picture and thought this was a basement.


centennialg t1_iui8wm3 wrote

Had 2 cracks like this found in my house when I was putting an offer in to buy it. The original buyer backed out, which opened the door for us to buy the house. I had a licensed structural engineer look at it. He said those types of cracks pose no structural concerns, but they should be filled with a sika grade epoxy and the drainage on the outside of the house should be fixed to move water away from the foundation. We had the seller do this.

We just sold the house this month and I was worried the cracks would cause buyers to back out, but had no issues.


P250lpo t1_iui4qlh wrote

I had a guy come out and fix mine cost me about $650 you can do it yourself also.


cpraxis t1_iugsbcf wrote

I have this exact problem tonight except with a steady trickle across the floor. Bought some hydro cement stuff from Home Depot and it seems to be holding… for now


Ecsta t1_iuhskkv wrote

Also check the outside of the house where the water is, the cement on the inside is just a bandaid.

Go outside in the rain and see where the water from your gutters goes. You probably need extensions to get it further away from the house, or need to fix the grading so water flows away from the house.


StillWill18 t1_iui0ip0 wrote

Get a pro to come in and use an injection material that is flexible and that will last 30-50 years.


ok46reddit t1_iui5961 wrote

There are two kinds of concrete...


Bucket1982 t1_iuk0f8j wrote

Every basement ever….


Gerryvb1 t1_iuidxx0 wrote

There are companies that will inject sealant along the crack to seal it up. All work done on the inside and they give you a lifetime guarantee that it won't leak. Costs about $1000


SpikeMartins t1_iuhqscc wrote

Doesn't look heinous. Would be a good time to hit it with drylock and see how that fares.


ktp806 t1_iuhsvef wrote

Get some Drylok paint. It’s made in America.


KRed75 t1_iugjdcj wrote

It's a crawlspace. I wouldn't be concerned about that. Most crawlspaces are dirt and full of moisture. What you have is nothing of concern.