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020926_1702_0019_l__sRISMEDIA, December 4, 2009—Imagine walking a potential homebuyer through the murky basement of a troublesome listing you just can’t seem to sell. The first thing the client sees is large, ugly cracks on the walls with water leaking through them and dripping down onto the floor. The whole scene is reminiscent of a dreary cave and, not surprisingly, the potential homebuyer is no longer interested in the house. How could this have been prevented?

If you’ve been following along with our series of articles, you know that patented interior drainage systems and battery back-up sump pumps are surefire ways to keep a basement dry and make a house easier to sell. But if you have a listing that has cracks in the foundation walls, this is sure to be a red flag to potential homebuyers. If water leaks through these cracks every time it rains, you could have an unsellable house on your hands that wastes your valuable time promoting and showing it in vain. Sealing these potential disasters as soon as possible is imperative.

Foundation wall cracks typically occur due to concrete shrinkage and soil settlement. When a foundation is poured, the concrete cures and can continue to shrink for up to three years or longer. Even after this, pressure from soil expansion can create additional foundation cracks. Backfill soil that is dumped around a new foundation continues to settle for years after a home is built. Water can easily pass through this loose soil and put pressure on the foundation causing cracks to form.

In an area that gets a lot of rain, wall cracks can be even more of a danger. Water can seep in and run down the walls and onto the floor. If enough water makes its way into the house it could do damage to everything of value in the basement. It could also cause mold to grow and create musty odors, which is a real turnoff to a prospective homebuyer.

Depending on climate, precipitation and type of soil, pressure is regularly applied to a foundation so a permanent solution to wall cracks is necessary. Many wall crack repair methods that were commonly used have failed over time, such as patching, caulking and polyurethane injections. Injection wall cracks with polyurethane were a breakthrough at the time, but experts learned that structural movement, settlement and shrinkage caused many of these injection repair methods to fail.

The new solution for houses with wall cracks is the FlexiSpan foundation wall crack repair system offered by Basement Systems. The crack is sealed with a special flexible sealant on the surface of the crack from top to bottom. This will slow and often even stop the flow of water through the crack. A strip of 3 1/2-inch-wide, beveled FlexiSpan foam material is attached to the sealant, tucking it into a small drainage system at the floor.

An overcoat of special sealant is applied over the FlexiSpan creating a sealed patch from the top of the crack to the bottom. The beveled foam acts as a bond breaker between the topcoat of sealant and the wall to wick away any water that gets past the first bead of sealant. The FlexiSpan system will never crack or leak and can flex as much as ¾ inches, making it the perfect permanent solution for a house with basement wall cracks.

Check back soon for step #4: Pumping water up and out of the basement

Daniel F. Fitzgerald III is director of marketing for Basement Systems Inc. & Total Basement Finishing. For more information or a free estimate on a property with a wet basement or to finish a basement, please call 1-877-850-4446 or visit