Efflorescences on cinder block in basement.

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Old 01-23-17, 05:33 AM
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Efflorescences on cinder block in basement.

Hello all. I have a hairline crack in the cinder block foundation that is also visible on the exterior of the house on the brick. It is located under my glass block window. I had a torrential downpour and got some water leakage into the basement. Obviously best repair is digging down and sealing it up from the outside. However, my unfinished basement still had floor to ceiling insulation. When I cut the insulation down I found efflorescence at the base of my wall and the floor, almost all the way around my basement. What's the best cleaner for efflorescence and will that take care of it? I had waterproofing companies come in and say I need their interior drain systems with sump pumps but at $15,000-$20,000 price tag! Insane....curious if anyone has any suggestions? I do want to eventually finish the basement.
 
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Old 01-23-17, 05:47 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Efflorescence is caused by moisture passing thru masonry. All I've ever done is take a wire brush to it prior to painting. The crack/leak needs to be repaired on the exterior side of the foundation!

Make sure all moisture issues are fixed before you begin any plans to finish the basement.
 
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Old 01-23-17, 07:02 AM
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Yeah. Plan to fix the crack on the exterior come spring.

In your experience, cleaning the efflorescence and then using a sealer, does it usually stop it from reoccurring? I also plan on getting my downspout and drains jetted and inspected to ensure there is no clogs or breaks. Will this combined also stop the efflorescence? I'm a new homeowner so I'm getting used to all the perk of homeownership
 
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Old 01-23-17, 08:31 AM
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Hi Aj, "Will this combined also stop the efflorescence?"
The bad news is most likely not. Block foundations allow any water leak on the outside to fill the blocks and distribute that moisture to almost any other area inside the basement. Since you found effervescence all of the way around the basement you know that moisture has been passing through and evaporating to the inside. When it evaporates it leaves behind the minerals in the water and that is what you see as the white powder, efflorescence.

Most home owners are only concerned about liquid moisture, water, but moisture vapor will pass right through concrete and accumulate on the inside to create mold issues.

Your approach should be to resolve all water issues you can from the outside as mark said and then plan to manage what will still get through. That "manage" concept will be specific to your home, climate, and landscaping and how you intend to finish the basement.

Bud
 
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Old 01-23-17, 08:40 AM
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If you stop the water migration thru the foundation the efflorescence won't come back. Painting the block will hide the efflorescence but shouldn't be considered a fix other than for occasional dampness.
 
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Old 01-23-17, 09:08 AM
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Thank you Mark and Bud.So to be clear. My best options are either, excavate around the entire house to the footers to ensure they are not clogged and are draining properly or go with these waterproofing company interior sump pump systems so...these are best ways to deal with the moisture around my home.
 
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Old 01-23-17, 09:17 AM
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I'm not very familiar with the interior drain method but basically it takes care of water that has come thru the foundation. On the exterior they used to stucco the block to fill any voids and then apply foundation tar - there are some modern methods that are supposed to be better. A drain tile should always be installed at the bottom of the foundation covered with gravel. Modern day drain tiles [pipes] are enclosed in a 'sock' which helps prevent fines from entering and plugging up the drain tile. The drain tile is always piped away from the house.
 
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Old 01-23-17, 09:37 AM
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Up here in cleveland Ohio. There are few companies that have these interior systems. Basically they dig out a two foot trench in the basement floor, drill weep holes into your bottom block that drains the water into the new drain tiles/pipes and direct it to a sump pump and pump it back out. Not a fan of bringing the water in. They all want 20,000 to do so. But, seems that is the price to get the job done
 
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Old 01-23-17, 10:27 AM
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IMO, that would be a huge investment and like you said, bringing the water in to pump it out is more of a patch than a solution. I'm not sure how you intend to utilize the space down there, play area for kids or man cave. Some questions.

Is the landscaping around your house flat or do you have good surface drainage away from the house?
Assuming there is a drainage system around your footings, where is it likely draining to? No slope and it probably goes nowhere.
Are you on friendly terms with any neighbors to know what they might have done and did it work?
Do you have a sump pump and is it active? If none they are always good for emergencies like a broken laundry hose or other inside flood. If installed deep enough they can also reduce the moisture under/around your house.

Managing the moisture issue doesn't have to be a big deal. Virtually all basements need to deal with high humidity and do so with a dehumidifier. That combined with a smart wall assembly and good drainage on the outside and you may be successful.

Excavating around the entire house is also a major cost issue, unless you own some heavy equipment.

Bud
 
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Old 01-26-17, 10:50 AM
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Here's my 2: Seal the crack on the outside and then keep water away from the wall in the first place with gutters, downspout extensions and grading. Anything on the inside is a last resort and admitting failure.
 
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