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Repairing Foundation Cracks in Cold Weather

Kevin_Edmund's picture

Repairing Foundation Cracks in Cold Weather (post #216628)


I need to repair several foundation cracks in a basement cold storage room located under the front steps of a rental house before new tennants arrive. Outside temperature will vary from freezing to well below > -15 deg. C (~5 deg.F). Water leakage can be detected on the inside walls. The crack width won't be fully known until i remove caulking/patching by others more than 5 or 10 years ago, but i suspect that the cracks are fine to 1/8" wide.  

At a different house in a slightly warmer climate (~ -5  deg, C), I used Simpson Strong-Tie epoxy with reasonably good results. I set up radiant heaters (2, 1,500 W) directed onto the basement foundation walls taking care to direct the most intensity of the heater to the upper portion of the walls. The lamps were left on for about 48h before injecting the epoxy. Although past water leakage was noted by staining in several places, inside foundation wall was dry before the heaters were in place. After 48h the walls were warm to the touch before injecting epoxy. Where the cracks were wider, epoxy could be seen outside (around the window wells where some of the cracks probably orginated) so i feel that the epoxy was able to flow properly despite the colder temperature.  

Sikadur crack fix has a substrate application temperature of 4 deg. C which the radiant heaters could help establish through most of the foundation thickness. I have no experience with this product. The Simpson Strong-tie website for Crack-Pac® Epoxy and Flex-H2O™ Polyurethane Crack Sealer mentions an application temperature of 60 deg. F, but doesn't mention the substrate temperature. How cold can the substrate temperature be with the Simpson Stron-Tie products?

I also had heard that some water/moisture in the crack is okay for epoxy injection, but at what point do you need to switch to polyurethane? Would heating the wall be beneficial for polyurethane or could it negatively affect the reaction? I heard that with some products, you can adjust the amount of accelerator but suspect that this is beyond a simple caulking gun aplication.

Does anyone have any experience or recommendations that they can share on the specific conditions of this repair in cold weather? 

Look forward to your input.

Best regards,

 Kevin, I don’t think (post #216628, reply #1 of 1)


I don’t think you will find anything on the market that can perform within the temperature constraints that you are describing (Sounds really cold where you are by the way!). You have already answered your own question: you need to heat the surfaces by tenting and insulating. A good laser thermometer will let you know the exact temperature of the surface and whether it's above the minimum required by manufacturer