What Causes Stem Wall Failure?
Stem wall failure is caused by chloride ion exchange in the moisture laden pores of the concrete that facilitates the oxidization of the rebar. Once started, it's very difficult to stop with traditional means. Sealing the crack with epoxy will not stop the rebar from continuing to oxidize and expand.
Cracks may start out small, but continue to grow like the picture above. These cracks are a result of the rebar oxidizing (rusting). This occurs because the pores of the concrete contain miniscule amounts of water that actually conduct electricity, forming a tiny current between the rebar and the outside of the concrete wall. This current facilitates a flow of chloride ions that cause the rebar to rust.
Eventually the rebar grows large enough to break the concrete out completely on its own, causing total failure. Don't ignore the warning signs! The good news is that we can fix these problems. We are your trusted experts for stem wall repair.
Why do most stem wall repairs fail?
Foundation wall cracks generally stem from the porous nature of concrete which allows moisture to build up in it and oxidize. This oxidization causes expansion and cracks which gradually grow and worsen over time.
There are a couple of traditional repair options used in these cases including:
- Patching the cracks
- Epoxy injection/coating
- Standard Rebar Replacement
- Rebar Replacement with Epoxy Coating
- Waterproof Coatings
Unfortunately, all of these methods have issues. While they might solve the problem for a brief period of time the oxidization will eventually recur and the cracking will begin again or old cracks will simply reopen. While there are other methods too, like electrical cathodic protection systems, these methods have their own problems. Notably, electrical cathodic protection systems are great at stopping oxidization but also cost roughly $20,000 to $30,000 and are only really meant for power plants and other industrial facilities.
There really hasn't been a cost-effective and reliable stem wall repair system for residential use. At least until now.