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Concrete Crack Repair: Deciding between Epoxy and Polyurethane Foam Injection

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One of the most common questions we receive at Emecole has to do with the use of epoxy or polyurethane foam for repairing poured foundation cracks via low-pressure crack injection – which material should I use?

While epoxies and polyurethane foams both have their place in repairing foundation cracks, they each have unique properties which allow them to work differently, depending on the circumstances with each individual crack. You can easily know when to use them once you understand what they were designed to do.

Epoxy Injection

The epoxy is more of a mechanical bond fusing one side of the crack to the other (think industrial strength super glue). The added strength from epoxy is enough to make the repaired area’s portion of the wall stronger than the existing foundation. As a result of the added strength that comes with epoxy, we recommend its use for the repair of structural cracks, in which the integrity of the foundation may potentially be compromised. When structural problems persist, crack injection alone may not be enough to properly secure the structural integrity of the foundation. The installation of Carbon Fiber/Kevlar systems by Emecole in-conjunction with crack injection provides the reinforcement necessary for securing the foundation, while preventing the likelihood of crack development within the same area. The installation of Carbon Fiber/Kevlar products, whether Staples, Grid Straps or Neckties, should be installed by foundation repair professionals only. Emecole’s technical support staff can provide the assistance necessary to ensure that contractors are using the correct product and application for a particular job.

Polyurethane Foam Injection

The injection of polyurethane foam is recommended for typical cracks that do not pose any structural problems. While polyurethane foam is not as strong as epoxies, its ability to expand inside the crack makes it more user-friendly than epoxy, which does not have the ability to expand. While epoxy is suitable for repairing water leaks, the expansion of polyurethane foam minimizes the potential for errors, especially for newer applicators. The vast majority of residential foundation cracks in basements and crawl spaces are non-structural, with water seepage being the sole problem. The injection of polyurethane foam is likely all one will need to fill such cracks and stop any leaking.

Through years of practice, trial and error, and success, applicators have adapted various uses of these two types of crack injection materials based on their personal preferences and experience.