When buying a new home, a lot of homeowners look for places with basements because this extra space can come in handy. Some use it to store their food supplies, while others convert it into a functional living space.
Basements are undoubtedly a multi-purpose area. Unfortunately, they cannot be used for anything if they are affected by moisture. Moisture is notorious for causing mold growth and rot. If it is not addressed on time, it can even compromise the structural stability of your home.
Concrete is permeable, which means it has pores that permit liquids or gases to pass through it. When the rain falls or for some other reason large amounts of water end up in the soil, they will start to push against your basement walls. Simply put, water wants to expand to the location occupied by your foundation. As a result, it exerts a large amount of pressure on your foundation. This is known as hydrostatic pressure. Water will look for the path of least resistance and since concrete is permeable, it will enter your basement through those tiny pores.
Most homeowners are not aware of the problem increased humidity levels can cause. It’s a common belief that since basement walls are made of sturdy concrete, they keep this area safe from the elements. However, this is not entirely true.
To keep moisture levels in your basement under control, you need to find a way to relieve hydrostatic pressure around your foundation.
In this post, we will take a look at instances of hydrostatic pressure problems as well as ways you can solve them.
The Source of Hydrostatic Issues
If you go down to your basement and notice that your walls are wet, the whole room has a musty smell, or if there are signs of leakage, the water table has probably become elevated. What does this mean? The water table is the upper level of an underground surface where the soil is always saturated. However, during rainfall, flooding, or snowmelt, that level rises. When the water table is high, it creates hydrostatic pressure around the foundation walls. The same problem can be caused by nearby lakes and rivers.
Is Hydrostatic Pressure Impacting Your Home?
To determine whether this force is threatening to damage your basement walls, you can run a simple test. Just cover your basement walls with a plastic sheet. Secure it with tape and leave it there. If you notice that water drops have begun to form on the sheet, your basement has a moisture problem. You can also use a device that measures humidity levels to detect increased hydrostatic pressure. With that said, the best way to detect increased hydrostatic pressure is to call your local foundation experts who will determine whether the health of your home is in jeopardy. They have the tools, skills, and experience to thoroughly inspect your foundation and recommend suitable waterproofing solutions.
Reducing Hydrostatic Pressure
No one wants to have moisture in their basement. Not only does this space become useless, but moisture can cause mold growth. Airborne mold spores can contaminate the air in your entire home and compromise the health of you and your loved ones. In addition, moisture causes rot, so structural elements made of wood can quickly deteriorate and affect your home’s stability. On top of that, everything you keep in your basement becomes moist, smelly, and ruined. Therefore, if you have realized that hydrostatic pressure is threatening the well-being of your foundation, you need to take steps to protect your basement. Here are several ways you can relieve hydrostatic pressure and keep your basement safe from moisture infiltration.
Drilling weep holes – Weep holes are drilled at the bottom of the wall. As mentioned, concrete is permeable, which means water can infiltrate your basement walls. Through these holes, water can exit the walls and reduce hydrostatic pressure. After the excess water exits the walls, it ends up in the drain system.
Ensuring a positive grade – Have you noticed that when it rains, all the water runs toward your home and pools around its perimeter? If so, your yard has a negative grade. When the water pools around your home, it saturates the soil around your foundation, causes hydrostatic pressure, and eventually leads to moisture problems in your basement. To avert this situation, you need to regrade your yard as soon as possible. A team of professionals can complete this project and ensure that runoffs are directed away from your property.
Keeping your gutters in order – When the rain falls, all the water from your rooftop will end up around your home unless you maintain your gutters properly. When they become blocked, they become useless. So at least twice a year, take time to remove leaves, dirt, and debris from your gutters.
Installing an interior drain – Exterior drain tile can be a good solution for relieving hydrostatic pressure if your home is still under construction. However, if you already live in your home, installing an exterior drain will involve a lot of excavation and ruin your landscaping. In addition, it clogs very often so it requires a lot of maintenance. On the other hand, an interior drain can be quickly installed, doesn’t require any digging, and is much more affordable. This drain runs along the entire perimeter of the basement and collects water that would otherwise damage your foundation.
If you wish to relieve hydrostatic pressure and avert water damage, contact foundation waterproofing experts in your area and schedule a free estimate and quote.