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What Happens When Water Collects at the Foundation of Your Building


Posted by Emmit | September 8, 2017 | Reading Time:

What Happens When Water Collects at the Foundation of Your Building
Water can create catastrophes – tsunamis, floods, hurricanes. Water carved out the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns. Water, for all it’s calm and placidity, uses persistence to incite great changes on everything from mountain ranges to your home.

Hydrostatic Pressure:

The “persistence” of standing water is actually called hydrostatic pressure. This is the force (pressure) exerted by a fluid (hydro) that is not moving (static). The strength is generated from the power of gravity pushing that water towards a object. Think dams, boats, and the foundation of your house.

Where is this water coming from?

Water loves to flow from bedrock to rivers, down hills to streams, and from the sky into our sewer system. However, when your building is in the way there’s nowhere for it to go and it ends up gathering at your foundation. Here are a few culprits:

  • Natural water flow from nearby bedrock
  • Water running down sloped landscaping towards your home
  • Water collected in looser, backfilled soil
  • Well watered flower beds alongside the foundation
  • Improper gutters that don’t redirect water efficiently
  • Gutters that need to be cleaned out
  • Broken water lines underneath the house

What is it doing to your foundation?

If you have water sitting against the base of your house, it could do serious damage.

Constant Pressure

The pressure pushes on your foundation while water builds up during rainstorms or spring melts. During the dry season it evaporates, relieving that pressure. This causes your home to shift back and forth with the change of the season, creating more stress on the substructure.

A Stressful Situation

The water that has soaked in plus the water adding hydrostatic pressure to the foundation is never evenly distributed. There might be a pool of water on one side, but a large tree drying out the other side. This generates more strain in some places than others. This tension can cause horizontal fissures.

Liquid Infiltration

The walls are thick but water finds all the cracks and crevices, seeping into every pore of the cement. Over time this intruding H2O freezes and thaws, creating more cracks, and eventually leaking into your crawl space.

How can it affect your home?

Water pooled at your foundation and collecting in your crawl space is not ideal. It can lead to structural and health issues if left neglected.

The ground under your home can be compromised leading to settling. A building that has settled too much has creaks in the floors and sticky doors.

Water can ruin the exterior and interior of your home. Your foundation can be discolored, and prematurely aged. If it soaks through to your floors it can ruin hardwood, laminate, and tile… not to mention the damage to baseboards and your walls!

Basements smell musty from always being damp. The dark and wet provides the perfect home for molds and allergens. Worse yet, these are the best conditions for bugs! Without attention you could be hosting housemates you didn’t ask for!

The best defense is a good offence

Today is a good day to do a visual inspection of your house. Check your crawl space and survey your foundation from the outside. If you suspect you have standing water don’t hesitate to call someone.

There are a number of solutions for your home, depending on the origin of the water. A sump pump can be added to your basement to pump water back outside. Landscaping can be revised, or water channeling systems can be installed. If your foundation is in rough shape it may take a foundation repair specialist to fix the issues before it becomes even bigger. Or maybe it’s one of the simplest things ever: did you clean out your gutters? Ensure your gutters are properly installed and that they drain efficiently. Don’t worry – we can do it for you.

Housing Water Damage Infographic