Have you ever woke up one morning and found your basement in a foot of water? Not the ideal man cave or underground pool you were envisioning. Foundation drainage problems leading to excessive amounts of water accumulating against and under the walls of your foundation can cause expensive structural damages to your home. Lets explore five common concerns for water accumulating against the walls of your foundation.
1. Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure that a fluid can exert due to the forces of gravity. Naturally, the more water you have accumulating against the foundation walls, the more strain the walls are experiencing. Over time the amount of water will rise, resulting in minor cracks expanding and creating an opening for water to flow into your home. If your basement is fully finished, such damages may only be visibly a few months later; with the appearance of mold, wet spots, lifting of the floors etc… If fixed in its early stages there will be minimal concern for a leaking basement, a $500 fix today can turn into thousands when considering potential damages.
2. Water Expands and Contracts
As we all know water expands, contracts and sometimes freezes as the temperature decreases. In Montreal our homes have the luxury of experiencing all of those three scenarios. During our winter months we can see plus 10 degrees to minus 10 all in one week… The water left near the walls of your foundation react in the same manner, expanding and contracting, exerting increased pressure against your foundation. During the summer months the water contracts and keeps the soil wet and unstable. As more water is added during the summer months it freezes and increasingly contracts during the winter season, adding more pressure as the years pass by.
3. Water Enters Through The Path of Least Resistance
As the hydrostatic pressure increases, water will enter your basement via the easiest way possible, the path of least resistance. This means seeping through porous concrete and block wall foundations, cracks, wall joints and more.
4. Settling of The Soil and Foundation
When the water around your foundation dries, the house will eventually settle. This happens every summer and can cause unneeded movement, further weakening your foundation.
5. Unequal Foundation Strain
In some cases, the soil around your foundation is dry in certain areas and wet in others. When this happens, the pressure on your basement walls from the outside is unevenly distributed, forcing unequal strain that can lead to foundation cracks.
If there is anything you should make a habit of, it is walking around the exterior walls of your home once to twice a year. Keep an eye out for any concerns, such as cracks, unusually wet areas due to blocked french drains, clogged gutters etc... On your next visit make note if the environment improved or if a crack widened allowing for water to penetrate into your home. If you're not sure what to look out for, check out our blog on the "Top 10 Foundation Repair Warning Signs".