Every homeowner will agree that basements are very convenient. Even if you leave them unfinished, you can use them for storage purposes or other uses. Everything you rarely use, or never use but wish to keep for sentimental reasons, can find its place in the basement. On the other hand, when they are finished, they can be used for a variety of things.
Unfortunately, none of these things are possible if your basement suffers from moisture issues. Water damage is the most common type of damage when it comes to basements, which is why installing vital waterproofing measures is essential.
Some homeowners in Birmingham, AL believe that concrete walls will protect their possessions from water damage. However, the important thing to know about concrete walls is that they are porous. That means that they have numerous tiny pores that can let water into the basement.
But how does water infiltrate the walls? Hydrostatic pressure is to blame. During rainfall or sudden snowmelt, water will saturate the soil around your foundation. When enough water accumulates, it begins to push against your basement walls and floor as it tries to expand throughout the soil. This water pressure is known as hydrostatic pressure and it’s the common cause of foundation damage. When it increases, water from the soil that surrounds the basement penetrates the walls and eventually ends up inside the basement. Keeping hydrostatic pressure under control is the best way to keep these problems from happening.
In this post, we will take a closer look at hydrostatic pressure, what causes it, how to detect it, and ways to relieve it.
What Is the Cause of Moisture in Your Basement?
Does your basement smell a bit musty? When you touch the walls, do they feel wet? Are there signs of leakage? If this is the case, a high water table may be the cause, or at least exacerbate existing issues in your basement. A water table is the upper level of the surface below ground. In the water table, the soil is constantly saturated. When there are heavy rainstorms or large amounts of snow begin to melt, this level rises. When the water table is high, it creates hydrostatic pressure around basement walls. Nearby lakes and rivers can also cause hydrostatic pressure.
Is Hydrostatic Pressure Threatening to Damage Your Home?
Hydrostatic pressure can damage your basement. But, how can you determine whether it is currently threatening to harm your foundation walls? While high humidity levels in the basement often indicate the presence of increased hydrostatic pressure around the foundation, it is best to call a professional who will inspect your foundation and determine if you need waterproofing measures.
How to Relieve Hydrostatic Pressure
Ignoring moisture problems in your basement is a recipe for disaster. Moisture can invite pests into your basement since these creatures gravitate to dark and damp places. In addition, moisture can compromise the structural stability of your home and lead to mold growth.
Since mold releases airborne spores, it can contaminate the air you breathe and cause serious respiratory problems, especially for those with underlying health conditions. On top of this, if you use your basement for storage, your possessions may suffer from mold growth as well. The wooden parts can rot, the fabric can smell, and you may have to throw out sentimental items.
If you have noticed that moisture has infiltrated your basement, you need to take immediate steps to relieve hydrostatic pressure around the foundation. Here are several ways you can do this and protect your basement against water damage.
Regrading your yard:
As mentioned, when water saturates the soil, hydrostatic pressure pushes against the walls and causes water damage. A simple way you can make sure that the water won’t saturate the soil around your home is to ensure that your yard is properly graded. If it has a negative grade, all of the excess water will rush toward your home and pool around its perimeter. To keep this from happening, you will need to hire an expert to regrade your yard. This way, runoffs will flow away from your home.
Maintaining your gutters:
Gutters are not the most glamorous part of the waterproofing system, but they can save you a lot of trouble. These fixtures will direct all the water from the roof away from your home, and prevent it from pooling around your walls. However, when they become clogged, they are no longer able to do their job. Therefore, make sure you clean your gutters regularly and remove any debris.
Installing an interior drain:
An exterior drain can relieve hydrostatic pressure, but it involves a lot of excavation, so this type of installation is messy and can ruin your landscaping. However, an interior drain will protect your basement from water damage and does not require any digging around the home’s perimeter. This interior drain system runs along the entire perimeter of the basement, collecting water that seeps through the walls. Since installers place it on top of the footing, it won’t get clogged by mud and debris. Our AFS experts can install it in a short amount of time.
Are you interested in waterproofing your basement? If so, contact AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists and schedule a free inspection and quote.