Foundation Water Damage: What to Do When It’s More Than Just a Basement Leak.

April 11th, 2011
Damaged foundation

Water on expanding soil caused this basement wall to bow.

Bill Loden, a seasoned home inspector from Madison, AL tells Consumer Reports: “If there are 10 things that can go wrong with a house, 15 of them have to do with water.”

Having dealt with water intrusion problems for the past 20 years we know that he is not exaggerating.

Water can be especially hard on foundations because, being entirely or partially buried in wet soil, they are the areas of the house that are in constant contact with water. Rain water, if not properly controlled and diverted, can inflict an enormous amount of damage in a home’s foundation, sometimes compromising its structural integrity.

Water affects foundation in three main ways:

Hydrostatic Pressure:

It can cause more than just basement leaks. When the soil around the foundation is over saturated with water, the resulting hydrostatic pressure can push the walls inward, causing them to crack and bow. This can happen all of a sudden, during a period of heavy rains, or overtime.

Expanding Soils:

In some areas of the country, the clay-rich soil will expand when saturated with water, applying an enormous pressure against the foundation walls, causing them to bow, crack or shift.

Erosion:

Rain water or underground springs can slowly wash away the soil that supports the foundation, causing foundation settlement. Early foundation settlement signs aren’t sometimes obvious and can be easily dismissed by the homeowner until they become serious enough to demand professional intervention. Signs include sinking, uneven or unleveled floors, doors and windows that do not close properly, drywall cracks, tilting chimneys.

Don’t Panic!

A puddle on the floor or a small crack on the basement wall is usually something homeowners feel like they can deal with, and many actually put up with for many years, before they consider calling a pro.

On the other hand, a sinking foundation, or a bowing, cracking basement wall can rob many of their sleep. Understandably so: the very structure that keeps the whole house standing, is seriously compromised, and that is nothing to be taken lightly.

Fortunately, in many cases, the structural damage is not as bad as it looks, and thanks to modern foundation repair technologies, most problems can be solved.

Basement Systems, through our sister company Foundation Supportworks, offers the most advanced and reliable foundation repair solutions, for all types of foundation problems. With our dealers, such as Evergreen Basement Systems, offering products ranging from foundation piers, to wall anchors, and crawl space jacks, there is hardly any type of structural damage that can’t be solved.

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