Basement Leaks: How Hydrostatic Pressure Helps Water to Find your Foundation Weak Spots

Foundation leaking in need of repair

When it comes to foundations and water pressure, it doesn’t take much for a seemingly small problem to become a major one in little to no time at all. After all, water is the most powerful force on Earth. Just think, it was water that formed the Grand Canyon. And though you may not be able to see it, if water is putting pressure on your foundation, it can lead to some serious problems that need to be addressed.

Out of Sight—But Not Out of Mind

Of course, we understand that it’s difficult to fully grasp the concern when you can’t see it. Just recently we left a client’s home who had such tiny hairline cracks that you could barely see them. But the client was continually getting water in the basement. He had taken photos for us of where water was pooling. Though they may have been tiny—almost invisible to the naked eye—water was finding those cracks.

This is because of hydrostatic pressure.

Hydrostatic pressure refers to the water pressure pushing against your home’s foundation. This force can be incredibly powerful. If your soil is heavily saturated after an intense rain, there could be as much as tens of thousands of pounds of hydrostatic pressure pushing against your foundation—and when that happens, water is going to find its way in.

The fact is, water always finds an opening, even if it’s just a hairline crack.

At first, it might seem minor. But the problem is, the more pressure that is put on those cracks, the larger they will become—and the more water you’ll be getting in your home. It’s certainly not a problem that’s going to resolve itself.

Because it’s going to get worse with time, it’s important that you take action.

Signs of a Hydrostatic Pressure Problem

Besides wall cracks, there are some even less obvious signs that you might be dealing with a water problem beneath the surface. These include mold or mildew growth, a “musty smell” to your basement, and high humidity levels. Water in the basement is also a sign, though if caught early, sometimes this can be avoided.

If you’re thinking about having your basement finished at any point, then you absolutely want to consider waterproofing options. Unfortunately, we have to tear out brand-new basements that have been damaged by water in order to install waterproofing systems. It’s obviously in your best interest to worry about this before you even think of having your basement finished.

How to Address Water in my Basement

If you have water in your basement, then you need to have a foundation repair professional perform an evaluation in order to help you determine your next steps. Because you’re dealing with a subsurface water problem, you’ll need a solution that takes hydrostatic pressure into account. Sealing cracks alone is not going to fix the fact that something bigger is going on.

The installation of a sump pump is an essential step when it comes to removing water from your basement’s sump pit. This pit is designed to keep water out of your home by collecting it from other areas of your basement via a drain system. But you also want to send that water away from your home to an area where it will no longer be problematic.

We can install a submersible sump pump with a cast iron, epoxy-coated float and a geo-wrapped pump to prevent sediment from getting in. We will also install check valves to ensure that water only goes in one direction, preventing backflow into your sump pit, which can also lead to flooding.

Of course, if you have water in more than just one area of the basement, you might also need to consider an interior tile drain system. That’s because a sump pump and pit will only resolve water in the general area of the pit. If the water is not directed to that area, in some way, you’re still going to be dealing with problems.

A Customized Solution

The fact is, there are solutions out there, and by working with the right professional, you’ll be able to find the solution that works best for you. Instead of having to worry about water causing you problems in the future, you’ll be able to feel confident you’ve done what was needed to protect your home from damage.