Foundation Damage: It’s Nature’s Fault

by Courtney Walsh on April 30, 2012

With the springtime rainy season well underway it is important to be constantly thinking about ways to prevent or remedy any water and moisture problems in your basement or crawlspace. There are several things you can do in order to prevent your basement from receiving water damage.

Basement waterproofing solutions include correcting ground slopes, keeping your gutters clean and installing a sump pump. But, what if the problem isn’t anything your doing wrong? What if your wet basement problem is due to foundation damage that was caused by the inevitable changes in nature?

Not only is the climate constantly changing, the world is also constantly moving. Unfortunately for homeowners the ever-shifting earth can cause foundation movement, leading to serious foundation damages that cause moisture problems in basements.

It’s Nature’s Fault:

  • Hydrostatic Pressure: When soil around the building becomes saturated with rain and groundwater, the weight of this water pushes against the walls of the building as the water level rises. Consistent pressure will cause walls to bow and crack.
  • Erosion: The changing seasons cause a constant, ice, wind, water cycle that can break down and remove solids in the soil that is actually under your home. This causes a sinking/rising effect of the ground underneath the foundation, the uneven soil and constant change cause cracks in foundation.
  • Clay Soil Changes: Changes in moisture content causes clay soils around your foundation to change in volume. When expansive clays are placed against basement walls, the swelling of these soils can induce lateral pressures. Shrink and swell can also reduce the shear strength of the backfill, and thus increase the pressure.
  • Climate Change: Rapid climate change can severely damage your home’s foundation. While the day is warm water accumulates in the backfill, then night comes and temperature drops below freezing causing the water to freeze and expand. This frozen water expansion causes large lateral pressure, much greater than even hydrostatic pressure.

If you notice water pooling in your basement or crawl space the cause is most likely caused by a damaged or weakened in the foundation. You can perform temporary fixes yourself but in order to stop the problem before it worsens you should probably contact your local foundation repair specialist. An experienced foundation repair specialist can determine the exact cause of your wet basement, and then utilize the latest technology and methods to repair the water flow source.

Although some of us would like to, we cannot control nature, so instead we have to do our best to live with it. For more information on making waterproofing your next home improvement project look through out other related My Home Improvement blogs.

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