A Guide on Hydrostatic Pressure to Protect Your Foundation

Hydrostatic Pressure

One of the toughest tasks in home maintenance is dealing with a wet basement. The fact that this living space is rarely used makes this worse as most homeowners neglect it in home remodels. While there are many causes of basement water, one of the main culprits according to American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) is hydrostatic pressure.

If you have tried searching for a basement water solution online, you must have come across the phrase on most forums. As a homeowner, it is important to understand what this kind of pressure is and the risk it poses to your property.

Hydrostatic Pressure in Brief

This can be defined as constant water pressure being exerted on basement walls. Hydrostatic pressure increases as the subsurface depth increases. In essence, basement walls are most susceptible to this water pressure due to location below the surface level. The impact of water pressure is immense; 4 feet of water for instance exerts around 300 pounds of pressure per square foot of concrete wall.

Greater the depth of the walls leads to the higher pressure and risk of water damage. To better understand this kind of pressure, consider what happens when you dive deeper in a pool of water. The deeper you go the higher the pressure and discomfort. This is the same situation a basement wall experiences beneath the ground level.

Structures built on a hilly area or below the water table are more prone to hydrostatic pressure. This pressure forces standing water against the walls and with time, any small gaps or cracks will expand leading to basement water problems. If your house is blocking the downward flow of water, there is great danger to the foundation as this force increases.

Signs of Water Pressure Damage

One of the greatest problems when it comes to dealing with water pressure below the ground is the fact that warning signs are not very obvious. However, you should be on the lookout for the following:

  • Mold/ mildew growth on fabrics and wood surfaces
  • Effervescence on the walls
  • Wall cracks
  • Musty smell in the basement
  • High humidity levels

In case you notice any of these warning signs, you should immediately call in a foundation contractor. These experts have the tools and expertise to diagnose and treat the problem. The idea is to relieve this pressure as opposed to fighting it.

This involves allowing easier water flow through a French tile, external/ internal drain tile, sump pump systems, and proper surface water drainage among other techniques.

Contact us today for more information!