What Causes Basement
Your basement foundation is built in a large hole. Before your basement foundation was poured, the virgin soil where your home is built was dug out to create the space to build the foundation. After the concrete for your basement foundation was poured and dried, a drain is installed near the basement footings and the area is backfilled.
Backfilled soil is much looser than the virgin soil since it has been disturbed and dug up. Virgin soil is undisturbed soil. Virgin soil is more compact and stable than backfilled soil which allows water movement next to your foundation.
Clogged Footing Drains
A footing drain is installed just outside of your home's basement foundation. This drain is meant to keep water away from your foundation but it can easily clog. The footing drain is thick pipe that has holes drilled into it to allow water to drip into the pipe.
Stone is laid on top of the drain pipe to prevent the backfill from clogging the pipe. Over time the backfill seeps through the stone and clogs the pipe. There's no way to keep the footing pipe clean unless you want to excavate the ground surrounding your home to flush the pipe. This is incredibly messy, expensive and could damage your foundation. And who wants to do that?
A clogged footing drain will not collect any more water. So the water puddles up into the backfill and starts pushing against your home. The weight of the water creates pressure which pushes against your foundation - this is also called hydrostatic pressure.
The hydrostatic pressure pushes the water into the porous concrete and through cracks in the block or mortar. Over time the hydrostatic pressure, soil settlement and seasonal changes can result in basement wall cracks or cracks in the poured concrete.
The backfilled soil around your basement foundation will settle. As the soil settles it will sink towards your foundation, creating a slope which allows water to run next to your basement foundation, eventually causing hydrostatic pressure.
If your gutters don't point away from your basement foundation then this can add to the soil settlement problem. You can help prevent some of the hydrostatic pressure from soil settlement by adding dirt to the sunken soil.
Basement Wall Cracks
Concrete cracks happen. A basement wall crack or crack in your basement floor can let water in. The wall cracks are a sign that your basement foundation is experiencing other structural problems.
When hurricane season comes around, you need to do more than prepare for the hurricane by buying supplies. You also need to prep your home for the heavy rain and flooding that the storm may bring.
The heavy rain and flooding brought by the hurricane contribute to hydrostatic pressure and soil settlement. Both of which can result in basement wall cracks and a very wet basement. So when hurricane season comes around, make sure to check your sump pump, current waterproofing and have a plan in place to help keep your basement dry. When in doubt, call your local basement water proofing experts.
Just like its summer and fall cousin, the Nor’easter is famous for flooding basements. The heavy rain and flooding caused by Nor’easters adds to hydrostatic pressure and soil settlement problems, both of which can cause basement wall cracks.
A Nor’easter can occur any time of the year but is notorious for occurring during the winter. It’s called a Nor’easter because it travels to the northeast from the south. These storms can cause flooding, hurricane force winds, heavy rain and snow. All of which can spell trouble for your basement.
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Wow! This guy was really on the ball and helpful. Turns out we didn't have foundation damage and he took the time to explain how he knew this and what he thought was the problem. And when I asked other questions he was really helpful and nice. I would definitely recommend and use in the future.
~ Beatrice W.