Basement Waterproofing Wiki
The Basement Waterproofing Wiki is your guide to the most common basement waterproofing questions. Learn about the causes of basement humidity, mold, and what to look for. Don't see your question here? Check out our "JES Fix It" tool to find your home's basement problem and learn about the solution.
If you still have questions, give us a call at 866-370-4816 to request that a basement waterproofing inspector come out to your home for free, and take a look at your basement problem.
Basement Waterproofing Q & A
Q: If my basement footing drains are clogged, why can't I just clean them?
A: When your home's foundation was installed, a footing drain was installed next to the basement footing to help keep the basement dry.
Since the footing drain is installed deep in the ground, next to your foundation, you can see that getting to the drain to clean it can present a problem. Cleaning the footing drain typically involves excavating and digging down to the footing drain, then digging it up to clean it out.
This process is messy, damages your landscape and can damage your basement foundation. (Yikes!) But you can keep your basement dry even with clogged footing drains, by waterproofing your basement.
Q: What's a basement footing?
A: The basement footing is a block of concrete, typically 16-20 inches wide, that your basement foundation sits on. The basement footing is responsible for distributing the weight of your house so that it will not sink or settle.
The soil that your home is built on plays a large part in the type of basement footing that is needed. If you live in an area that has loose soil, then your basement footing will need to be wider.
Q: What does drainage grading matter? The water's just soaking into the ground.
A: Any water that drains next to your home drains down next to your foundation. As the soil absorbs the water it creates hydrostatic pressure. The hydrostatic pressure pushes water into your basement and can even be the cause of basement foundation cracks.
Good drainage grading prevents water from draining next to your foundation and creating problems.
Q: What's drain tile?
A: Drain tile is also called a footing drain. The drain tile was installed next to the basement footing when your home was built. Holes are drilled into the drain tile, and the drain is installed under a layer or stone.
Q: What's hydrostatic pressure?
A: Hydrostatic pressure is the weight of water when it's at rest. It is a big source of foundation repair problems and basement waterproofing problems. Poor drainage, clay soil, underground water sources and extreme weather all contribute to hydrostatic pressure.
The water collecting around your foundation has to go somewhere. And if the footing drains are clogged, then the water can go into your basement. The hydrostatic pressure pushes against your basement foundation and will eventually cause cracks, leaks, acid damage and other problems.
Q: What’s a French Drain?
A: A French Drain is also known as drain tile. French Drains are designed to redirect water away from your home’s foundation. They’re installed when your home is built and are located around the foundation wall or under the basement floor.
The French Drain’s located below the surface and typically involves a layer of gravel laid around a pipe. The pipe can have holes to collect ground water or extra moisture from rain, which it will then drain away from your foundation.
French Drains are prone to clogging which can lead to a flooded basement. And it’s not always easy to clean French Drains since they’re deep in the ground, next to your foundation. So it’s important to have other waterproofing solutions installed.
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