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Solving The Effects of Hydrostatic Pressure in Your Home

When it comes to dealing with hydrostatic pressure, prevention is better than cure.

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It’s hard to comprehend how water can push or pass through a concrete wall. Although it is solid, it’s no match for water pressure that pushes slowly and steadily into cracks and pores. This is likely to happen if water pools around your home’s foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. 

A lot of homeowners will try to fix the resulting problem instead of preventing the issues that allow hydrostatic pressure to take effect. If this is the approach that’s taken, it will be more so a losing battle. Here, we explain what hydrostatic pressure is and ways it can be prevented from impacting your home. 

hydrostatic pressure chart

What is Hydrostatic Pressure? 

Hydrostatic pressure is the force that standing water exerts on your foundation walls or anything in its path. This water is usually from rainfall, snowmelt, or a high-water table. Water weighs 60 pounds per cubic foot and can produce immense hydrostatic pressure when substantial amounts are obstructed from following a natural course. 

The soil type around your home determines how much moisture it will hold and whether the soil will expand and shrink. Clay soil tends to absorb lots of water than sandy soil and is more likely to cause water pressure to build up around your basement wall. With nowhere to go, the water will start pushing out against the foundation walls, leading to cracks or bowing walls. 

How You Can Prevent Hydrostatic Pressure 

The best way of preventing hydrostatic pressure is putting in place preventative measures during the construction process. Your architect or builder can plan to avoid water buildup through foundation design. If you are past this stage, you can implement the following measures: 

Install weep holes 

Tap the source of water by drilling weep holes into the lowest course of concrete blocks. These holes will help drain out water that comes from the back of the basement walls through leaks, capillary action, or infiltration. These reduce the effective height of the water table and water pressure, thereby lowering the total pressure acting on your walls. Weep holes are created by removing mortar from the vertical joint between blocks or bricks. Typical joint spacing is done at intervals of 21 inches. A drip is added at the front lip to aid drainage. 

Seal basement cracks 

As water builds up around the walls and beneath the basement floor, it will start pushing out into your living areas through tiny cracks or openings. You may notice water seeping through various entry points, which should be sealed to avoid worsening the moisture in the area.

Improve exterior drainage 

Some homeowners assume that water ponding around their foundation won’t impact their basement. Big mistake! Foundation walls are made of concrete that’s porous. While this material is strong, it stands no chance against huge volumes of water. 

Install a sump pump 

The weather in Baltimore, Maryland, can take a turn for the worse in spring. Heavy downpours and rainstorms can release unusually excessive amounts of water. And some of it may find its way into your home. To ensure excess water doesn’t enter the basement and pool around its floor, it could be beneficial to install a sump pump. This appliance sits over a sump pit and gets activated by a float switch when water rises to a certain level. It then pumps the excess water away from your home through a drainage pipe.

Re-grade your yard 

Many issues stem from the fact that water keeps constantly draining toward, and not away, from your home’s perimeter. Landscaping your yard goes a long way in preventing water from ponding around your foundation. Your yard should ideally slope by six to eight inches for every 10 feet. This way, water flows out and away naturally. 

Install gutters and downspouts 

Water from your roof might end up around your home’s foundation during a rain shower. This can be prevented by installing gutters and downspouts. Gutters collect and channel water to the downspouts, which directs it away from your home. 

Install an interior drain 

An interior drainage system has four components: a drainage pipe, gravel, a layer of concrete, and a discharge system. This system collects excess water and drains it to a location far away from your foundation, basement, or crawl space. They’re installed along the interior perimeter of the basement and are a vital retrofit for older homes that don’t have built-in drainage systems. 

Is water threatening your foundation or your basement? Contact the waterproofing experts at JES Foundation Repair for a free foundation repair inspection and quote. We’ll come over and check out the condition of your foundation, then perform the necessary repairs before installing our warranty-backed waterproofing solutions to lock water out for good. 

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