Causes of a Wet Basement
While sandy soils remain stable as water passes through them, soils rich in clay undergo significant changes based on their moisture content.
When clay type soils dry out, they shrink significantly — so much that the ground can become covered with cracks. But after a heavy rain, the cracks are gone and the soil is fully saturated with water.
Because clay soil absorbs so much water, it expands during wet weather. Expansive clay soils can put enormous pressure on your basement or foundation walls. When the pressure becomes more than the wall can handle, the wall will begin to push inwards.
Previously excavated soil to accommodate your home’s construction is backfilled and replaced around the foundation walls once they are complete. This loose, fluffy, aerated soil is not tightly packed like undisturbed soil farther away from the house. Because of this, water can easily collect in the soil directly surrounding the home and create a “clay bowl.” The soil expands and contracts as it becomes saturated and dries out. When saturated soil expands, it puts pressure on the foundation walls known as hydrostatic pressure. When this constant force becomes more than the walls can bear, they will begin to show signs of failure in the form of cracks and inward movement. Water also can leak inside and potentially flood your home.
Mold, musty smells, and leaking basement walls got you down? These leaky basement symptoms won’t go away on their own, and only get worse with time. It’s commonly believed that temporary fixes like basement waterproofing paint, caulk, and spackle will solve your basement problems; but these “solutions” play out more like bandages. Foundation Repair of Western Colorado has more than a decade of experience in high-quality, permanent basement waterproofing. Learn more about what we can do to reinvigorate your basement once and for all.
Is Basement Waterproofing the Right Solution for My Home?
Foundation Repair of Western Colorado has an array of customizable basement waterproofing solutions like superior vapor barriers, interior and exterior drainage systems, dehumidifiers, and more. The snowy Colorado climate can take a toll on your basement and foundation walls; a free inspection with our local waterproofing experts can determine the magnitude of your basement’s damage, and provide you with a no-pressure quote for repairs. Even for small-scale basement concerns, call our experts to rule out structural issues. We’re proud to help restore your faith in your home with more than a decade of foundation and waterproofing expertise.
There are two answers to this question, both equally true. First, hydrostatic pressure is the most common cause of damage to the foundation and wider structure of properties in Grand Junction, CO. Secondly, hydrostatic pressure is a naturally occurring force that is created and exacerbated by the soil and climate in the area. Because the soil around Grand Junction is largely clay-based and the climate can be very wet at certain times of year, the levels of hydrostatic pressure can be very high and cause many issues.
Hydrostatic pressure is something that all buildings are designed to withstand, but to a certain degree. The issues that often occur as a result of hydrostatic pressure arise because the level of pressure has reached an unbearable level, which is far beyond the normal, planned-for level. This can occur for many reasons including poor drainage, unusual levels of rainfall, localized or widespread flooding, and even flooding from a property’s plumbing system.
Once hydrostatic pressure has started to go beyond the level that your home can cope with, there are different issues that can arise. As well as potentially cracking your property’s foundation, the lateral pressure that is applied can also cause sinking, lateral movement, and, in properties that have a basement, bowing walls. Each of these issues, in turn, can cause secondary and tertiary issues like dampness, increased humidity, mold formation, wood rot, pest infestation, flooding, as well as rust and corrosion to your property’s pipes and appliances. So, there also is a third answer: hydrostatic pressure is also a threat to your health and the interior climate of your home in many ways.
Since hydrostatic pressure is simply the weight of water around your home, rainfall absolutely increases this level of pressure. However, the increase is usually minor.
Rain Raises the Water Table
Even a small amount of rain will add to the level of hydrostatic pressure in your Grand Junction, Colorado, home, but unless the rainfall is significant and prolonged, it is unlikely to add enough water weight to cause serious damage to your home. This is not the only thing you need to worry about when rain starts falling, however, as any amount of rainfall will affect the water table.
The water table is the level at which the soil or substrate is permanently saturated with groundwater. Rainfall can cause this level to rise closer to the surface. If the water table reaches your foundation or basement walls, the amount of hydrostatic pressure they experience will rise heavily and quickly. This can cause damage very easily.
Flooding Adds Serious Pressure
Localized flooding because of heavy and persistent rain, drain overflow, or a rise in the level of a local river presents real damage to your property. Primarily, serious flooding can lead to water entering your home and causing widespread damage to its structure and your belongings (as well as posing a risk to your health and well-being). However, even less severe flooding can increase hydrostatic pressure dramatically.
After all, hydrostatic pressure is about the water in the soil, not water in your home. So even if the flooding in your local area remains low, you should check your home for signs of damage, as the water table will be much higher than usual. Look for cracks, unevenness in your walls, and dips or bulges in your flooring.
Yes. There are some things you can do to protect your home from excessively high levels of hydrostatic pressure and the damage that it can cause.
A little yardwork can go a long way when it comes to managing and reducing hydrostatic pressure around your property. The idea is to remove obstructions to effective drainage and to improve your yard’s ability to manage moisture where possible.
First and foremost, you should remove debris from your yard and perimeter in the fall. Raking leaves may not feel glamorous or important, but it will make a difference. Secondly, you should look for dips and craters around your yard and foundation perimeter. Ideally, your yard should direct water away from your home in a consistent manner. You can also consider how you plant your yard. The right mix of flowers, plants, and bushes can seriously increase your property’s moisture management capabilities.
Your property’s drainage capabilities are all important to the management of saturation and hydrostatic pressure around your home. At the most basic level, this means maintaining and caring for your existing drainage systems as well as you can. Seasonal cleaning and maintenance, the removal of blockages, and the addition of trivial things like extended downspouts can really make all the difference.
If you want to go one step further, you can also invest in more robust drainage options. Installing a sump pump in your home, for example, will make a stark difference to levels of relative humidity and dampness in your home. It will also prevent foundation flooding and flooding inside your basement or crawl space.
Waterproofing a property’s basement or crawl space is common in Grand Junction, CO, for several reasons. There are a lot of older properties in this area and older homes tend to lack the resistance to water that newer properties have thanks to progress in construction methods and materials. There are many different benefits to undertaking this process, but they can be roughly split into the categories of direct benefits and indirect benefits. The precise nature of the benefits that you can expect will depend on your home and your situation.
The benefits of waterproofing that are categorized as direct in nature are those that concern your property’s structure and stability. For example, properties that have a waterproofed crawl space or basement are far less likely to become flooded as a result of exterior sources of moisture and far less likely to experience high levels of relative humidity. Once a property has been properly waterproofed, it is unlikely to have moisture problems unless the source of water is your plumbing system and its attached appliances.
The indirect benefits of waterproofing your home concern the climate within your home and its effects on you and your family. A home that has been properly waterproofed and has lower levels of relative humidity also will have a lower risk of mold formation and pest infestation. This has significant benefits for the health of anyone in the home, especially if they have underlying respiratory and auto-immune conditions. Secondly, waterproofing helps prevent the stack effect from impacting a home and can make the interior climate and temperature more stable, thereby increasing energy efficiency. This will save you money in the long run and make your home far more comfortable.
Insulation is an incredibly important part of waterproofing in any home and has numerous benefits for any space. In a basement, however, proper insulation is doubly important (especially if you intend to finish the space and make it into an inhabitable bedroom or living space). The benefits of proper insulation are many and varied, but there are some limitations to consider.
The main benefit of insulation is the way in which it helps to create a controlled interior climate that is comfortable and healthy. It does this, primarily, by increasing your property’s ability to retain the heat and cold that your HVAC system creates. This is crucial to creating a consistent internal temperature, which is better for you, but also makes your home more energy efficient. As such, insulation could help you save money on your energy bills.
The limitations of insulation are few, but they are important. First, the right kind of insulation must be utilized to ensure the best results. Fiberglass insulation, for example, is very effective but not overly suitable for damp spaces like basements. Foam insulation, by contrast, is far more resistant to water and just as effective as fiberglass insulation. Secondly, to get the best results you should deploy insulation as a part of a wider waterproofing process.
Why Basement Waterproofing Is Needed
When water is left to sit and fester in your dark basement, it develops mold and mildew. Since these infestations are airborne, the fungi brewing in your basement will rise into your home and affect the air quality in your living space. You may notice a hike in allergy symptoms and even asthma.
Protection from Expansive Soil
Colorado is abundant with rich, clay soil. This is excellent for many things, except for the structure of your home. Clay soil is classified as expansive soil, meaning that when it swells with precipitation from rainwater or snowmelt, it grows larger and exerts hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls, setting into motion cracking and leaking.
Preparation for Major Weather Events
As a Coloradan, you’re no stranger to heavy snow beginning as early as October. These weather events have a huge impact on your home over a long period of time. Not taking the proper precautions to protect your basement with drainage systems and waterproofing, you can leave it vulnerable to being overwhelmed during tough winters and serious snowmelt.
Common Basement Waterproofing Tips & Mistakes
Tips For Basement Waterproofing
- Window Wells. Installing window wells or window well protection can ensure that your required egress windows won’t act as a pain point for your newly waterproofed basement. Window wells also act as an extra safety measure for your egress windows if you ever needed to use them to escape your home; the extra step provides another layer of safety.
- Gutters. A healthy gutter can contribute to a happy basement. When your gutters are working properly, it encourages safe moisture levels in the clay soil around your home and slows down the soil expansion process. If your gutters malfunction or clog, water will pool around your foundation and set hydrostatic pressure into motion.
- Install Backup Measures. When you invest in a sump pump or other drainage systems, it’s important to also consider a backup in the case that your home loses power or your discharge line freezes. A sump pump backup battery or a discharge line FreezeGuard™ should do the trick, in addition to other solutions that your certified field inspector will suggest. Though you may never end up using these solutions, they can be a lifesaver when they do kick into gear.
Mistakes For Basement Waterproofing
- Doing At-Home Waterproofing Repairs. While it’s always important to know how to fix things around your home, basement repair and waterproofing DIYs typically tend to be temporary solutions. Waterproofing professionals at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado know how to find the true source of your foundation issues and apply a permanent solution, so you won’t have to keep trying the latest fad.
- Ignoring Maintenance. Keeping a consistent eye on your basement waterproofing solutions can ensure that they remain permanent solutions. That’s why we offer annual maintenance for the solutions that we install; you can have an expert check up on your basement and ensure it’s still functioning properly.
- Not Paying Attention to Landscaping in Your Yard. Negative yard grading can work against your basement; and if you don’t pay attention to your yard’s landscaping, your foundation will suffer. Negative yard grading means that there’s a slight slope pointing toward your home. This will cause rainwater to flow toward your home and pool around your foundation, which can be detrimental.
Find your service area
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