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Learning Why Basements Start Leaking Water


As the run-ff seeps through the soft topsoil around the house, it pushes against the walls and stops at the undisturbed ground just beneath the footings. Footing drains may break as the house settles, or silt up. If  the soil is clay, water then starts rising in the disturbed soil around the foundation like inside a pool.

Hydrostatic Pressure
When water accumulates around the foundation, hydrostatic pressure builds up and causes the basement toleak. Clay-rich soils do not drain well and hold rainwater right against the foundation walls. Water pushes its way inside through any cracks or joints and the pores in concrete. Rising groundwater is sometimes the problem or even an underground spring. Houses settle and underground water flows change. New construction down the street may shift groundwater flows and cause basement leaks in your house.

 

Settling Cracks
As houses settle, concrete develops stress cracks that leak water. Exterior waterproofing disintegrates or separates due to the "alkali attack." When water gets to imbedded steel, it rusts, expands and cracks the concrete.

Efflorescence Signifies Water Seepage
Water penetrates into the pores in concrete, dissolves alkalis, and enlarges the pores. As concrete ages, it becomes more and more porous. the seeping water evaporates, leaving on the surface salts and lime. This "white deposit" or efflorescence is a telltale sign of capillary water seepage.

Plastic Barriers Do Not Last
Concrete slabs, although much thinner than basement walls get even less waterproofing protection. The plastic "vapor barrier" soon disintegrates due to the lime in concrete and over time, the layer of gravel ("drainage pad") silts up. Then, the concrete starts pulling in groundwater by capillary

 

 

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