Most homeowners complain or wet or damp basements, and as a matter of fact, it is one of the most complained about issues for owners. Over 60% of basements have water seep in, and sealing and bonding methods to prevent this, have withstood the test of time. Because of moisture, an additional 38% of owners complain of mold.
Why do basements leak?
Melting snow, a heavy rainstorm, raising in groundwater levels, are just a few of the reasons this occurs. A 1500 sq foot roof can shed up to 1000 gallons of water and gutters get plugged with debris, so where else will the water go?
“Reverse grading” is an issue with newer homes which occurs many years after construction. The fill water around the home will direct water directly to the home’s foundation, resulting in major damage.
Hydrostatic pressure occurs when water builds up around the home and causes the basement to leak. Soils which are rich in clay don’t hold the water well, causing further damage. Water will push its way through joints, and raising groundwater levels further cause damage to the home’s surface. Houses settle and underground water flow levels change, and newer constructions may shift because of such changes.
When homes settle the foundation develops cracks which leak water. The exterior waterproofing eventually disintegrates, causing steel to imbed, walls to crack, and concrete to expand, causing damage.
Efflorescence is a signal that water seepage has penetrated into the concrete’s pores. As the concrete ages it becomes more porous, making it possible for greater expansion and damage. Salt and lime develops as this water dries resulting in the “white deposit” around the home. This is a sign of capillary damage to the home.
Plastic barriers don’t last, however much thinner basement walls get far less protection without them. The plastic “vapor” barrier will eventually disintegrate because of the lime development which is taking place in the concrete surface. This eventually results in the concrete pulling up the groundwater, which causes further capillary damage.
Damage occurs for many reasons, as a homeowner, understanding these issues is the first step to not only preventing them, but saving yourself money and headaches along the way, by properly sealing and placing appropriate barriers around the home.