A basement slab is a crucial part of a home’s structure. That means that a damaged concrete slab can compromise the home’s integrity. The weight of the house must be able to securely rest on the foundation, which is why these problems need to be addressed as quickly as possible. A lot of homes in Livonia, MI, near Detroit, have basements. These areas can be used for storage or be converted into an additional living space that can be used for all sorts of purposes. One of the problems that can occur with the basement slab is a slab leakage. In this post we will address the ways you can recognize this problem, fix it, or avert it entirely.
Detecting a Slab Leak Problem
A slab leak occurs when the concrete has cracked and created an opening for water to come into the basement. If your foundation leak is severe, you will notice that your flooring is starting to lose its original shape. It is also possible that your home will start to smell bad due to mold and mildew. Gaps and cracks in the basement walls can also appear. Another telltale sign that should not be ignored is mold growth. Mold exposure can harm you and your loved ones and lead to respiratory problems.
What Causes Slab Leakage in Basements?
When water starts entering the basement through the slab, the blame is often placed on faulty plumbing below the basement. Problems with plumbing occur for several reasons, from faulty installation and weakened water lines, to chemical reactions of metals in the earth to those in the plumbing system.
Therefore, it is important to receive a plumbing inspection once a year and to call a professional who will make sure that everything is in order with your air conditioning and heating systems. However, faulty plumbing is not always the problem behind a slab leak. Here are several other causes of slab leakage and ways to fix them.
If the contractors who built your home used substandard materials, your foundation won’t be able to carry the load and will begin to crack, letting the water into your basement. Therefore, when building a new home, make sure you hire professional and experienced builders, since it may save you a lot of trouble. Keep in mind that insurance companies don’t cover the cost of repairs if poor workmanship is the reason behind the damage.
Shifting of Expansive Soils
Some homes are built on expansive soils. During droughts, the particles in the soil lose all their moisture and shrink, leaving behind gaps in the ground. The foundation, no longer supported by the soil, begins to settle into those gaps. On the other hand, when there are heavy rainstorms or large volumes of snow begin to melt, soil particles expand, putting extra pressure on the foundation.
Since soil settles at different rates, the foundation can begin to crack, letting water in. If your foundation is settling, do not delay the repairs. Such problems need to be fixed as quickly as possible. If they are not addressed at all, they will escalate and the whole structure could eventually collapse.
Luckily, there are some simple ways specialists can repair a damaged foundation. Push piers are a permanent solution to foundation settlement. They are hot-dip galvanized so they will not rust and they are invisible once they are installed. Their purpose is to raise the foundation back toward its original position. Slab piers have the same purpose and are ideal for slab foundations.
If your home was built at the lowest point of your property, all the water runoff will rush toward your house, soaking the soil around it. This can cause shifting in the soil that will lead to cracks in your foundation and slab leaks. The easiest way to solve this problem for good is to regrade your yard. When your yard is positively graded, water will be directed away from your home, and it won’t cause the building up of the hydrostatic pressure around your foundation.
Tree Root Infestation
There is a reason it is not recommended to plant large trees close to your home. In time, they will grow even bigger and their root system will expand. Once it approaches your foundation, it can cause cracks and other damage. It can also damage plumbing that is below the slab and cause leakage. When you are planting new trees, make sure that large ones are at least 20 feet away from your home, while shrubs can be planted five feet away.
Waterproofing a Leaky Floor Crack
If water is coming out of your basement slab, installing a lateral line drainage system to collect water is a great solution. This system will direct water toward your sump pump system, keeping your basement dry. However, it is recommended to install a perimeter drainage system beforehand. When the drains are in place, your contractor can backfill with stone and place a fresh layer of concrete over the area.
Slab leaks tend to get worse over time. If you have a damaged foundation, call your local specialists right away. Professionals at FSM offer a free inspection and quote. A skilled expert will come to your home, inspect the damage and decide which solutions will best restore your foundation to its previous state.