Excess water in the basement is a common occurrence for many homeowners. Even though it can be frustrating, it does not necessarily imply your home was built incorrectly. Whether it is from hydrostatic pressure or the “Clay Bowl” effect, most foundations experience leaks from time to time. If the issues in your basement progress past occasional leaking, it’s time to investigate what’s causing it.
Hydrostatic pressure occurs when water seeps into the ground around the foundation and gradually builds up. The water buildup around the foundation puts pressure on walls and imperfect joints. As hydrostatic pressure increases, water will attempt to find a way into your basement anyway it can—seeping through porous concrete, block wall foundations, cracks and wall joints.
As hydrostatic pressure increases and decreases, it continually adds and takes away stress from foundation walls. When hydrostatic pressure decreases and water dries out around the foundation, the house can settle. This expanding and shrinking can create lateral pressure. Lateral pressure will create horizontal, vertical, diagonal or stair-step cracks and weaken the walls, creating a perfect opening for water to intrude.
Clay Bowl Effect
In addition to pressure buildup, the “Clay Bowl” effect can also cause leaks. When building a foundation, builders dig a hole in the ground larger than the actual basement. After the foundation is built, the gap around the foundation is backfilled with excavated soil. This soil will never be as hard-packed as the “virgin soil” surrounding it and, as a result, the backfill soil absorbs more water than the compacted soil. This forms a sort of “clay bowl” around your home, creating an artificial water table—exactly where you don’t want it to be.
So, how do you dry a wet basement? By relieving pressure and stopping water at the point where it enters the structure.
Despite where your leak is coming from, Foundation Systems of Michigan offers proven solutions to fix any basement. Call 877-DRY-MICH for more information on how we can help with your basement leak.