It's sometimes surprising how water can damage a home's foundation. After all, a typical residential foundation is a thick slab of poured cement set into the ground or heavy mortar blocks. What harm could a liquid like water do? As it turns out, water can affect the foundation in a number of ways, both directly and indirectly. Under the right conditions and given enough time, water can make expensive foundation repairs necessary, as well as infiltrate the house and cause indoor water damage. Here are three ways water can damage a home's foundation.
- External pressure. If the local soil drains efficiently, rainwater quickly penetrates deep into the ground and is carried away. However, if the soil is dense and absorbent the ground surrounding the house swells, exerting significant pressure against foundation walls. In time, this pressure causes cracks and gaps and water seepage into the basement. As disintegration continues, foundation walls may eventually tip or rotate inward, requiring major foundation rehab work.
- Ground water. In areas where the local water table rises near the surface, it may push against the underside of the foundation. Called “hydrostatic pressure,” this force of rising ground water is powerful and continuous. While it's not likely to lift the foundation out of the ground, it will infiltrate water into the basement through cracks and joints that widen over time, and even permeate solid concrete. A tile drainage system to divert ground water away and a sump pump installed in the basement floor are preventive measures against foundation damage.
- Pooling. Water pooling on the surface around the perimeter of the house eventually degrades concrete and mortar foundations. The most frequent cause is landscaping that slopes toward the house, instead of away. This causes rainwater to pool close to the house where it seeps down into the foundation. Other causes include clogged, overflowing rain gutters that cascading water to the ground, or downspouts that are too short and allow discharged water to flow back toward the house.
For solutions to the many ways water can damage a home's foundation, contact the professionals at Rytech, Inc.