Water gaining entry via the concrete in basement walls and foundations is the root of most foundation problems. Concrete is a porous material, so some water will eventually make its way through it. However, it’s the pressure of saturated soil that really creates issues in terms of structural damage and flooding.
What Moisture Does
Whether it’s from moisture in the air, rain or snow, water in the soil causes the soil to expand and push outward. In addition to water being absorbed, it fills any soil gaps and erodes the dirt. The pressure from the saturated soil presses against the foundation. This can cause more than one problem.
Lateral and Horizontal Cracking
Cracks in basement walls are not always up and down, although contractors usually design basements to withstand vertical (up and down) pressure. Sometimes, saturated soil exerts lateral pressure on concrete, causing it to crack horizontally. This horizontal cracking is what creates bowed basement walls.
Mold and mildew can form when there is too much moisture in the air. It spreads easily and can spore in your basement, including in air vents and ductwork. Mold can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions in those sensitive to it or who have lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema. Attempting to clean mold on your own is hazardous.
Houses in areas prone to flooding or heavy rainfall may have flooded basements if foundations aren’t properly waterproofed. Water can leak in through cracks in the walls and foundation or via windows that have moved due to foundation shifting. If you have encountered this situation, it’s time to invest in a quality sump pump or two with backup battery packs in case of power failure. Never plug in anything, such as fans, while you are standing in water.
Above the Basement
When foundations shift because of pressure, things can start becoming damaged or off-kilter above stairs as well. Once upon a time, your home’s framework was level, but as the ground moved, so did the framing. This means everything built around the framework is subject to movement, too.
Signs above that something may be off below include doors with uneven gaps at the bottom or top or along the sides. If you have trouble year-round with a door that is hard to close or the doorjamb is not level, it likely is due to foundation shifting. Gaps around windows and cracks in the glass also point to foundations issues. When framework shifts, it can cause cracks in the ceiling or emanate from doorjambs. It also can result in sagging floors.
What to Do
Wet basements and foundations are nothing to sneeze at. Get a repair estimate as soon as you notice something is wrong. You don’t have to commit to hiring someone, but at least you’ll know the condition in which your foundation is. Ideally, have all issues addressed: ones that need an immediate fix and ones that will need to be repaired in the future.
Do not attempt to repair water issues yourself. The foundation is the base of your home and as such, it needs to be taken care of the right way. Trust your home’s foundation only to specialists who have years of experience in the business. You may be inclined to hire a general contractor, but foundations are in a league of their own and require a unique skill set.
Dry Out Your Foundation With Acculevel
The experts at Acculevel have that unique skill set needed to thoroughly and properly address all foundation and basement concerns. We have been specialists in our industry since 1996 and believe honesty is the best policy. We never overcharge, nor do we try to convince clients to have unnecessary repairs done or systems installed. If you have water in your basement and live in the Midwest, including Indiana, give us a call at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected].