Foundation damage can be a pain in the neck and can be costly to fix. It is caused by a variety of problems, and some of those are water problems. We all know that large amounts of water next to our foundation is not going to be good for it. However, sometimes that’s not the only cause for water-related foundation problems.
When your home was first built, the contractors had to dig out a hole in the ground for your foundation or crawlspace. In the case of a basement, the hole is dug fairly deep into the soil, and it is made wider than the actual foundation and walls will be. This is because the structure has to fit within and needs room for settlement. Pockets devoid of soil are left around the foundation. Eventually they will be filled with the leftover soil from digging out the foundation. Water problems tend to start here.
The soil that was not dug out for the foundation has been packed down for hundreds of thousands of years and is extremely stable because of that. Unfortunately, the soil that fills in the space beside your foundation is not as packed down and is easier to permeate with water. Obviously this can cause some big problems when water is right next to your foundation–exactly where you don’t want it to be. The soil around your foundation will always be looser and more permeable than the rest of the “virgin” soil that hasn’t been dug up. This forms a sort of “clay bowl” around your house — one that creates an artificial water table around your home.
Water that gets into the soil around your foundation causes lots of symptoms like cracks, bowing walls, water damage, and even flooding. How does this happen? When water permeates the soil, it can push against your foundation. This is called hydrostatic pressure. It means that when the water gets into the soil, the soil expands, and that puts stress on your foundation.
As hydrostatic pressure builds against your foundation, water will work its way in through any way possible. This can mean through cracks, the wall-floor joint, windows, around pipes, and more. The most common of these is the wall-floor joint, and it is usually solved by creating a perimeter drainage system.
There are many different solutions to water-related foundation damage, and they will be unique to your unique situation. For example, if you are having problems in your crawlspace with moisture, you may want to consider a crawlspace vapor barrier. This will cover your whole crawlspace and keep out moisture, bugs, and other mold. However, you may want to attack a problem like that with a multi-step approach involving fixing the foundation damage that is causing the water to get inside your crawlspace, and fixing your current crawlspace damage.
Other solutions include a perimeter drainage system, sump pumps, crawlspace encapsulation, crack repair, bowing wall repair, and more. The solutions are endless because the problems each customer encounters are different and unique. Give us a call at Foundation Systems of West Virginia to get advice and guidance on the next step to take for your water-related foundation damage. We can also set up a free estimate with you and get started on fixing the problem.