No one wants to have unwanted water in their basement. At minimum, having water in your basement equates to losing the use of your basement. At its worst, water in your basement ruins personal property and creates an unhealthy environment where mold and mildew can flourish.
What’s Your Problem?!?!
To solve a water problem in your basement, it helps to understand the reason why the problem exists. There are different dynamics that can contribute to having water in your basement, and, in turn, there are different methods of correcting these problems.
Hydrostatic pressure is a result of completely water-saturated soil surrounding the foundation of your home. The result is that enough pressure is built up to find the path of least resistance, a weak point in the floor, for example. Any crack or joint may be the path water uses to get into your basement. The flowing water will actually enter one or multiple weak spots. If you see water or extreme dampness on the majority of the perimeter of the foundation, chances are that there is hydrostatic pressure occurring.
Your options are limited in this situation. This amount of saturation means the water table in your area is such that there will always be a dampness issue. A drain tile system will need to be installed to relieve pressure against your foundation. To accomplish this, you need to jack hammer through your basement floor to create area for tile (perforated poly pipe must be installed below the slab of concrete) and dig a sump basin, where the water collects inside your home. Experts also recommend that you place drain tiles on the outside of the foundation as well, which requires excavation around the outside of your home. With new construction, it’s suggested that the dual drain tile approach is used prior to final landscaping.
Cost of this solution can vary from $1,000 to $20,000 (or more) depending on variables such as utility equipment, landscaping, decks or patios, etc. However, if you have this situation in your basement, it must be addressed.
With head pressure you will also see saturation in the surrounding soil. However, the water arrives on the scene by a grade initiated flow (downhill) or negative grade around the home with your lawn or landscaping. Often times better grading of your yard around your home can improve drainage.
The likely symptoms of head pressure can be one or more of the following:
- Cracks in the wall at any height
- Seepage around the wall footing
- Leaking around tie pins (1/2″ rods in the concrete)
- Dampness/leaking through honeycomb concrete (aggregate can be seen, creating a porous section of the concrete because the compaction was done incorrectly when the concrete was poured)
- Cold joints—where sections of concrete were poured at different times and the lower section began hardening prior to the pouring of the upper section. The resulting seam is where leaking can occur. It’s easily seen because the sections are often different colors.
The most reliable option for correcting these problems is applying epoxy in cracks, honeycomb, tie pins, and cold joints. The costs for the epoxy treatment can vary between $400 and $700 and has a very high success rate. However, if you have seeping through your wall footing joints, more often than not, drain tile will have to be installed.
Typical interior retrofit for drain tile installations includes cutting concrete back from wall about 18″, trenching, laying drain tile and gravel, and then resurfacing.
You can control the water in your basement as long as you understand what is causing the problem. Once you do, you can apply the appropriate corrective measures and enjoy your basement, and more importantly, have peace of mind knowing your property is protected.