Drain Away Water Before It Destroys Your Foundation

Discovering water seeping under your home’s foundation can be an alarming experience for any homeowner. You may notice puddles forming on your basement floor, detect a musty odor from mold or mildew growth, or even see cracks forming in your walls and floors. While a small amount of moisture under the foundation may not be a major issue at first, any water penetration threatens the structural stability of your home over time. If excess water is not properly drained away, it can lead to thousands of dollars in foundation repairs or even complete rebuilding of your home’s foundation.

We provide crucial information on safely draining water away from your foundation to limit damage. With prompt action, you can stop leaks before it’s too late to save your home’s foundation.

What Causes Water To Enter Under Your Foundation

Before covering solutions, it’s important to understand the possible ways water can seep into the ground under your foundation. Some common causes include:

Leaking Pipes

Underground pipes running under or near your home’s foundation can develop leaks over time. Causes include pipe corrosion, freezing temperatures leading to cracked pipes, ground movement putting stress on pipes, and tree roots growing into and damaging pipe walls. Even a pinhole leak lets large amounts of water escape into the surrounding soil.

Improper Drainage

Incorrect grading around the foundation not allowing proper runoff is another culprit. Water can pool next to your home’s walls, eventually permeating through cracks and pores in the concrete. Soil type also plays a role, as dense clay soil prevents rainwater from draining away from the structure.

water seeping through foundation slab

Settling Foundation

As structures age and soil shifts, foundations sink and crack. These fissures allow water to drip into hollow spaces under your home. In turn, this leakage speeds up foundation settlement when the excess moisture erodes load-bearing soils.

High Groundwater Table

Homes built above underground water tables can essentially have foundations submerged in water, especially after heavy rains. Hydrostatic pressure forces moisture through the concrete over time. This problem is prevalent with below-grade basements.

Signs Of A Slab Leak

Catching a leak quickly gives you the best chance to prevent major home damage. Be on the lookout for these common warning signs:

High Water Bills

If your home’s water usage suddenly spikes without explanation, an underground slab leak may be to blame. Track your water meter over time to pinpoint the cause.

Musty Smells

Excess moisture under your foundation encourages mold growth. A persistent musty, earthy smell likely means fungi are spreading in hidden crevices under your home.

Visible Moisture on Slab

You may notice water beading up on your concrete floor, especially on rainy days. This water is likely passing through small fractures in the foundation.

Cracks in Walls or Floors

While cracks from normal settling can appear in walls and ceilings, they are a definite red flag if rapidly growing larger. This signals the waterweakening of structural materials.

Dangers Of Water Under Your Foundation

It’s crucial not to ignore signs of moisture under your foundation. The longer water pools below your home, the more risks it poses:

Rotting Building Materials

Exposed wood beams and support posts will eventually warp and rot when subjected to constant moisture. This comprises the very structure keeping your home standing.

Mold Growth

Trapped water leads to pervasive mold infestations. Various health issues like respiratory irritation and infections can result from prolonged exposure.

Foundation Cracking

Not only do existing cracks widen over time, but water freezing and thawing under your foundation causes rapid new cracking as winter approaches.

Structural Instability

The combination of rotting structural materials and a fracturing slab base means your home’s very stability is at risk. Getting water under control is paramount.

Finding The Water Source

Discovering where water is entering from is key to permanently blocking its access. Here’s how to track down the source of excess moisture:

Inspect Plumbing for Leaks

Thoroughly check water supply pipes near laundry, kitchen and bathroom fixtures for corrosion and cracks. Leaking drain pipes may also be flooding the ground.

Note Corrosion Around Pipes

Corrosion buildup around pipe joints often precedes visible leaks. Addressing corrosion now prevents major pipe failures down the road.

Check for Drainage Issues

Ensure downspouts direct rainwater away from your home’s perimeter and that the ground slopes downward. Flat areas or soil buildup creates pockets where water collects.

Measure Humidity Under the Slab

Using a hygrometer confirms if moisture levels beneath your slab are higher than in your home. This points to water intrusion from below.

Getting Water Out From Under The Slab

Once you tackle ongoing water sources, removing pooled moisture from under the foundation is critical to limit further issues. Consider these methods:

Install Interior and Exterior Foundation Drains

A “perimeter drain” system runs along the interior and exterior base of foundation walls, collecting water and redirecting it away through a sump pump. Though expensive, this comprehensive system is the most failsafe ditch for unwanted water.

Use Sump Pumps

Sump pumps actively push water outdoors. While not solving leaks, they drain away any moisture building up where it can cause damage. Sump liners prevent soil erosion.

Apply Sealants to the Slab Foundation

Waterproof sealants like hydraulic cement fill small cracks in concrete walls and floors, preventing water seeping through. Larger repairs require re-pouring sections of concrete.

Stopping Ongoing Leaks

Eliminating the source of moisture is a multi-pronged approach requiring diligence and preventative maintenance:

Repair Broken Pipes and Lines

Fixing damaged pipes and joints halts the biggest contributor to leaks. Be sure to wrap pipes in protective sealant to prevent wear.

Regrade Soil for Proper Drainage

Ensuring at least 6 inches of slope away from your foundation over 5-10 feet prevents surface ponding. Downspouts should divert water several feet away.

Inject Hydrophilic Grout to Seal Concrete

This gel-like solution fills tiny concrete pores as water activates its expansion. It blocks up to 95% of moisture movement while preserving structural strength.

Preventing Future Leaks

Don’t let your foundation become compromised again after all your hard work stopping leaks. Maintain these habits:

Maintain Drainage System

Monitor your interior and exterior drainage setup to ensure unobstructed flow. Flushing debris from drain pipes preserves capacity.

Regularly Inspect Plumbing

Evaluate pipes twice annually for further corrosion and leaks. Flow issues can indicate collapsed drains. Catch issues before major pipe failures.

Monitor Slab for New Cracks

Despite repairs, concrete eventually ages. Watch for new cracks signaling settlement and reconnect with waterproofing specialists promptly.

When To Call A Professional

While DIY solutions may work for minor moisture, severe leaks or foundation deterioration requires professional equipment and skills. Seek expert assessments if you have:

Signs of Major Structural Issues

Rapidly expanding cracks in walls and ceilings likely require major foundation repairs. Significantly uneven floors also indicate structural instability.

If excess water continues accumulating beneath the slab despite pipe fixes, drainage improvements may be necessary. This confirms major hydrostatic pressure issues.

In conclusion, addressing water intrusion under your foundation early is crucial to avoid expensive structural repairs down the road. With some diligent sleuthing to find moisture sources and the proper water removal methods, you can keep your home’s foundation stable for years to come. Don’t wait to see cracks in your drywall to take action!

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