Water Table Is Higher? Prevent Damage To Your Foundation By Waterproofing

Summer storms can be hard on a home. So, what do you do if your home is damaged by one of these summer storms? Click here for tips.

Water Table Is Higher? Prevent Damage To Your Foundation By Waterproofing

22 December 2021
 Categories: , Blog

Most homeowners are aware of the fact that an increase in groundwater around their home can increase their risks of having a flooded basement, such as when there's a heavy rainfall. These types of flooding conditions are generally temporary in nature. However, water tables and aquifers can change over time, which can cause basements to continually be flooded or wet and can also damage the structural integrity of your foundation walls. 

Here's what you need to know if you've noticed your basement walls are bowing or buckling inwards. 

A Higher Water Table = An Increase in Hydrostatic Pressure

An increase in the water table can cause an increase in hydrostatic pressure against your basement walls. This pressure can cause your foundation walls to bow or buckle. You can use this interactive map to locate a water table observation well nearest to your home to see how the water table has changed over time.

For example, a well just north of Pittsburgh had risen from a depth of 8 feet in 1967 to an average depth of almost 5 feet in 2019. Considering that full basements are generally 7 feet in depth, this can present a problem for flooding or wet basements. If this water table continues to rise, homeowners in the area may have problems with their foundation walls bowing. 

Another way that the groundwater can change over time and start putting more hydrostatic pressure on your walls is when there is a lot of significant changes around your home and in neighboring properties, such as the construction of large buildings or changes to the topography. 

Waterproofing Your Basement to Prevent Structural Damage

Fortunately, you can reduce your risks of having structural damage to your foundation from changes in the hydrostatic pressure by waterproofing your basement. There are several methods of waterproofing foundation walls. Some homeowners choose only one method while others choose several methods for an all-encompassing approach to waterproofing the foundation. Since your concern is that of damage from hydrostatic pressure and not just preventing flooding in the basement, speak with a waterproofing contractor to determine which method is right for your home. Some methods are: 

  • Repair all cracks. All cracks in your foundation walls should be filled in with epoxy or foam to prevent water from leaking through the cracks and also to strengthen the weakened areas in the concrete where the cracks are located. This is a necessary method of waterproofing, regardless of which other methods you choose to use. 
  • Carbon-fiber straps. One of the most cost-effective methods of preventing a foundation wall from bowing or buckling inward is to apply carbon-fiber straps to the walls. These straps are anchored to the top and the bottom of the foundation walls every several feet. The straps are very strong and are glued or sealed to the concrete. The straps fight against the pressure put on the wall from the groundwater, which will prevent the walls from bowing or buckling from the pressure. 
  • French drainage system. A French-drainage system is another method of preventing the hydrostatic pressure from building up against your basement walls. To install a French drain, the ground around your home will need to be excavated to the depth of the bottom of the foundation. A perforated pipe will be placed at the bottom and the hole will be filled with gravel and sand. The drain will collect water and direct it to a sump pump or a storm drain. 

Depending on the topography of your property, you may want to consider speaking with your neighbors to see what they have done, if anything, to waterproof their basements to prevent damage from an increase in hydrostatic pressure from the groundwater.  

About Me
clean up and repair after summer storms

Summer storms can be hard on a home. Roofing, siding, windows and basements can all quickly get damaged by a single powerful storm that blows through town. So, what do you do if your home is damaged by one of these summer storms? I created this blog after going through the clean up and repair process twice in a single summer. I have learned a lot about what to do before the damage repair contractors arrive to help minimize the damage that the home sustains. I hope that you find these tips as helpful as I have during the stressful time of clean up and repair.