Hydrostatic Pressure? The Reason Your Basement Leaks When it Rains

Hydrostatic Pressure

Do you dread the patter of rain on the ground? If your basement turns into a swimming pool every time it rains, your mood may get dark when the sky begins to get cloudy. No one can blame you. Dealing with the wet basement can be tough.

How The Water Is Getting In

You may have combed your basement looking for the cracks that are letting the water in and failed to come across any. At this point, frustration will begin to set in. Before you throw in the towel and resign yourself to a lifetime of flooded basements, you should try to understand the role that hydrostatic pressure plays in the flooding of your basement.

When water is absorbed by the ground, it collects in the soil. A water column is formed in the soil. This can exert pressure on the foundation of a building. If the water column is high (e.g. when it rains heavily) the water column will exert a lot of pressure on the foundation walls.

The water in the soil will look for a way to escape. This is often through any spaces in your foundation. These spaces don’t have to be large. They can be hairline cracks or even the pores in the blocks that make up your foundation. This results in the flooding of your basement.

How to Deal with Hydrostatic Pressure

The best way to deal with this situation is to give the water an alternative route to follow. This can be done by installing drain tile. Drain tile consists of a perforated PVC pipe that is laid in a trench. Water moves through the soil and trickles into the pipe through the perforations. The water is then guided to a drain or well where it can be pumped out.

Drain tile relieves the pressure on your foundation. It not only prevents further flooding in the basement but also prevents the basement walls from bowing under the pressure.

Other Things You Can Do

There are various other things you can do to prevent hydrostatic pressure from building up against the walls of your foundation including:

  1. Proper grading of your landscape. The landscape should slope away from the foundation. This will prevent water from collecting near the foundation walls.
  2. Cleaning down spouts and gutters. This will prevent water from collecting and draining near the foundation of the home.
  3. Lengthening downspouts. This will prevent water from being deposited near the foundation.

Be sure to talk to a professional contractor when your basement floods. Don’t ignore it. It won’t go away.