Wondering if Water can Damage the Foundation of your home? If so, what can be done?
In this guide you will learn:
- How quickly can Water Damage the foundation of your home,
- Most Common Causes of Foundation Damage,
- Issues Water Damaged Foundation can cause,
- Repair Options & How to Prevent Foundation Water Damage.
Can Water Damage Concrete Foundation
Water damaging concrete seems like a myth at first but your concrete foundation can absolutely be water damaged.
Water damage can occur to the foundation of homes in many ways and the severity and fixes of this water damage can be just as varied.
Standing water can pool up and collect around a home’s foundation and, even if it is concrete, will eventually find its way in there.
Concrete is by no means completely waterproof and water will find its way into its pores over time. Once the water is in, the process of erosion will begin and cause the foundation to break down slowly and crack.
If you spot cracks in the wall or ceiling in your home, this can be a sign that standing water has affected your foundation.
Standing water poses a problem no matter what the weather is like; however, freezing temperatures creates another problem for your foundation.
If water gets into your foundation and freezes, it will push and expand the concrete. This causes the foundation to push and swell upwards and will create seams in the ceiling and walls.
Broken Water Lines
A broken water line can also cause standing water to pool up around a concrete foundation and this water can cause problems much quicker than rain water.
Water from broken pipes beneath your home can create standing water but the water from these pipes will erode through concrete quicker and cause not only problems inside your home but outside as well.
Common Causes Of Water Damaged Foundations
Erosion is among the most common causes of foundation water damage.
Underground springs or rainwater can damage your foundation, granted, on a rather slow timescale.
This water can erode the soil that supports the foundation, which causes something called foundation settlement.
Some signs that erosion is damaging your foundation include uneven floors, doors that can’t close properly, tilting chimneys and drywall cracks.
The scientific definition of hydrostatic pressure is “The pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity.” (Source)
While this pressure can be used for many great inventions and is a fundamental aspect of liquids, this pressure can damage your foundation.
This pressure from water around your home can create bows and cracks in the foundation walls and result in leaks.
Expansive soils contain certain minerals which will absorb water around it. Again, this is a good thing, for the most part, and is something nearly every state uses.
However, expansive soils will continue to expand more and more as more water comes in and, the larger it gets, the more pressure it can exert on your home’s foundation.
Once the soil dries, it will decrease in volume and the process will start over again.
This process of growing and shrinking can cause cracks in the floor and massive damage to your foundation. It is very important not to have this kind of soil near a home’s foundation.
To Sum it up The water that can cause damage to a home’s foundation typically comes from rain or broken pipes underneath the home.
More times than not, the water will come up into the foundation from the ground or pool around it from the surrounding areas.
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How To Tell If Your Foundation Has Been Water Damaged
There are a few key signs that can tell you if your home’s foundation has been damaged by water.
Some are signs you can find inside your home and others you can see from outside.
All of these signs are certainly causes for concern and, should you discover any of these around your home, be sure to check your foundation for damage as soon as possible.
- Cracks on the Floor and Walls
When your foundation becomes water damaged it will typically cause the walls or floor to shift slightly and this shift will cause them to crack or bend.
This is one of the easiest signs to spot when it comes to water damage and, if you see these unexplained cracks, it is certainly time to check the foundation for cracks too.
- Musty Air
Particularly in the basement, if the air has a musty or humid feel to it, you should check to see if there are any pools of water around the foundation.
Basements tend to have this air around them simply because they are below ground, so it’s easy to dismiss this sign.
However, if the smell becomes too bad, this may be a sign of mold growing which is an obvious indicator that standing water is somewhere in the basement.
- Windows or Doors Can’t Close Or Open Properly
This is one of the most common signs of foundation damage people find and leave unattended thinking the door or window is the problem.
Again, when a foundation gets damaged by water, it will warp your home’s floors and walls and this will cause door frames and window frames to warp as well.
Once these frames become warped, it can make the doors or windows difficult to open or close and can even cause cracks in them after a while.
- Leaning Walls
Leaning walls can be a difficult thing to spot but, if you do spot this, it is a clear sign that your foundation needs repair as soon as possible.
You can spot leaning walls by seeing a crack around the middle of the wall going upwards. These cracks can be barely visible sometimes or go up the entire wall.
If you do spot one of these cracks, it is time to call in a professional because this is a clear sign that water has damaged your home’s foundation.
If you are wondering how Quickly Can Water Damage Your Home’s Foundation….
As mentioned in an earlier section, water can take a long time to erode your foundation if left unattended to the point of noticeable damage.
Although, in the event of flooding or a violent storm, water can damage your home’s foundation in less than a day.
If your home was affected by a natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane, it is certainly time to call a professional to check your foundation once it’s safe.
Issues Water Damaged Foundations Can Cause To My Home
Leaving a water-damaged foundation unattended can cause life-threatening problems to those living in the property.
There are many issues that can arise from water damaged foundations and we’ll go through a few of them in the sections below.
1.Mold And Mildew
Water, especially in a cold basement, is a breeding ground for black mold and all kinds of other mildews that can cause disease if you breathe in the air around them.
Lung diseases and even cancer can occur if mold and mildew is left to grow freely around the water around your foundation.
Plus, even if the mold is removed by professionals, it will take no time at all to grow back if the source of the problem is not dealt with too.
The most pressing and obvious issue that a water damaged foundation can cause is structural damage to your home.
Leaning walls, bent or cracked door frames, cracks in the flooring, are just a few of the many things that can go wrong when a home’s foundation becomes water damaged.
At worst, if the damage is completely ignored, the foundation will eventually break and the house will come crumbling down with it as well.
Your home’s electricity can also be affected by a water damaged foundation, less from the water itself, but more from the structural damage.
Of course, the water can short out fuses as well, but cracked walls can sometimes break outlets and even separate wires from where they need to go to give your home power.
Power outages are a rare issue but sometimes, it is a sign that water has seeped into your foundation and needs to be repaired.
Repairing a Water Damaged Foundation
There are 2 main methods of how Water Damaged Foundations are Repaired.
Slabjacking is the most common method to repair foundations and is often used for smaller damage or small slabs.
This is done by injecting a special cement mixture in the concrete slab first by drilling holes in the concrete slab.
The type of material injected will depend on your specific case, however often this is a limestone slurry also commonly known as ”mud” , also hence this method being commonly referred to as ”Mud Jacking”.
As the Concrete Mixture Sets and hardens, it will stabilize the foundation and also lift it.
If more Lifting is needed for your Water Damaged Foundation, Polyurethane foam will be used which has much greater lifting potential and also much better control when compared to injecting limestone concrete mixture.
2.Piering ( Hydraulic Jacking )
Hydraulic Jacking is most often used for larger foundation damage issues, and specially used in situations where it’s not advisable to add large mass to the foundation.
In this method special Hydraulic jacks are used to lift the foundation as the steel piers are driven in to stabilize the foundation that are held in place by special footings and brackets.
Piering will effectively address both, the Unstable Soil and the Foundation being out of level.
Water damage can be a slow process and repairing it can seem like something that can be put off for a while and done at your leisure.
While small cracks and bends are not an extremely pressing matter, it is always better (and easier) to deal with water damage before it becomes a serious issue.
Many homeowners will try to repair cracks or warping from water damage themselves and, without professional experience, can make this issue worse.
Typically, when someone spots a crack in their wall they will use caulk or another epoxy to simply fill it so no more water gets in.
This is actually counterproductive because, while it does keep more water from getting in, the water that is already in is now trapped and will continue to erode the foundation with no hope of getting out naturally.
Professionals are perfectly equipped to deal with these cracks and, if you catch the damage early enough, calling in a professional will not be as expensive as you may think.
Although, repairing water damaged foundation can build up a huge price tag if the foundation is in jeopardy and there needs to be some digging done to fully repair it.
Repairing a home’s foundation is by no means a simple DIY home improvement job and will require careful planning, as well as, someone with experience to assess the damage.
How To Stop & Prevent Foundation Water Damage
Clean Your Gutters
This may seem like a strange way to prevent foundation damage but keeping your gutters clean plays a huge part in keeping your home’s foundation stable.
Your gutter’s job is to keep rainwater away from your home and onto the street where it can head into the storm drains to be filtered.
If your gutter gets clogged, the rainwater will begin to spill out its sides and fall straight to the ground right next to your home. It won’t take long for that water to seep into the ground and down into your foundation after that.
Ensure Your Downspout Faces Away From The Foundation
Gutters and downspouts are two different parts of the same system. Your downspout is especially important because it is the part that directs all the rainwater in your gutters away from your home.
If your downspout is crooked, bent, or facing the wrong way, it needs to be fixed so it faces away from your foundation.
Luckily, fixing your downspout is a fairly simple task and can be done in an hour or so with the right tools.
Make Sure The Soil Does Not Go Dry
This seems like a completely backwards mentality but you do want the soil surrounding your foundation to be somewhat wet.
Soil will shrink after a long while without any water so, if you live in an area that is known for long droughts, you should periodically water the soil around your home.
If the soil does dry out, the next rainstorm that comes will cause it to expand quickly and this sudden expansion can potentially crack your foundation.
Water Under Foundation – How Bad Is It?
Water getting under your foundation is certainly bad but, depending on the amount of water and how long it has been there, it is not a cause for immediate concern.
Your home’s foundation is not fragile by any stretch and it can handle a little bit of water under it so long as it goes away after a while.
Leaving a large volume of water under your foundation for months or years is a cause for large concern and can become a very expensive repair the longer it gets ignored.
If Water is Coming Up Through Foundation…
As mentioned before, groundwater can cause damage to a home’s foundation and it does this by coming up through the bottom of it.
If you begin to see pools of water coming up through your basement floor, this is a big red flag that water is coming up through your foundation and causing damage.
When to Call a Professional
If you discover any signs of water damage to your foundation, it is important to let a professional look at it and assess the damages that may have already occurred.
Also, you should not try to fix your home’s foundation unless you have years of experience working on homes or repairing these types of issues as some methods can even be counterproductive!
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