The elements aren’t always kind to your foundation. Here are natural effects that can impact the way your foundation stays dry.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydrostatic pressure serves as the driving force behind most of the foundation damage your home may take on. This force starts to build up outside of your foundation when moisture, either in the form of rain, snow, or groundwater, comes into contact with the materials making up the exterior of your basement. As water presses up against those materials, it can cause them to change temperature and size. Additionally, the “Clay Bowl Effect” can cause more damaging hydrostatic pressure all throughout the basement. This occurs due to the fact that to build the basement, the initial crew needs to dig out a space around the basement, build it, then replace the soil. That replaced soil can be much looser than the untouched soil, allowing water to proliferate throughout the replaced soil.
A foundation that ends up overexposed to hydrostatic pressure can see not only cracks throughout its slab but also damage to its walls and other structural supports. The longer this damage continues, the more severe the side effects of its work are going to be.
- Freezing Concerns
It isn’t just rain or standing water that can cause structural problems for your foundation. As temperatures start to drop in your area, your basement’s supporting materials can start to suffer from the effects of external freezes. In many ways, freezes work against your home in much the same way standard hydrostatic pressure does. However, as the moisture in your soil starts to freeze, it can expand in size by up to nine percent. That kind of expansion puts a significant amount of pressure on the concrete making up your foundation. This means your foundation may develop cracks or leaks even faster than it would during the warmer months of the year.
Not only that, but frozen water and similar freezes can also cause your foundation to settle prematurely. Some parts of your home will find themselves lifted higher than others. You may have, for example, cracks in one half of your basement and bowing walls in another, even without active flooding or other signs of seepage in place.