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Sources of Basement Water Leaks

clock September 6, 2011 16:33 by author blogadmin
Clogged gutters and wall cracks lead to basement water leaks. Know what is causing your water issues so you can identify the source of the problem.

Basement Water Leaks

Basement waterproofing, wall cracksWhere is the water coming from? Basement water leaks can be elusive at times. The following will help you narrow down the source of your leak and guide you toward the best way to seal your basement.

1. Do you get the water after all rains or just on the heavy rains? If it doesn’t matter on the severity of the rain, and you experience seepage on a light rain or on a heavy downpour, you probably have an issue with your runoff grading or downspouts and gutters. If your basement is unaffected by the light and quick rains, but floods during prolonged storms, heavy downpours, or multiple days of rain, you most likely are dealing with the water table rising up due to the ground getting saturated and having no place to go except through cracks and openings in your basement.

2. Do you get water as soon as it starts to rain or does it come in the next day or hours after the rain has stopped? If the seepage occurs within 30 minutes or less of when it starts to rain, you most likely have an exterior problem. Once again, check your grading, downspouts and gutters and make sure the water is directed away from the house and gutters are clean. If it takes many hours or even the following day and you see moisture or puddles on the floor, this points to the water table taking its time rising up from below your basement floor and seeping in.

3. Does the water come from where the floor and the wall meet or does it come down the wall starting at eye level? When water comes from the wall at eye level and runs down the basement wall you most likely have an exterior problem. Eye level should typically coincide with where the grade meets the exterior of the house. If the water comes in where the floor meets the wall, this suggests the hydrostatic pressure from the water table underneath the basement slab and over saturated soils.

If your answer to these questions all lead to the water table being the source of your seepage, then the one and only way to permanently fix the problem is to install an sealed interior drain system. These interior drain tile systems are one of the more important aspects to keeping moisture from entering your home. This sealed interior drain system uses the most effective approach by using a perforated drain pipe that is installed inside the perimeter of the footing. They are building code approved when installed and sealed correctly by one of our professonals. The drain pipe drains the area to a lower level. 

Waterproofing Steps

Water problems are the main cause for foundation problems. Knowing the cause of water leaks will lead to the solutions needed to waterproofing your home. Determine if it is an interior or exterior problem. On the exterior, make sure the soil is properly graded areound the periometer of your home. If it is not, you may need re-grading or surface drainage installation. Check gutters and downspouts to make sure the run-off is draining away from the home. Look at the exterior concrete and make sure the concrete is not falling toward the home. If it is, the concrete may need to be taken out and replaced. Basements and crawlspaces also need an exterior drainage system next to footing. Sump pumps should be installed and determining the correct size of the sump pump is critical. It it is too small, it won't keep up with the amount of water coming in. A pump that is too big is also a problem because it will pump water so fast that the pump will 'short cycle' which will cause it to fail and replacement needed. Let a professional help you to determine what waterproofing solution is needed for your particular water problems. 

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Foundation Watering and Expansive Soils

clock July 18, 2011 10:06 by author blogadmin
Using soaker hoes alone will not prevent foundation related repairs and problems. Foundation design is the key to properly maintaining your home built upon expansive soils.

What is Foundation Watering and Expansive Soils

Foundaton watering and expansive soilsExpansive soils are known to be present in every US state and throughout the world. Every year expansive soils contribute to billions of dollars in damage to homes. In a typical year expansive soils cause greater financial loss to property owners than earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornados combined. The proper design and care of your foundation is very important to preserving the integrity of your home.

Foundation watering through the use of soaker hoses has become very important in an attempt to preserve the integrity of your home. Some clayey soils have the ability to shrink or expand at alarming rates, depending on the moisture content of the soil and weather patterns. The goal for proper foundation maintenance should be to maintain a consistent level of moisture in the soil thus eliminating swelling and shrinking of the soil that is supporting your foundation.

The Causes of Foundation Watering and Expansive Soil

If the soil around the exterior of the home becomes excessively dry, it will shrink leaving a gap between the soil and the foundation. These cracks allow additional evaporation and more cracking deeper in the soil. When heavy rains happen, these cracks allow excessive amounts of water to penetrate soil layers causing swelling of the clay soils that are intended to support the foundation. This rapid expansion can cause settlement, foundation cracking, drywall cracking and the need for foundation repairs.

The lack of uniform moisture levels can be caused by:


2.Lack of guttering and downspouts on the home

3.Improper drainage

4.Plumbing leaks

5.Improper grading

6.Excessive watering

7.Trees too near the foundation

8. Poor soil conditions

Expansive soils, combined with a shallow foundation, creates a scenario that can manifest itself into major foundation problems. Shallow foundations (foundations very near the surface) rest upon soils that are greatly influenced by rain and ambient temperatures. These foundations become highly susceptible to movement which causes cracking and structural damage. Opposed to deep foundations (foundations that are set below the zone of influence), shallow foundations are cheaper and account for the greatest financial losses due to foundation repairs and structural failures.

Deep foundations penetrate expansive soils providing support for a structure without being effected by shrinking and swelling clay soils. These foundations are most effective when used during initial construction but can also be retrofitted using a high quality end bearing foundation repair system. End bearing is the key here. Foundation repair systems that rely on skin friction fail very quickly when soils dry out and separate from the pile. Deep cracks in the soil are a sign that a skin friction pile has become unsuitable. The highest quality foundation repair systems use slender steel shafts that drive deeply to load bearing soils or rock. Being slender in nature these piles allow expansive clay soils to move around the shaft without negative effects.

To summarize, the expansive clay soils are generally not the problem. The foundation design or foundation repair design is generally the problem. Simply adding water around the foundation most likely will only affect the upper most soil layers which does not solve the problem. Water must be deeply injected into the soil in a wide radius around the foundation to help maintain a consistent soil moisture level. This is generally unfeasible due to the huge amount of water required in dry seasons.

Foundation Failure Prevention

The most effective solution to foundations in expansive soil areas is through professional design. A deep foundation along with proper guttering, grading and landscaping will create an effective foundation for homes and commercial buildings alike without the concern of structural cracking and foundation repair work.

For existing homes:

1.Maintain guttering around the perimeter of the home

2.Direct downspouts at least 10’ from foundation

3.Create proper grading around the home

4.Remove trees and large shrubs that are within 15’ of structure

5.Maintain plumbing pipes beneath foundation

6.Use only high quality end bearing foundation repair techniques

The swelling and shrinking of expansive clay soils create serious problems in shallow foundations throughout the United States. Differences in performance of foundations arise from differences in design and the extent of disturbance of natural conditions. Methods of identifying potentially troublesome conditions and various foundation and foundation repair design to cope with these problems are now available to foundation specialists. Soaker hoses alone will not solve your problem, a trained foundation specialist is generally required.

Signs of Foundation Failure

If you don't identify the causes of foundation failure, then you may experience major changes in your home's structure and foundation. Signs of foundation repair can occur inside or outside of your home as well as the garage. Some signs include: leaning walls, leaning chimneys, concrete cracks, sloped floors, water stains on floors/walls, sticking doors/windows, bowing walls, and settling foundation. Every homeowner should also provide adequate waterproofing solutions to eliminate water damage and foundation cracks. A foundation specialists can assess the situation and determine the best solution for your home.

There are many foundaton repair methods to repair your foundation such as steel push piers, helical piers, porch piers, tieback anchors, retaining wall tiebacks, plate anchors, and hydraulic lift slab pers. Foundation specialists will provide the best ECP foundation repair method to repair your foundation damages.

Major Foundation Repair Issues in Atlanta

clock July 7, 2011 19:41 by author blogadmin
ECP helical piers were used to make major foundation repairs for a home suffering from foundation issues.


This is a video link to a job that Atlas Piers of Atlanta has been called in to solve.  The current homeowner bought the house after helical piers were installed poorly to fix a foundation problem over a debris pit (buried wood debris under the foundation). The helical piers were installed but did not penetrate the debris. Atlas Piers of Atlanta installed 3 resistance piers (or push piers) a few years later on another area of the house. Since the original helical piers failed due to poor installation (the company has since gone out of business, but started another piering company), Atlas Piers of Atlanta is now repairing the area above the debris pit with resistance piers manufactured by Earth Contact Products.



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