Water structural damage

When you’ve had water leaks, seepage or flooding…
Here are the actions to take when dealing
With the potential structural defects or failures it can cause…

Learn how water can compromise your foundation,
How to identify the problems, fix them,
And restore the strength & integrity of your home or building…
Once and for all…

Water, water, water!

It’s the disease (cause) of most symptoms (defects & structural issues) requiring repair in any home or building.

Collectively, water causes more damage and more costs than any other home or building issue… and it plays a major roll in foundation and footing defects, too.

If you suspect you have footing or foundation issues, you’ll want to read on…

When there’s water in your home (where it shouldn’t be)…

Over time, chronic water seeping into and through your foundation walls can cause them to deteriorate. Cinder block-based foundation walls are most susceptible because they’re fabricated with a porous, open-cell structure.  As water seeps through the porous block material, it fills the voids, slowly breaking down the components. The first evidence of this decomposition is when you can see white and/or grayish chalky stains (efflorescence) on the block surface.

Water can weaken your walls…

As your home or building settles, your foundation walls can develop stress cracks. The waterproofing materials on the outside of your foundation wall can then fail or separate, leaving the wall surface open to water intrusion. This water freezes and thaws with the seasons, making the cracks larger. When heavy rains or melting snow raises the groundwater level temporarily, or if the ground slopes toward your home instead of away from it, water will accumulate around the foundation, and hydrostatic pressure builds up.

Water always seeks the path of least resistance, so the pressure pushes it through any cracks, joints, or larger pores in the concrete or concrete blocks, and into your basement.

The hydrostatic pressure also applies force to the wall structure that can slowly (though it can sometimes do so quite quickly) cause structural failure. When you can see horizontal cracks opening along the mortar joints, and/or an inward leaning of your foundation wall, you’ve got evidence of advanced structural failure

If you can see it with your own eyes

Waterproofing_South_Jersey_block_wall_stair_step_cTake a good look at your foundation wall, sighting from one end down the length of it (preferably at the top). Note any indication inward bowing. the obvious evidence may be subtle, so look closely at the wall where the mortar joints around each block meet. If there’s a crack in the joint of an 1/8 of an inch, or more, it suggests a potentially serious issue.

As you look at the block and mortar joints more closely, note if any of the cracks have worked into a stair-step pattern. If yes, it could mean the water has also been slowly weakening the soil under your footing. It’s possible the soil was soft or not sufficiently compacted before the footing was poured. Of course, if it’s not a water-related issue, you’ll want to know that too.

It all starts outside your home…

As you continue examining your foundation, take a peek outside. There’s a good chance you’ll have issues with your drainage system – that means your gutters, downspouts, grading, and the drainage tiles on your foundation footings around your home or building. Do you clean your gutters regularly? Do your downspouts discharge the roof run-off properly away from your foundation walls? Are your underground drain tiles (they allow water to escape the foundation footings) clogged and/or backing up?

Does the landscape immediately around your home or building slope towards it… or away from it, as it should? Does your landscape design make it impossible for water to drain away from your foundation?

But, wait… did we miss anything inside?

If you have an existing, interior floor drain system and sump pump, is it working properly, or has it failed? Do you have drain tiles with and weeping holes to draw water away from the foundation footings? Where does your sump pump discharge? If it’s draining just outside your foundation wall, that’s a problem. Better go back outside and take a look.

So, what’s the fix now?

First, you’ll need to treat and cure the water ‘disease,’ right? And, that means correcting the water issues. But, you’ll also want to fortify your wall or properly support your footing. Time-tested construction, coupled with a little technology will do the trick. Whether it’s re-construction, rod and grout technique, I-beams or angle iron bracing, helical piles or under pinning… rest assured we’ll prescribe the right unique solution to solve your problem… permanently.

And, what does the future hold?

Everything requires on-going maintenance, and your home or property is no exception. After we’ve fortified your foundation and warranted it against failure, our annual Water Intrusion Inspection will to help identify and prevent any new, potential threats.

As always – Dedicated to providing you healthier living,

Jim & Mike Allen, Owners
TermiGuard Services & Fenwick

About the Author Jessica Allen

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