Basement Waterproofing

Gravity pulls at water trying to get it to move to the center of the earth. If your basement gets in its way, problems can happen.

If you’re interested in basement waterproofing, I can only think of two, or possibly three, reasons why this might be. My first guess would be that right now your existing basement is either flooded or recently flooded for the umpteenth time, and you’ve had it. Or, you might be getting ready to build a new home and want to investigate all of your options.

Let’s talk right now about just one dynamic of what causes water to enter your basement. As bland as it is, gravity is a primary force that is constantly working against you and your basement. Not only does gravity hold you firm to the surface of the planet, it dose the same for all solid objects. But since in the reality we all know, one solid object can’t easily pass trough another one unless forced to with great velocity. Bullets come to mind or any other solid thing shot at another one – like a 2×4 that punctures a house wall in a tornado.

But in the case of water, or any other liquid, under normal everyday circumstances gravity tugs hard at the water trying to get it to come to the center of the earth. You basement or crawl space is in the earth and almost always lower in elevation than the surrounding ground. Water then does all it can to go down, but can run into issues with bedrock, clay soil, or any other thing underground that blocks its downward movement.

At that point, water starts to move sideways until it gets to the lowest possible point which, in most cases, is the ocean. I’m reminded of the first house I ever built. It was for Mark Ossege. I knew that I had a potential problem for a wet basement, because his lot was on a hill with the ground to the right higher than the ground to the left. You can clearly see the higher ground in this photo. Mark’s house is the one on the left with the semi-circle window over the front door.

Let’s get back on track. Imagine when it rains how much water enters the soil above Mark’s house. That water starts its journey to the ocean and moves about 18 inches into the soil before it hits a dense clay. At that point the water rides along the top of the clay layer moving like an underground river. But when it comes to a house basement the foundation walls act like a dam. If there are the tiniest cracks in the wall, the pressure of all the water above the house that’s in the ground acts like an enormous hypodermic needle squirting the water into the basement.

Look at the left side of Mark’s house. You can clearly see the ground drop off to the left. This is very common in many situations. Perhaps your house is built on a slight slope. If so, then you can use gravity to help waterproof your basement. In this situation I was able to control the water and keep Mark’s basement dry using a great foundation waterproofing system combined with lots of clean washed rounded gravel that was placed against the sides of his foundation.

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