How Hydrostatic Pressure Works Against a Home’s Basement Walls

USS Project Manager Bart Schneider by , Project Manager

Concrete basement walls resist water, but are by no means impermeable. Hydrostatic pressure is the force that continually pushes outside water through your basement walls, leading to what is known as “weeping.” If standing water around your home is a regular issue, then you will need to call your local structural systems professional to take additional measures to waterproof your foundation and basement.

Concrete Strength
The rate at which hydrostatic pressure successfully weeps water into your basement walls is directly related to the concrete strength. Concrete strength speaks to the substance’s density, as low strength concrete is more permeable than high strength. Provided you get enough standing water around your home that hydrostatic pressure is a concern, you want high-strength concrete basement walls.

Pressure Relief
The only way to relieve hydrostatic pressure around your foundation is to divert water away. You will need to restructure your drainage system or add supplemental drains to direct water in a way that it does not seep into the ground surrounding your basement walls, regardless of their concrete strength. It may not be possible to keep the area around your home’s foundation completely dry at all times, but a concentrated drainage improvement effort will go a long way.

Waterproofing
After you’ve installed the concrete walls and drainage system, you would benefit from additional waterproofing measures. United Structural Systems can, and often will, apply waterproofing sealant to the basement walls and the concrete surrounding your home. This fights weeping by slowing the rate of absorption, or adding to the concrete’s strength. The decreased permeability combined with effective drainage should solve your weeping problem. Contact a structural system professional for regular inspection to ensure that these measures are effective.

At United Structural Systems, we waterproof foundations, basement walls, and surrounding concrete to keep your home safe. Call us at (615) 227-2275 to get a free estimate on our waterproofing, floor support, masonry, and other specialty structural services in Middle Tennessee.

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