When water seeps through the basement walls into the home, homeowners often assume that their homes were built in an area with a high water table. However, it is often the case that the house is sitting over a false water table. Identifying this problem is vital if you want to implement a solution with long term benefits.
What are false water tables?
False water tables are water tables that are not naturally occurring. They often occur as a result of the process of excavating the home and failing to backfill the foundation properly.
When a foundation is built or excavated, the soil used to backfill the foundation often needs to be compacted in order to provide the foundation wall with proper support. When this isn’t done properly, the soil around the foundation will not be as compacted as the soil that remained undisturbed further beyond the area of the foundation.
Water from rain or melting snow seeps into the ground and follows the path of least resistance. This is often towards the loosely compacted soil. Water therefore accumulates around the foundation. This water will continue to rise and exert pressure against the basement walls. This may result in problems such as bowed basement walls or cracking and water seepage.
Resolving false water tables
One of the best things you can do for your home is to call in an experienced waterproofing contractor to inspect your property. They will be able to identify the presence of the false water table and determine the best solution for your situation.
For the best results, contractors often suggest a combination of solutions. This ensures that different aspects of the problem are addressed. Some of these solutions include:
- Excavating the foundation
The contractor will have the soil around the foundation excavated. They will then backfill the foundation properly to prevent the accumulation of water around the foundation.
- Grading of the landscape
You may also have to change the slope of your landscape. Making the landscape slope away from the foundation encourages water to flow away from the foundation, thus preventing the formation of the false water table.
- Installing a French drain
This will help to ease hydrostatic pressure against the bowed basement walls. The French drain will direct water away from the soil surrounding the foundation to protect the walls from lateral pressure as well as seepage.
- Installation of carbon fiber straps
This is the easiest and most affordable way to prevent further bowing of the walls. The carbon fiber straps provide reinforcement for the bowed basement walls, preventing further movement.