What is Hydrostatic Pressure and How to Prevent it?


Hydrostatic Pressure

If you want to know what hydrostatic pressure is and how to avoid it happening in your basement, or crawl space, this blog post is for you. Throughout this blog we will give you the definition of what hydrostatic pressure is, what causes it, and what solutions we offer for this specific issue.

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure that water saturated soil exerts on the foundation of your home that is backfilled with dirt. This pressure starts at the bottom of the foundation wall not at the top. It is caused by the water table rising underground when water accumulates due to a long heavy rain. Sub-surface water is then pushed into your basement due to this pressure in a couple of ways. If you have a poured concrete wall you may see water coming in through cracks or where the foundation wall and floor meet. If your foundation or crawl space has a cinder block wall you will see water coming through pours and mortor joints in the wall as well as at the bottom where the floor and wall meet.

The taller the buried wall is around your foundation, the more likely it will be that you will have hydrostatic pressure happen. Typically when a house is built, a foundation drainage system is installed to remove that pressure by moving that water away from the foundation, but this system will fail over time and allow water to move through your foundation walls when it becomes clogged with debris. 

So why is hydrostatic pressure a big issue? Hydrostatic pressure can cause issues within a basement or crawl space by allowing water to seep in. That water can then cause flooding and moisture that will lead to mold and mildew especially behind finished walls. It can also cause efflorescence on your foundation wall. Efflorescence is a white, chalky looking substance that will show up on a foundation wall when you have hydrostatic pressure happening on the outside of your foundation.

Hydrostatic Pressure Solutions

So what do you do if you have hydrostatic pressure building up on your wall? At Schmitt Waterproofing, one of our solutions to fixing hydrostatic pressure in your home is to put in an internal sub-floor drainage system with a sump pump if your foundation drain is failing. A sub-floor drainage system includes a perforated pipe, tube, or tile that is normally installed beneath the basement slab along the foundation wall and intercepts and collects excess ground water. This sump pump then sends the water to a stable outside place away from your foundation. A sump pump removes water by pumping out the water that is collected in a sump basin. This system catches the water before it enters your basement.

Schmitt Waterproofing also recommends a vapor barrier be added on cinder block walls. A vapor barrier is a durable, mold-resistant, moisture barrier that helps control humidity and temperature and is typically installed in an unfinished basement that protects your insulation and drywall. A vapor barrier can also be an effective way to prevent moisture coming into your crawl space. It is recommended to have one installed in your crawl space, along with a dehumidifier, to help control water intrusion and humidity.

At Schmitt Waterproofing, we will gladly come out to your home for a free estimate to determine if you need help averting hydrostatic pressure. Schmitt Waterproofing serves the Buford, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, Flowery Branch, Cumming, Gainesville, Alpharetta, Milton, Johns Creek, Duluth, Dawsonville, Canton, Ball Ground, Sandy Springs, and Dunwoody areas in Georgia. We have years of experience and are waterproofing experts. Please contact us online or by phone by calling 404-268-1040. To see more information about us follow us on Facebook.

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