To understand what’s going on during hydrostatic pressure, it’s helpful to think back to when our houses were first built. Before your house and basement ever entered your neighborhood, a large hole had to be dug into the ground, following this, the cement was cured into place, creating the basement, and the house built above it. The dirt was then returned to fill any gaps in the hole. This dirt that is immediately surrounding your house is relatively new, and referred to as “active soil,” whereas the surrounding dirt is “virgin soil” and has been compacted for millions of years. The underground water is naturally drawn to this looser soil, which is coincidentally the one immediately surrounding your house.
Hydrostatic pressure is the force of fluid under the effect of gravity. In the case of our homes, it is the force that the water table exerts on our homes when it’s pushed through the looser soil and into the crevices of our basement. This kind of pressure is worsened by a high degree of precipitation around the home, poor drainage, greater than average water table, or if it’s located at the lowest point of its neighborhood.
The pressure is relieved when the water is able to find a way to escape, usually between a joint in the foundation wall and the floor where it enters your basement.
How Do I Prevent This?
The best offense is usually a good defence, and hydrostatic pressure in your basement is no exception. The best way to prevent water from leaking into your basement is by first installing a french drain in between the floor and the footing of your basement. This way, the water will be collected before it even enters the home. Once that is installed, it’s a good idea to install a sump pump to direct this collected water away from the perimeter of your home. It’s as simple as that.
Water from heavy rainfall can build up in the soil outside the walls of your basement. If the walls or floor are in disrepair and can’t hold out the water, the concrete will crack and cause leakage. Due to the immensity of the hydrostatic pressure, even the tiniest crack allows water to flow into your basement.
Basement leaks caused by Hydrostatic pressure can be solved by installing a french drain below the floor and above the footing of your basement to catch the water, as well as a sump pump to direct this would-be-leak away from your home.