Foundation Waterproofing

Why Does My Basement or Foundation Leak?

a flooded basement floor in a  home

Pressure problem. Hydrostatic pressure exerted against the foundation forces water to leak in through gaps and cracks in the foundation.

Flooding in basements and crawl spaces is common in both old homes and newer homes, and it is rarely a one-time occurrence. Once water has flooded through your foundation, you can be certain that it will happen again. Water intrusion can ruin many parts of your home and create the opportunity for mold to grow. 

There are two important factors that contribute to basement leaking: the clay bowl effect and hydrostatic pressure. Both have similar damaging effects, which is why it's important to be aware of the proper way to waterproof your foundation.

To learn more about what we can do to help you with foundation cracks and waterproofing, call us today! Our services are available in Rochester, Ithaca, Syracuse and throughout NY.

The "clay bowl effect" and your foundation

illustration of the clay bowl effect flooding a foundation

Backfill soil is porous. Excavated soil that's replaced around a completed foundation isn't as dense and tightly packed as undisturbed soil farther away. As a result, water collects in the soil immediately surrounding the house, putting pressure on foundation walls -the Clay Bowl Effect.

Imagine your home as it was being built. The contractors begin by digging a hole in the ground to make room for your basement and foundation. To do so, the contractor must dig a hole that is a little larger than the space your home will need. The foundation will be built inside this space, and the concrete floor will be poured.

Once the foundation has been built, some of the excavated soil is used to fill in the gap around the outer edge of your foundation.

This soil, known as "backfill", will be loose and fluffed from the excavation. Meanwhile, the untouched soil around it, known as "virgin soil", may have been settling for hundreds, even thousands of years.

What does this mean for you? The backfilled soil surrounding your foundation will always be looser and more absorbent of water than the dense, hard-packed soil around it.

This forms a sort of "clay bowl" around your house -- one that creates an artificial water table around your home. Water collects the most right around your foundation -- exactly where you don't want it to be.

Hydrostatic pressure and wet soils

Illustration of hydrostatic pressure leading to a flooding foundation

More pressure = more leakage.

Water is heavy! As the soil around your home becomes soaked with moisture, the soil will expand, and the weight of the water will press on your foundation. This is known as hydrostatic pressure.

As hydrostatic pressure builds against your foundation, water will work its way in through any way possible.

Water can make its way through concrete cracks in the walls or floors, through openings around pipes, through basement windows, or even directly through the porous concrete. If you have block walls, water may pass through the block and begin to fill the open cavities.

However, the most common way that water enters a home is through the foundation wall-floor joint. We find that most flooded basements start with a leak here.

Flood Warning

Protecting your home means more than just stopping groundwater. It's also important to keep an eye on your home plumbing, including the water heater and washing machine.

Small upgrades, such as water heater protection, can save you a bundle!

Waterproofing a foundation in New York

How do you dry a wet basement? By stopping water at the point where it enters the structure.

Since most basements flood from the wall-floor joint, one of the most common ways to stop the flooding is to install a perimeter drainage system along the edge of the basement floor. This would collect the water and direct it to a sump pump, which would then discharge it out of your home.

However, at Halco, we have an approach to solving water problems of all types. Our solutions cover all surfaces of the basement, including the foundation walls, basement floors, and even wet crawl spaces.

We offer free basement waterproofing estimates in New York, including Newark, Oneida, Penn Yan, Canastota, Dansville and many areas nearby. Contact us today to get started!

our service area

We serve the following areas

Our Locations:

865 County Road 6
Phelps, NY 14532

1730 Mecklenburg Rd Suite B
Ithaca, NY 14850

204 Bass St
Liverpool, NY 13088

365 N. Washington St
Rochester, NY 14625
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