Wet Cellars: Cause and Solutions

Blog entry by CyFree posted 01-03-2013 05:54 PM 59797 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Where Cellars Get Wet

Cellars can get wet through absolutely any point, including doors, window joints, floor joints, cracks, and around pipes. Water has the tenacious ability to get in anywhere. The absolute key to removing water from the cellar is finding out where it is leaking from and addressing the problem. Often this is hard to find by the naked eye. In addition, it may be coming from multiple points. A professional waterproofing contractor can identify the source of the leakage and provide the best long-term solution.

Where the water comes from

When a new house’s foundation is laid, sediments and soil that have laid dormant for thousands of years have to be removed and then put back again. This disturbance of the area around the house often results in a “moat” of soggy soil, also known as the clay bowl effect. As water accumulates, hydrostatic pressure builds and forces water through cracks and joints in the foundation wall. The most common place for leakage to occur is the joint where the slab (floor) and foundation wall meet. To remedy this, a perimeter drain can be installed under the floor to intercept any leaking water. From there, it flows to a sump pump to be discharged to the outside. An ineffective alternative to this is to dig out around the exterior of the foundation and attempt to waterproof from the outside. Not only is this costly, time-consuming and disruptive to the garden and paving around the house, it is only a matter of time before the drains become clogged with sediment. Many homeowners who opt for this will require another round of waterproofing in the future.

Wall Cracks and Gaps around Pipes

Any cracks in the cellar can allow water to enter. Unfortunately, such cracks are difficult to seal because continued movement of the foundation walls, however slight, can cause the repair to fail. Wall repair systems that are flexible enough to withstand wall movement and offer a way to channel and divert any seeping water to the drainage system are usually more effective and long lasting than patches made with hard cementitious compounds.
Keep in mind that all types of horizontal and stair-step wall cracks are often a sign of structural issues. Large or V-Shaped vertical cracks can also be a sign of foundation settlement and need to be closely monitored. A certified basement waterproofing contractor is usually trained to recognize signs of foundation problems and will be able to tell you if a specific foundation wall crack constitutes reason for concern.
Replace Leaky Windows

Water can also leak into cellars from old corroded metal windows, especially when the rain, sleet, and snow of a British winter are in full swing. By replacing old rusty windows with energy-efficient vinyl replacement basement windows, you are not only preventing leaks: you are also saving some energy. Vinyl windows are virtually maintenance fee and will last for many years.

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-- "All truth goes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Then it is accepeted as self evident." - Schoppenhauer

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