Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Controlling Ground Water

When water collects next to a foundation wall or when the water table is higher than the basement floor, hydrostatic pressure can force water through joints, cracks and porous areas in concrete walls and floors and through cracked or crumbling mortar joints in masonry walls. Poor construction practices-clogged or nonexistent waterproofing on the foundation, through-the-wall cracks, and improper grading-often are the cause.
Correcting any of these problems is a major job that requires digging out the foundation to the bottom of the footings. Though this may be the most permanent repair , first try the following remedies:

1. Exterior Remedies - Roof and surface water collecting next to the foundation may be causing dampness in your basement. Make a careful inspection outside, using the following checklist, and correct any problems you find.
  • Gutters and downspout should be clear and should direct water away from the basement.
  • Proper grading around the house the ground should drop 1 inch per foot for the first 10 feet away from the basement walls-is essential to ensure good drainage.
  • Planting beds next to the foundation should not allow water to collect or pool there.
  • Window wells around basement windows should be free of debris, have good drainage, and be properly sealed at the wall.

2. Interior Remedies - These simple interior repairs may alleviate or cure your water problem.

  • Apply coating to the wall. Most coatings are painted on, though some are plastered on with a trowel. Except for epoxy coatings, all are cement-base products with various additives. Epoxy does the best job. Look for coatings at home improvement or masonry supply centers.
  • Patch cracks in walls and floors with Portland or hydraulic cement patching compound. Hydraulic cement expands and dries quickly, even when in wet conditions. Cracks wider than 1/8 inch should be chiseled out so the bottom of the crack is wider than the top. This will prevent water pressure from popping out the patch.
  • chisel out a groove along the wall if water is entering through the floor/wall joint. Fill the groove with hydraulic or epoxy cement and cove.


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