Your House Is Like A Ship At Sea
It is a good idea to understand the immense amount of pressure that your basement is under when considering basement waterproofing. The vast majority of homeowners do not understand that the porous walls of their concrete basements are constantly under an tremendous amount of pressure from a few different sources. This pressure can wreak all sorts of havoc on the foundation of the home. Destructive pressure can appear in the form of cracks, leaks, the wasting away of the foundation, a bowed house, a slanted house or, in very extreme cases, a collapsed part of the house.
The ground around your home isn’t just dirt. There is a term called groundwater. Groundwater is the water suspended in the dirt around your home. This water is actually like an ocean. In fact, the ground is a lot like the human body and is made up of mostly water. The easiest way to see this is to dig a small trench and see how wet the dirt gets about a foot underground. You may even start collecting a pool of water digging down that far.
Just like any body of water, the liquid ebbs and flows. That means the water underneath the ground is actually moving, and your house is caught right in the middle of all this movement. You can almost look at your home like a ship caught out in the middle of the ocean.
One of the key tenants of water pressure is that it gets more intense the farther you go down. Divers carry pressure gauges with them when they go deep sea diving and many submarines cannot go below a certain depth, in fear that the water pressure will compromise the hull of the ship. So, if you have a particularly deep basement, then you house is under an immense amount of pressure from the deep groundwater.
These groundwater forces are all around the home and pushing against the foundation in every single direction. And just like any leak aboard a ship — once it starts, it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Water inside the home can cause all sorts of damage, especially the bacteria-rich groundwater around the home.
Water inside the basement can cause a few different problems. The first problem is humidity. A humid basement makes keeping anything down there risky, including appliances. Humid air starts to eat at anything stored in the basement and reduces its lifespan, especially if it is made out of metal that can easily be oxidized and rusted.
But the real problem presented by a wet basement is the bacteria and mold. Most bacteria and mold need a dark and damp environment to thrive. A compromised basement, with a steady supply of fresh groundwater, is the perfect place for micro-agents to thrive. Mold can be harmful to your family, who may experience symptoms of an allergic reaction to mold spores in the air. But mold is also responsible for rotting wood. If you have ever seen a compromised piece of wood, it appears black, grey and dark; not its usual healthy wood appearance. That means that the mold and bacteria have actually climbed inside the grains of the wood and are eating it from the inside out. Eventually, that piece of wood will lose its ability to hold its shape or help hold up a house.
That is where the most serious side effect of groundwater can be seen – a compromised frame. The wooden frame of a house can be eaten by mold and bacteria, literally causing the house to bow, or in very extreme cases, collapse.