Detecting leakage in your basement is never good news, especially when you realize it is coming through your slab. If you have a finished basement, dealing with this kind of problem can cause a lot of headaches. Even if your basement is not finished and is just used for storage, this type of problem can destroy your possessions.
Mold in your basement is a tell-tale sign of slab leakage, which increases moisture levels, making it the ideal habitat for mold to thrive. The biggest problem with mold is that it can cause respiratory problems.
Moisture is also a magnet for various pests that look for damp and dark places to inhabit. High humidity levels lead to wood rot that can eventually compromise your home’s structural integrity and attract termites.
Slab leakage can lead to all sorts of problems any homeowner would gladly avoid. So, what causes slab leakage and how can you fix this problem?
Detecting a Slab Leak Problem
A slab leak occurs when there is a crack in the concrete that lets water into the basement. It can also happen due to the hydrostatic pressure that pushes against the basement floor.
Spotting a slab leak is quite easy. Apart from noticing damp spots on the floor in your basement, you will notice an unpleasant smell in your home, as well as gaps and cracks in the basement walls.
If you realize that your home is suddenly full of mold, this can be one of the reasons why.
What Causes Slab Leakage in Basements?
So, what causes the water to leak in through the slab? Your first inclination might be that the plumbing below the slab became damaged. However, this is not always the case.
It is imperative that your plumbing gets inspected once a year by a professional for maintenance. After all, there are all sorts of factors that can lead to plumbing issues, from bad installation and weakened water lines, to chemical reactions of metals in the earth to those in the pipes. If damaged plumbing is the reason behind slab leakage, you will notice bad water pressure in your home.
As mentioned, faulty plumbing is not always the cause of leakage. Let’s look at other reasons.
As you might know, concrete is porous. When there are heavy rainstorms or substantial amounts of snow suddenly melt, the soil around and beneath the basement becomes saturated. If there is a lack of proper drainage, all the excess water will push against the concrete, looking for the path of least resistance to enter the basement. Since there are numerous pores in the concrete, water will slowly fill these cavities until it finally shows up on the floor.
Firstly, make sure that your yard is properly graded. If all the water rushes toward your home, instead of away from it, you will need to regrade your yard. Second, make sure your gutters are clean and function properly. Otherwise, all the water from your roof will saturate the ground around your foundation.
When builders use materials that are far below the standard, cracks in the slab can easily appear. Therefore, if you are building a new house, make sure you hire professionals who know what they are doing. Even insurance companies won’t cover the cost of repairs if the cause of the cracks is poor workmanship.
Shifting of Expansive Soils
Some homes in St. Louis, MO sit on expansive soils. During the rainy period, the soil particles swell in the presence of moisture and put extra pressure on the foundation. On the other hand, when there are droughts, all the water from the soil evaporates and the particles shrink, leaving large gaps in the ground. Since the foundation is no longer supported by the soil, it settles into the gaps. This can cause foundation cracks.
Water from the soil can easily leak through the slab and increase moisture levels in the basement. Foundation settlement is not a problem that should be ignored. Putting off these repairs can end in catastrophe, so contact your local specialists as soon as possible. They can repair a damaged foundation with push piers or slab piers. Both serve the same purpose – to raise the foundation back toward its original position. Since they are galvanized, they won’t corrode.
Tree Root Infestation
It is not recommended to plant trees near your home. Even if you plant them when they are small, they will grow in time, and so will their root system. The problem with this is that roots can damage the slab and cause cracks. They can also suck moisture out of the soil, causing gaps in the ground. Therefore, if you wish to plant new trees, keep them at least 20 feet away from your house.
Waterproofing a Leaky Floor Crack
The easiest way to deal with leakage in the basement floor is to install a lateral line drainage system that will collect water that would otherwise spread around the basement. This system will direct the water toward the sump pump, which will pump it out of the house. Installing a perimeter drainage system beforehand is the best option. When all the drains are installed, the specialists can cover the floor with a fresh layer of concrete for that finished look.
Ignoring slab leaks is never a promising idea. If your slab is cracked or damaged in any other way, contact professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems and schedule a free inspection and quote