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AM Wall Anchor & Water Proofing Blog Article:

How a High Water Table Can Impact Your Foundation

basement walls showing signs of leaking and mold damage

When you’re trying to create a sealed, waterproof foundation, a high water table can cause problems. As the table rises, you could experience seepage, foundation flooding, or even bowed and cracked walls that require immediate repairs. If you see signs of water infiltration in your basement, you should contact a basement waterproofing expert who can inspect your property, repair any damage, and help you find a solution that saves your home from damage caused by high water tables, improper soil drainage, and other common foundation threats.

What a High Water Table Is

The water table is an underground boundary that can rise and fall based on the land’s moisture content and atmospheric pressure. On developed land, there’s a layer of loose soil where the land has been excavated to build structures, turned for landscaping, crops, or gardening, or otherwise disturbed. In this soil, atmospheric pressure forces air between the gravel, into fractured rocks, and through even the tiniest void spaces. As you go lower, however, you reach a point where hydrostatic pressure from moisture trapped in the ground forces water into these spaces instead of allowing oxygen from the air to permeate it. 

The water table is the point at which everything below it–all the way down to solid rock–only has water filling these gaps. Above the water table, you have a mixture of air and water that’s in the process of draining either away from that piece of land or down to the water table. High water tables occur when too much moisture is draining straight down, raising the water table in the process.

High Water Tables Can Be Natural or Man-Made

It’s important to note that water tables rise cyclically in the spring and winter. Snow melt, which tends to accumulate in a localized area, and spring showers can oversaturate the soil. If the soil gathers more water than it can drain away, then the water table will rise. This can be exacerbated by poor planning when designing the land a property is built on, improper excavation, or a failure to install adequate drainage. 

High Water Tables Can Put Your Home at Risk

As the water table rises, the pressure against the walls of your foundation increases. Wet soil is heavier, and hydrostatic pressure tries to force water through any porous surface below the water table. That could mean weeping wall and floor cracks that allow small amounts of water to seep in or foundation flooding that damages your structure, personal property, and appliances. 

With enough pressure, you could see walls pull away from the floor or begin to bow. Cracks could form, enlarging more and more as water is forced through them. This creates a basement environment that is more prone to attracting pests, and mold can begin to form, risking your family’s health. If left unchecked, it can even destabilize the foundation completely, putting your whole home and everyone inside it at risk.

Preventing High Water Tables

Luckily, you can take steps to mitigate the risks of a high water table. From preparing the land to adding additional support to your foundation, the sooner you take steps to protect your property, the better off you’ll be.  

  • Down the Drain – Proper drainage is the best deterrent for a high water table. If your natural drainage isn’t sufficient, French drains can help collect excess surface and subsurface water and move it away from the water table under your home before it can rise. 
  • Check Your Grades – Proper grading helps begin moving water away from your home at the surface level to prevent a rising water table from putting your home at risk. Your surface should be graded to drop one inch per foot for the first five to ten feet around your foundation.
  • Plant for Protection – Proper landscaping–including the use of plants that help control erosion and promote proper drainage–can be a useful and beautiful part of your home. A good root structure naturally maintains your soil and promotes better drainage.
  • Swales Away – Swales are depressions created to allow water to collect so it can be more easily moved away to sewers or natural drainage. In extreme cases, swales may be necessary to prevent high water tables by reducing the amount of water reaching them.
  • Sumping to Think About – Sump pumps take the collected water from your sump pit and move it away from the home with powerful electric motors. This helps prevent and control basement flooding and returns the water to natural drainage that doesn’t put your home at risk.
  • Waterproofing Works – A professionally waterproofed foundation better resists the threat of a high water table. By sealing your foundation and actively working to collect and remove moisture, you’re proactively protecting your property.

Professional Foundation Experts

If you suspect you have a high water table threatening your home or have seen signs of damage that may indicate foundation flooding for any reason, it’s time to talk to a foundation expert. When you schedule your free basement or foundation inspection, we’ll make an appointment to visit your home, take a look at the surrounding land, inspect any damage, and look for warning signs you may have missed. Then, our trained specialist will provide a no-obligation quote that fully explains your home protection options. 

It’s always cheaper to prevent problems than fix the damage caused by them. We’ve earned our reputation as one of the most trusted foundation waterproofing services in the greater Pittsburgh area. Find out if your home is safe from a high water table. Schedule an inspection from A.M. Wall Anchor & Waterproofing today.

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