Many inexperienced foundation waterproofing contractors operate from the misconception that waterproofing results from keeping water away from the foundation. The truth is that the key to determining the source of penetrations is to keep the foundation dry regardless of the water present around it. Determining the location of water seepage is essential to choosing the appropriate solution or the necessary structural repairs to achieve waterproofing of foundation. Moisture seeps through the walls, through the floor or floor/wall joint, or over the top of the wall. Marking the source while the seepage is active will ensure proper identification by the professional foundation waterproofing contractor.
Poured concrete foundation walls are usually subject to water penetration through wall cracks. About 98 percent of foundation cracks form during the first 30 days after the walls have been poured. These types of cracks are not the result of a structural foundation flaw, but usually due to shrinkage or construction practices. Not all cracks will be readily noticeable, but will be detected once the cement inside the crack deteriorates. The seepage will worsen over time, making the home susceptible to a variety of financial inconveniences, time-consuming cleanups, damaged possessions, poor indoor air quality, and the need of waterproofing a foundation. Other causes of wall leaks may result from tie rod ends, honeycombed concrete and pipe penetrations.
Drain tile systems are placed around the footings of a home to direct water away from the foundation wall and to assist in waterproofing. The absence or failure of a drain tile system creates hydrostatic pressure against the floor of floor/wall joint area. Revised building codes no longer allow drain tile systems to direct water into the city storm sewers. Sump pumps have become very common for waterproofing and directing the water out of the sump pits to a place on the property away from the foundation walls. If the sump pump is functioning properly, the usual source for leaks are a compromised drain tile system.
It is important to check your sump pump regularly to make sure that it is in proper working condition. Remove the cover and slowly pour water into the sump tank. Watch for the "float" to rise and trigger the pump. Once the pump is engaged, the water level will quickly lower and the float will shut off the pump. This is what is called "a normal sump cycle". Homeowners insurance usually does not cover basement flooding caused by ground water. And if they do, they may charge extra premiums, impose higher deductibles, or strictly limit the coverage. Once you've claimed this type of damage, the insurance company may exclude you from future coverage or even raise the price and deductibles to a very high rate. If your basement depends on a sump pump, you need a backup sump pump! For a small one-time investment, you get basement flood protection and peace of mind. The back-up sump pump is inexpensive flood insurance.