How Does Hydrostatic Pressure Affect Your Basement?


Quick Answer

Hydrostatic pressure is the force the weight of ground water places against the basement walls. This force causes water to make its way through cracks and pores of the concrete walls and floors when the water table is higher than the basement floor and leads to flooding.

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Full Answer

Issues from clogged gutters to the slope of the landscape around the home lead to basement flooding as runoff enters the space; however, if there is no apparent cause of surface water entering the basement, the most likely cause is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic problems are more difficult to fix than problems that relate to surface water. When water enters the basement from several different locations at the same time, the most likely cause is hydrostatic pressure.

Older homes often use a perimeter drain system. In town, the pipe from the perimeter drain connects to the city storm system drain. However, if the basement floor level is below the street level, there is the potential for an overloaded storm system to force excess water back toward the basement, causing more leaking. Other options for dealing with flooding from hydrostatic pressure include installing sump pumps that allow water to enter dry wells where electric pumps discharge it back outside the home.

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