Why Your St. Louis Basement Is Leaking

We’re in the rainy season now in St. Louis, where Cardinals games can be iffy and the possibility of a rainout looms large.  It is also the time of year when we get a lot of calls about basements leaking because that water has nowhere to go and finds a way into your home.  There are a lot of causes of basement leaks, but here’s a good snapshot of why your St. Louis basement is leaking.

Causes of Basement Leaks

The most common cause for your basement to leak is when the ground soil around your foundation gets too saturated and penetrates the foundation due to immense pressure.

There are two types of pressure that can cause this – hydrostatic pressure and lateral pressure.  Hydrostatic pressure is when water is absorbed by soil above the water table and closer to the surface, and after that soil is saturated, storm water that hasn’t been absorbed forces the water table up.  This creates hydrostatic pressure below the foundation and causes water to e forced into the foundation, causing leaks.

Lateral pressure is when the looser soil around your foundation, which was loosened during the excavation process on your foundation, becomes saturated and forces pressure on the sides of your foundation, hence lateral pressure.  This happens a lot when your gutters and downspouts are clogged and flood the area around your foundation with water.

Floor cracks develop when the hydrostatic pressure from below forces the concrete apart and strains the seams in the layers of concrete by pressing up on the concrete in the floor.  When the water table rises, these cracks cause your basement floor to flood.

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