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Water That Enters a Home from the Exterior & the Potential Problems

By: Jasna Aleksandrova

Finding the water

Without water there would be no life on Earth. Having water on your property is considered to be a good thing. For example, some people are blessed if they live in a rural area and have a well for drinking water near their house. But on the other hand, having water under the foundation of a home, in the basement, or in the crawlspace is not good. Many homeowners neglect the parts of the home that you cannot see. This is not because they don’t care but because they don’t think remember to check, hence they don’t know that a problem exists. Many homeowners do not go into their crawlspace, look around their foundation, or inspect their basement for water that may be standing or entering their home. Also, it’s common that some homeowners know about an existing problem but they don’t feel a sense of urgency to correct it because they think that it’s an expensive problem to fix and they feel that can’t afford it or they feel that fighting pooling water during a rainy season every year is a losing battle.

Where is the water coming from?

Typically there are two ways that water seeps into a foundation, basement or crawlspace. There can be problems with the drainage system of the roof. Clogged or obstructed gutters can cause water to overflow which can contribute to it seeping under the home. Water can also run down exterior walls causing the same issues. These things are relatively easy to fix but sometimes it can seem that there isn’t actually a problem because the water only appears when it rains and eventually dries up when the weather gets better. However, by not checking the stated areas the homeowner is unaware of any potential problem that, in the long run, can cause damage to a home. Water can enter a foundation or basement even after standing water evaporates because there are still high moisture levels remaining within the soil. When moisture builds up in soil it creates hydrostatic pressure which can cause a rise in humidity, this can cause cracks in foundations and basement walls if they are not shielded properly. When cracks are created then moisture has an easier way to further enter into the home. Moisture also has the potential to build up in crawlspaces which will create a humid environment resulting in the same issues.

What happens when water enters?

Water that enters a basement, foundation or crawlspace is only the cause of a much bigger potential problem. At first the damage is limited to the lower area of the house, but if left untreated the whole house can be affected. For example, water standing in a crawlspace will cause humidity levels to build and then spread. The same thing is to be said for water content that creates cracks in foundations and basements. High moisture content will open the window for mold to grow and in time will affect the wooden structure of the house. Mold will grow even once the excess water in the crawlspace or around the home is removed. Moisture can be absorbed into the wooden structure creating a perfect environment for wood decaying fungus to grow and will also attract insects like carpenters ants. This is where the headaches start for the homeowner. By neglecting the area and allowing water to contribute to a humid environment a homeowner can face many structural issues that can be expensive to fix. The recommendation that experienced professionals make is to keep in mind that problems are never solved by themselves. It’s imperative to check foundations, basements and crawlspaces for water leaks or standing water on a regular basis and to repair potential leaks sooner rather than later. Solving a potential problem before it starts is much easier and more affordable.

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