Commercial, Mixed-Use and Strata Roof Maintenance in Vancouver, B.C.

Hydrostatic Pressure: How To Avoid Its Effects On Your Foundation.

Hydrostatic Pressure: How To Avoid Its Effects On Your Foundation.

As professional roofers, we not only deal with roofing issues but also, basement floodings. The primary cause of basement flooding is Hydrostatic pressure. If you are a property owner who is facing this problem or has faced it before, this article will help you to avoid it in the future.

Basement flooding caused due to hydrostatic pressure affects the foundation by creating cracks in the walls, mold growth, humidity in the basement, curved walls (inward or outward), foul smell, leaks, etc. It can be prevented by professional as well as DIY methods.

In this article, we will discuss each of these effects in detail. Along with several methods to avoid the effect of hydrostatic pressure on your foundation.

What Is Hydrostatic Pressure? 

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by any liquid on the walls of its container when it is at rest. This pressure is a result of gravity on the liquid. In the case of a basement, the water flows downwards and applies pressure on the foundation.

What Are The Effects Of Hydrostatic Pressure On Your Foundation?

Here are some of the effects of hydrostatic pressure on your foundation:

  1. Cracks: The most common effect of hydrostatic pressure is the cracking of the foundation walls. When the pressure gets too high, it can cause cracks to form in both the interior and exterior of your foundation. These cracks can let in water, which can eventually lead to basement flooding.
  2. Bowed walls: Due to the tremendous water pressure, especially in large buildings, the basement walls cave inwards or outwards. This can further lead to cracks in these walls.
  3. Leaks: If there are cracks in your foundation, water can seep inside. These leaks can lead to mold and mildew growth, as well as structural damage.
  4. Humid Basement: One good indication of high hydrostatic pressure is a humid or moist basement.

How to Reduce Hydrostatic Pressure Against a Foundation?

To reduce hydrostatic pressure against your foundation, you can:

Install A Proper Drainage System.

A fully functional drainage system be it exterior or interior drains will collect water before it has a chance to build up against the foundation. This can be something as simple as a French drain or a more complex system that collects runoff from gutters and downspouts.

This system will collect and remove water from around the foundation, which will reduce the hydrostatic pressure.

Installing Downspout Extensions.

Downspout extensions are installed at the base of your gutters and extend beyond the edge of your roofline. This redirects the water away from your home and into a more suitable area.

It’s important to choose a sustainable material for your downspout extension as it has to withstand the elements and not deteriorate over time.

Utilize Proper Grading.

Your home or building should be built on top of a slope. This way the water naturally flows downwards that is away from your house. Automatically avoiding basement flooding.

If this is not a choice, then while grading your soil, make sure that it slopes away from your foundation at a rate of at least six degrees for every 10 feet. By doing this, you will prevent water from pooling around your foundation.

This simple step, can reduce the hydrostatic pressure against your foundation and prevent any further damage to your home or building.

Implementing a Basement Waterproofing System.

A basement waterproofing system is designed to prevent water infiltration into the basement. In turn, reducing the hydrostatic pressure against the foundation.

There are several different types of basement waterproofing systems, pick one that is appropriate for your home.

Sump Pump.

Sump pumps are designed to remove water that has accumulated in your basement or crawl space. They’re typically installed in a pit or basin where water collects. This pump pumps the water out of the basement and away from your foundation reducing hydrostatic pressure.

Drain Tile.

A drain tile is a pipe that is laid underground, it works well together with gravel and soil to slow down the flow of groundwater and direct it away from the foundation.

Judging by the structure of your home or building the drain tile system can either be simple or complex. However, its main purpose is to empty the groundwater at the end of your yard away from the foundation.

Sump Pit.

A sump pit is a small hole that is dug in the floor of your basement. It is then filled with gravel or other drainage material. This is to redirect water away from your foundation and into the pit where it can be safely drained away.

If the basement is big, you may need more than one sump pit. Many-a-times the sump pit works together with the drain tile system for more effective water extraction.

DIY Methods To Reduce Hydrostatic Pressure Against a Foundation.

If you are a fan of DIY solutions here are a few simple and doable once to reduce the hydrostatic pressure against your foundation:

  1. Installing a French drain, is easy compared to installing other drainage systems. You can easily do it yourself. Like any other drainage system, the purpose of this one is to redirect water away from your home.
  2. Adding soil amendments. This can help to improve the drainage around your foundation.
  3. Simply cleaning your gutters and downspouts, will prevent water accumulation and help the drainage systems to function seamlessly.
  4. You can also try covering the exposed portion of your foundation with landscaping fabric. This will help to prevent water from seeping into the soil and causing hydrostatic pressure to build up against your foundation walls.
  5. Finally, you can try adding soil around the base of your foundation. This will help to absorb some of the water that would otherwise cause hydrostatic pressure.


We hope this article helps you understand how hydrostatic pressure affects the foundation of your building and how you can combat it. If you have any questions related to roofing drop them in the comment section below.

Also, if you are looking for a reliable roofing professional team to tackle your roofing issues, contact us TODAY!

Leak-Stop is a one-stop destination to meet your roofing-related requirements. We offer roof repair, replacement, maintenance and inspection services all over GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District).

We offer a free inspection to first-time clients. Connect with us TODAY at 1 866 777 0084 for immediate assistance!

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