Foundation Problems and Waterproofing

Your home’s structural integrity depends on the strength of your foundation. It supports everything else – walls, windows, floors, doorways, roof – so when your foundation is damaged, it can cause serious problems throughout your home.

Foundation problems can often cause water problems, too. If you have cracks in walls and floors, water can sometimes seep into our homes. If the soil around our home is over saturated, it can put a lot of pressure on our foundations. This causes them to crack, allowing that water up into your basement. 

Most foundation issues begin with the soil under and surrounding the home. Every building foundation is affected by the soil underneath and around it. Expansive soils contain minerals that absorb water. As the soil absorbs water, it increases in volume. The more water it absorbs the more its volume increases.

The process works like a sponge, the soil expands when wet and shrinks when it’s dry. Expansions of ten percent or more are not uncommon. This change in volume can exert enough force on a building or other structure to cause serious damage. As signs of foundation problems begin to manifest they can often be found in all rooms of the home.

It is not only your stuff that can be damaged; new or existing interior work will also be ruined. Once leaking water has damaged the drywall, insulation, and so on, these materials must then be replaced because their integrity will be compromised.  Correct waterproofing is an important part of this promise given the damage that leaky walls and roofs can cause to the occupant’s business. Research has shown that while waterproofing accounts for only one per cent of a building’s overall costs, damage from water leaks accounts for up to 80 per cent of a building’s defects.

By preventing leaks, correct waterproofing not only ensures building safety, but also helps prevent loss of rental income caused by the building becoming uninhabitable for the tenant.

5 common waterproofing issues in commercial buildings that causes foundation problems

1. Issues from above – No matter where the business is located in the building, it is always exposed to risk of water leaks from above.

2. Incorrect waterproofing – Waterproofing must be installed correctly during the development stage.

3. Balconies – Balconies and terraces must be waterproofed carefully. Regardless of the direction of rain, any outside area open to the elements will get wet and incorrect waterproofing will only allow water to get straight into the building through the open pores or cracks.

4. Windows – Windows are one of the most vulnerable points for water to get into buildings.

5. Ignoring the need for maintenance – Ongoing maintenance is an important facet of building upkeep. Even the smallest leaks must be attended to immediately as they have the potential to grow into much bigger ones that will cause much more expensive damage.

Foundation problems in a residential building can cause water problems that damage finishes and furnishings, even the structure itself. In a commercial building, water can ruin expensive equipment and disrupt vital work. It all adds up to lost money, wasted time, upset customers and sometimes litigation.


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