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5 Ways to Fix Foundation Leaks

Basement corner with efflorescence.

Foundation leaks are rarely a one-time occurrence; once water has flooded through your foundation, you can be certain that it will appear again.

There are two important factors that contribute to basement leaking — the clay bowl effect and hydrostatic pressure.

Understanding how they cause foundation leaks is the first step toward fixing the problem. Even better, plenty of foundation repair solutions exist to stop a leaky foundation for good.

2 Common Reasons Your Foundation Walls Leak

1. “The Clay Bowl Effect”

When your home was built, contractors began by digging a hole to make room for your basement and foundation a little larger than the space your home would need. The foundation would then be built inside this space, and the concrete floor would be poured.

Once the foundation was built, some of the excavated soil was used to fill in the gap around the outer edge of your foundation. This soil, known as “backfill”, was loose and fluffed from the excavation. Meanwhile, the untouched soil around it, known as “virgin soil”, may have been settling for hundreds, even thousands of years.

What does this mean for you? The backfilled soil surrounding your foundation will always be looser and more absorbent of water than the dense, hard-packed soil around it.

This forms a sort of “clay bowl” around your house — one that creates an artificial water table around your home. Water collects the most right around your foundation — exactly where you don’t want it to be.

Voids around basement wall during construction

2. Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure from fill soils expanding around basement walls

Water is heavy! As the soil around your home becomes soaked with moisture, the soil will expand, and the weight of the water will press on your foundation. This is known as hydrostatic pressure.

As hydrostatic pressure builds against your foundation, water works its way into your basement or crawl space through foundation cracks. Generally, these appear in walls, floors, openings around pipes, through basement windows, or even directly through porous concrete. If you have block walls, water may pass through the block and begin to fill the open cavities inside your walls.

However, the most common way that water enters a home is through the foundation wall-floor joint. We find that most flooded basements start with a leak here, where the floor and wall meet.

5 Solutions for Fixing Foundation Leaks

AFS fixes leaking foundations for homeowners in the Southeastern United States—including Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and parts of Florida and Georgia. We provide long-lasting, expertly engineered solutions for fixing and preventing foundation leaks. Let’s take a closer look at the solutions so you see which one works best for your situation.

1. Pier Systems

push piers exposed on side of house, sticking up from ground

Pier systems are an effective solution for stopping foundation leaks by redistributing the weight of your home. AT AFS, we use helical piers, push piers, and slab piers—all of which accomplish the same overall goal with slight variations in design. Piers are driven deep into the ground to transfer the weight of your home into stable soil layers like bedrock. This method is especially beneficial in rectifying issues related to foundation cracks, preventing further sinking, and avoiding additional settlement. It ensures the long-term safety and structural integrity of the building, even if a lot of water bombards your home at once.

  • Driven into the ground for transferring home weight to stable soil layers.
  • Prevents further sinking and settlement.
  • May close foundation cracks.

2. Wall Anchors

wall anchor in the ground outside of basement

Wall anchors are instrumental in stopping and reversing problems like bowing walls, specifically in basements. Installing wall anchors involves placing one metal plate on the basement wall and then another below the ground a few feet away. Then, using steel rods connected to each of the metal plates, tension provides counterpressure against the bowing walls. Over time, the basement walls will be more stable and protected from leaks. once installed, wall anchors continue to prevent structural damage and enhance the longevity of the building.

  • Utilized to stop and reverse wall bowing or tilting.
  • Installed deep into the ground, away from the wall.
  • Steel rods connected to wall plates provide counterpressure for stability.

3. Crawl Space Supports

three crawl space supports holding up a wooden beam inside crawl space

Crawl space supports comprise of support jacks specifically designed to handle issues like sagging and bouncing floors, common indicators of a leaky foundation. These steel supports are placed under weak sections of your crawl space and provide crucial stabilization to floors. When used in conjunction with crawl space encapsulation, crawl space supports ensure that moisture won’t lead to a damaged foundation in your home. It stays strong for years to come. Plus, out supports are adjustable, so they can adapt to whatever situation your home might find itself in.

  • Support jacks are used to solve issues with sagging, bouncing floors.
  • Stabilizes floors and reduces excess moisture in crawl space foundations.

4. IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System

man on ladder next to three i-beams on basement wall

The IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair I-Beams are designed to stop foundation leaks by preventing bowing and leaning walls. I-Beams are securely installed and affixed to the floor and ceiling joists, providing more than enough support to hold back cracks and leaks that result from hydrostatic pressure or the clay bowl effect. With the implementation of the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System from AFS, homeowners reinforce their homes against foundation leaks even in the worst weather.

  • Uses steel I-Beams to prevent bowing and leaning walls.
  • Provides long-lasting support to prevent cracks and leaks due to soil pressure.

5. Carbon Fiber Wall Reinforcement

man in hat installing carbon fiber reinforcement on a cement block basement wall

Carbon fiber reinforcement offers a straightforward and effective solution for fixing a leaky foundation. The process begins with preparing the affected wall to create a smooth surface. High-strength carbon fiber strips, known for their impressive durability and lightweight nature, are then coated in an epoxy resin and firmly applied to the wall.

After allowing time for the epoxy to cure, the carbon fiber strip acts much like a splint, enhancing the wall’s strength and holding it firmly in place to prevent any further movement or deformation. This method is favored for its ease of installation, minimal disruption, and high success rate. The end result is a secure, leak-free foundation, effectively arresting further damage and ensuring your home remains safe and dry.

  • Used to fix and prevent further bowing or cracking of basement and foundation walls.
  • Robust system providing unyielding support to home structure, stopping leak progression.

Choose AFS for Foundation Solutions

The southeastern states are similar in basement construction (and problems).  How do you dry a wet basement? You must stop the water at its entry point.

Since most basements flood from the wall-floor joint, one of the most common ways to stop the flooding is to install a perimeter drainage system along the edge of the basement floor. This would collect the water and direct it to a sump pump, which would then discharge it out of your home.

However, at AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists, we have an approach to solving water problems of all types. Our solutions cover all surfaces of the basement, including the foundation walls, basement floors, and even wet crawl spaces.

We offer free basement waterproofing estimates in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi. Contact us today to get started!

FAQs

Yes, foundation leaks can be very serious, leading to structural damage, decreased property value, and potential health problems due to mold and mildew.

It depends on your policy and the cause of the leaks. Generally, insurance covers leaks due to sudden events but not those resulting from gradual wear and tear or neglect.

Yes, untreated foundation leaks can lead to structural damage, indoor air quality issues, pest infestations, and damage to personal property.

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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