Knowing what to expect from a basement is half the battle. So what is the difference between a wet basement and a typical basement? The answer lies in understanding that no basement is 100% dry. Historically the basement was not expected to be a living or dry storage area. Today however, many people expect much more from the basement space – anywhere from basement apartments to recreation rooms to home offices. Most basements, by the sheer nature of the fact that they are built into the ground, present the distinct possibility that water can intrude. (i.e. the walls of the basement are also the foundation of the house). Water in the soil can put constant pressure on basement walls. Plus, water follows the path of least resistance into a home and over time can find its way into a basement. Ultimately this turns what was once a dry basement into a potentially problematic area. In order to prevent wet basements, it is important to understand where the water is coming from. There are two common sources of water that seeps into basements:
• Surface water running down foundation walls
• Groundwater in water-saturated soils being pushed into the basement by hydrostatic pressure
Foundations New and Old Foundations have evolved over time and different materials have been employed. You may find that in your area there is a predominant foundation type.
Stone foundation 1800’s to 1920 Brick foundation late 1800’s to 1930’s
Concrete foundation early 1900’s to now
Concrete block foundation 1940 to now