Structural Problems

What you might not be aware

Left unchecked, water can cause significant – even catastrophic structural damage to your home.  For most of us, our home is our single biggest investment.  Don’t let a short sighted view of water problems cause very expensive long range problems that could affect your future security.  Some of the most common structural problems caused by unattended water problems are:

Rotted SillPlate

One of the most common problem we see as waterproofers is when grade level is above the sillplate.  (the sillplate is a 2 x 10 on its side where the top of your foundation walls meet the floor joists for the first floor)  Anytime that happens, water can press against the sillplate, overtime causing is to rot and be unable to support the weight of the house above it.  If one side of the house drops 2″ because the sillplate fails, you will have cracks in floors, walls, windows, and ceilings all throughout the house.  Doors and windows won’t open correctly (or at all).  You could end up with thousands of dollars in repairs – that is in ADDITION to the cost of actually replacing the sillplate, which will be several thousand dollars all by itself.  (typically $5000-10,000)

Bowed Walls (block foundations)

Take something long and straight (like a level, or yardstick) and place it against your basement wall.  If both the top and bottom of the straight edge sit flush against the wall, then your wall is straight.  But if one end of the straight edge pulls away from the wall, then you have a bowed wall.  This happens most often where there is consistently too much water in the ground outside the foundation wall,increasing the weight of the soil, and eventually pushing the wall in.   If left unchecked, this will eventually cause the wall to buckle in and collapse.

Deteriorated Walls (stone foundations)

Similar to bowed walls, water can wreak havoc on stone foundation walls as well.  Over time, water can eat away at the mortar between the stones and turn it to dust, leaving nothing but gravity holding the stones in place.   Any additional pressure (heavy equipment outside, building a deck, digging along the footer inside, etc) could cause the wall to completely collapse, leaving you with a very large, very expensive mess.

Frost Heave

When stone walls have deteriorated on the outside, water can penetrate and sit in all of the various nooks and crannies.  Come winter time when the ground freezes, the water in the wall freezes as well.  When this happens, the ice can literally lift the stones in the wall above it, causing what we call Frost Heave.  When water freezes, it expands about 2 fold.  When soild freezes, it can expand up to 10x’s, depending on soil type.  Frost heave usually shows itself in the form of cracks in ceilings and walls, stuck doors and windows, and uneven floors.