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High Water Table

A high water table is common in areas with poorly drained soils and affects the health and stability of your foundation.

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A high water table can cause a myriad of issues for Winston-Salem and Raleigh, NC, homeowners. From regular basement floods to sewer system backups, and even structural damage, the impact of a high water table is often far-reaching. Luckily, there are things that you can do to manage the challenges that come with having a high water table. Read on to learn more. 

What Is a Water Table? 

A water table is an underground boundary between the soil surface and the area where groundwater is saturating soil and gravel. A water table can fluctuate with the seasons as climate variations affect it.   

Signs of a High Water Table 

Keep an eye out for these signs: 

  • Watermarks on walls and timbers: A water table pushing up under a suspended floor will hydrate the subfloor area, causing your timber flooring and skirting to absorb moisture. 
  • Flooding: A high water table is often above the basement floor. This almost always causes flooding in these areas.  
  • Standing water: Pooling water is common with high water tables, especially after it rains. The excess water can pool in your yard, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  
  • Septic system failure: An elevated water table interferes with septic systems. Septic tanks in such areas easily waterlog and flood. This may result in flooding in your house and toilets failing to drain water properly. 

What Causes a High Water Table? 

A water table rises when it receives more water than it can drain off. This can be from unusually high amounts of rain, melting snow, or excess water from higher elevations.  

Soil porosity does also contribute to a high water table. If the soil under your home drains efficiently, a high water table may not be a problem. But if the soil is dense and absorbent, the chances of a high water table developing is pretty high. Other factors that cause a high water table include: 

  • Drainage patterns 
  • Geological formations  
  • Proximity to surface water bodies 

How a High Water Table Could Affect You 

When the soil surrounding your home gets wet, it swells and exerts hydrostatic pressure against your foundation walls. This forces water to infiltrate your concrete floor and walls, and it may result in foundation cracks, shifting, and high humidity. Left unchecked, these issues may compromise your home’s structural integrity.  

A high water table can also instigate mold and mildew growth, which can lead to serious respiratory health issues. Mold growth can also contaminate your indoor air, leaving you with musty odors. To protect your household from these issues, contact a professional foundation repair and basement waterproofing expert. 

How to Mitigate High Water Table Problems 

There are many things you can do to mitigate the effects of a high water table. Start with these: 

Seal Existing Cracks 

This step involves clearing and cleaning out the cracks, applying an expanding polyurethane to fill them, and a fast-curing epoxy to stop water from entering your home. However, if the cracking is extensive, you may need to have professional foundation repair solutions installed. 

Waterproof the Basement from the Outside 

Any structure in the ground requires professional waterproofing. This is especially true for buildings built in areas with a high water table. 

Install an exterior water drainage system to provide relief to the hydrostatic pressure building up against your foundation walls. French drains, drain tiles, and yard drainage systems are just a few of the options available.  

Maintain Gutters and Downspouts 

In a similar vein, it’s important for any exterior drainage components to be in good, working order. Clean and clog-free gutters and downspouts can prevent overflows in a downpour. More importantly, make sure your downspouts extend at least three feet away from your foundation’s footing. If necessary, consider running extensions. 

Install Interior Waterproofing Solutions 

An interior drainage system is ideal for situations where water is entering the basement through a cove joint. A cove joint is the juncture where the basement wall meets the floor. Install the drain tile along the perimeter of your basement, just underneath the basement floor. The perforated pipes help to alleviate hydrostatic pressure and carry the excess water off to a sump pump for discharge from the foundation. 

The sump pump removes large amounts of water from your basement quickly, preventing flooding. A reliable sump pump system will always have a battery backup. 

At Tar Heel Basement Systems, we understand how elevations in the water table can damage your foundation and cause basement floods. To keep your basement dry and foundation stable, contact us to schedule a free basement waterproofing inspection today!

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