Wet slab foundation drainage issues and prevention

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In 2019, more than 60% of the newly built single-family houses were built on slab foundations. The gradual adoption of slab foundations for houses is evident and growing. 

The reasons for the adoption of slab foundations are numerous. To name a few:

  • Lesser time

Preparing a slab foundation takes minimal time. Likewise, these types of foundations also take less time to dry. And this is a profound reason why slab foundation is highly preferred by owners and realtors alike.

  • Minimizes the risk of damage

The slab foundation is very sturdy against common damage. Waterlogging, gas leaks are rare occurrences. Since it lies on poured concrete, it is independently strong.

  • Affordable

Compared to other foundations, the slab foundation is economical. It does not require any extra affording like crawl space or basement. Slab foundation reduces the labor costs and time required.

  • Controls pest damage

The concrete found in the slab foundation protects itself from termites and other pests. There are no open spaces nor wood for insects to chew upon and damage the foundation.

Albeit the numerous advantages, there are few issues concerning slab foundation. The most common cause behind the slab foundation is moisture. A wet slab foundation is a red flag for the house, in whole.

So, what are the causes of wet slab foundations and how do we solve them? 

  • Low quality of pipes or badly wrapped pipes

Water pipes in houses are exposed to constant expansion and contraction. This is due to the movement of water, and hot water in particular. During the preparation of a slab foundation, underground pipes are wrapped. This is to ensure protection from undue contact with the concrete slab.

However, if the quality of pipes is low, leakage is a common concern. Likewise, if they are not wrapped properly, the scope for unnecessary contact with the concrete is high. This means easy wear and tear of the pipes, leading to leaks.

Solution — The damaged pipes are to be replaced completely. And while installing the new pipes, ensure its complete wrapping.

  • Shifting or settling of earth

A major cause of wet slabs is when the earth below the slab foundation moves. Either by shifting or settling in, excess pressure is created in the foundation. This furthers into cracking of pipes and water lines.

These cracks grow and aggravate into pipe outbursts. These cause flooding in the foundation, and pipe repair or replacement is inevitable.

Solution — The shifting or settling in of the earth below the slab foundation is a severe issue. Invest in a quality slab foundation repair for a comprehensive solution.

  • Ineffective grading

Slab foundation drainage issues are easily caused due to ineffective grading. The concept of slab foundation works on water flow and stability. For this to work efficiently, the ground surrounding the slabs are of paramount importance. This ground should be sloped towards the exteriors of the house to accommodate easy water outflow. 

A common mistake we find is that the ground is sloped towards the house. This mistake contributes to improper drainage and the water towards the foundation of the house. Furthermore, this processes undue pressure against the foundation. If neglected for some time, the foundation cracks under pressure and the water gushes inside. 

Also, the accumulation of dirt around the foundation is a reason for the slopes to change. Again, water flows towards the foundation which is detrimental. 

Solution — Ensure effective grading before the slab foundation is prepared. Carefully design and create the slopes directing the water away from the foundation. And, see to it that the slope is at least 1 inch per foot.

  • Condensation

‘Sweating slab syndrome’ is a term used to describe the building of moisture on the concrete slab. This moisture is a direct result of the difference in temperature between the air and the floor. When the air vapor cools down, it condenses to form water droplets. This contributes to a wet slab foundation.  

Also, this accords with poor air quality and unpleasant environmental conditions. Please note that this is the exact ambiance for mold, fungus to grow manifold. Therefore, condensation is more than just water droplets forming on the concrete. Its adverse effects elevate the impact, whilst hindering the prevention process.

Solution —  Adding air conditioning vents are the most basic solution for condensation related issues. This allows for the trapped air to circulate and flow. Also, use exhaust fans to reduce the trapping of hot air. Bathrooms, kitchens are areas where exhaust fans are a must.

Consider insulating the basement, it shall eliminate condensation by disallowing the air to settle down.

The aforementioned issues are quite common in houses with a slab foundation. The proposed solutions are proven actionable steps and are effective. However, it cannot be deemed as a replacement for quality slab foundation repair.

In a similar vein, few steps can help in preventing wet slab foundation.

  • Constant lookout for moisture development

Early identification of moisture development can help avoid a wet slab foundation. Keep an eye out for places where water is stagnating. As an early measure, consider installing a french drain.

  • Repair gutters, downspouts

Slab foundation drainage issues are often due to improper or inadequate gutters and downspouts. Getting these repaired shall reduce the flow of water into the foundation.

  • Invest in surface grading

Also, invest in slab foundation repair to get your surface graded properly. This should rectify any issue regarding the slopes and their direction.

  • Dehumidification

Initially, using dehumidifiers can resolve issues concerning moisture development. However, remember – this is not a permanent solution for a wet slab foundation. 

  • Epoxy restoration

If pipes and water lines are cracked or damaged, water leakage is imperative. Hence, getting professional foundation repair to conduct epoxy restoration. It is an economical way of reaching the leakage areas and conducting pipe repair.

Now, we understand the issues concerning the wet slab foundation and its preventive measures. Investing in quality foundation repair during winter by hiring reliable foundation repair service providers is of paramount importance. Hence, consider the industry expert — Guardian Foundation repair before it is too late.

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