Although Millville, NJ, is home to major-league slugger Mike Trout, the residents of this quaint town still face the curveballs that we here at South Jersey Waterproofing face day in and out, such as the need for foundation wall structural strengthening.
Take, for instance, this home in Millville that we worked on in January 2012. The homeowners noticed that their basement foundation wall was bowing excessively and that cracks were forming on the cinderblock walls. They called our team to identify the issue and work to prevent every homeowner’s worst nightmare: a complete foundation wall failure and structural collapse of the home.
Identifying the Need for Structural Strengthening
Our structural engineering team quickly identified that excessive hydrostatic pressure was the cause of the wall bulge and worked in two different ways to repair the foundation due to the severity of the issue at hand.
First, we installed metal rods and fiber-reinforced concrete in the foundation block walls. Then, we paired this with steel beams that we fastened to the floor joists and ultimately cemented the supports into a footing at the foundation floor. This double-play structural strengthening approach is a way to ensure that nothing, not even intense hydrostatic pressure, can steal your home (see what we did there?)
What is hydrostatic pressure?
At this point, you might ask, what is hydrostatic pressure, and why was it so detrimental to this home?
According to Dictionary.com: “Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure increases in proportion to depth measured from the surface because of the increasing weight of fluid exerting downward force from above.”
Now, without getting overly technical, let’s break that down.
The ground surrounding your home is full of water, especially after heavy rains or if you live in a high water table. Once this water saturates enough, it needs somewhere underground to flow to. It wants to expand into space it doesn’t currently occupy, and your home could prevent that flow.
The foundation walls of your home are built to withstand vertical pressure (from you walking on the floors, pushing downwards), but water comes from a lateral / side motion – which would mean your foundation would have to act more like a dam than a ladder, which it is not.
If the walls of your foundation are solid and not cracked – this isn’t a problem! That pressure from the water moving and gravity holds it back or deflects it elsewhere. However, if your foundation has cracks or has been under pressure for extended periods, the pressure can be too much to bear, even for the most substantial wall. It could require the types of strengthening service we provided above.
If you fear your foundation walls are bowing or might succumb to hydrostatic pressure- call South Jersey Waterproofing TODAY! Our structural engineers have been helping homeowners save their residences for decades by performing structural strengthening services across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Click here to schedule an appointment with our waterproofing team or call us at (856) 428-8271.