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What causes water seepage?

There is water in the ground virtually everywhere in Illinois. Builders know how to prevent seepage into their client's property, which can be damaging and expensive to fix. But when seepage does occur, the owner may blame the construction company and seek compensation in court.

What causes water to leak into basements? The two most common reasons are hydrostatic pressure and lateral pressure.

Hydrostatic pressure occurs when the water table reaches the foundation of a house or building. The water table refers to water that collects underground. It exists everywhere, though in drier climates the water table tends to be further down than in areas with more precipitation and access to bodies of water. When the water table rises to a foundation, such as after heavy rain, hydrostatic pressure can cause water to enter the basement.

Lateral pressure is caused by wet soil expanding, again usually caused by heavy precipitation. When the soil expands, it puts lateral, or sideways, pressure on the foundation. This can damage the foundation and create leaks into the basement.

The risk of lateral pressure can go up depending on the type of soil around the house. Clay soil tends to absorb more water and expand, while sand and loam are better at draining water quickly. Looser soil around the foundation due to the necessary excavation and backfill can also be vulnerable to expansion in damp conditions.

These things can occur because of age and natural forces, but that may not stop the homeowner from pursuing a claim against the builder. If that happens, the company could face an expensive settlement or verdict, as well as a hit to its reputation, unless it receives vigorous legal representation.

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