If your small office building has a slab-on-grade foundation, you may be surprised if you start having problems with water leaking in your building. Slab foundations can leak just like basement foundations. Any time concrete rests on soil, water vapor and water are constant threats.
A slab foundation often has protection from water vapor in the form of a vapor barrier. However, that may not stop water in liquid form. If you're having trouble with a wet building, call a commercial foundation waterproofing contractor such as Authentic Restoration & Waterproofing Inc for help. They might recommend a French drain. Here's how a French drain helps.
A French Drain Captures Water Before It Gets Inside
Water problems stem from a number of causes. One of the first things you should do is understand why water is leaking in your building. It might be due to a shift in the landscaping around your foundation, bad gutters, or a change in the water table under the soil.
You might fix bad gutters, but you can't fix the water table, so you'll need to find a way to divert the water, and that's where a French drain is handy. A French drain is buried under the ground beneath the level of the foundation footers buried in the soil. If water drains toward your office building, the water falls in the drain and is moved away from your building.
This is possible because the drain has slots on top that let water in rather than being enclosed like a drain used for plumbing. Plus, the drain is usually under gravel and soil so the rain can filter down to the drain quickly.
A French drain is buried beside your building and leads to the street or other place where it's safe to dump the water. The drain is permanent and always waiting and ready to protect your building no matter why water is threatening your foundation.
Cracks And Gaps Might Be Sealed Too
If your foundation has cracks in it, the waterproofing contractor may seal those up too so water can't seep in through them. Although a slab-on-grade foundation doesn't have walls like a basement, it often has short walls called stem walls that are made out of concrete blocks. These blocks are often drilled to allow pipes to go under your building. These holes and any other cracks might let water in too, so the contractor may seal them. They may also consider coating the stem wall to make sure moisture doesn't seep through the concrete.
A combination of correcting a drainage problem, sealing the stem wall, and installing a French drain should be enough to keep your slab-on-grade foundation dry. Keeping it dry is important for controlling moisture, bugs, and mold in your office building, and it's also important for preventing damage to the foundation of your building.