Part of Union County, NJ, Berkeley Heights is conveniently located off of Route 78 in the Watchung Mountains and has many a wet basement.
Until the 1940’s when AT&T (Bell Labs) opened its main headquarters in Berkeley Heights, this area was mostly farmland. Berkeley Heights has several well preserved older homes from the 1800’s, but the majority of the homes were built in the 1950’s. The job opportunities at AT&T, and other large companies that opened in Berkeley Heights, attracted many families to the town.
Today, most homes in Berkeley Heights are over sixty years old. These homes are being updated with homeowners addressing basement foundation issues. Families enjoy their basements as additional living space so it is vital the area stay dry.
A Wet Basement occurs in Berkeley Heights, NJ because of three factors
- A high water table.
- The basement is made of porous concrete.
- The basement is located below the frost line.
A High Water Table
Most people know that the water table has something to do with ground water. The word table provides an image of a flat surface, like the surface of a tabletop.
The water table lies underground and is the level at which the soil and gravel are completely saturated with water. There is often some seasonal change in the water table, due to rain or drought. A high water table is especially common in areas where the soil is not well drained due to high levels of clay.
Concrete is Porous
Most wet basements Berkeley Heights, NJ are made of concrete. Concrete is a composite construction material composed primarily of aggregate, cement, and water. Concrete is porous. Water is a primary ingredient of concrete from the beginning. As the concrete cures the evaporable water, water that can evaporate away, does so and is lost. As the water evaporates it leaves the pores in the concrete that were saturated with water empty. These empty pores make the concrete porous.
The Basement is Below the Frost Line
Snow melts, rain falls. Much of this moisture is pulled deeper into the frost line by gravity. The frost line is the depth in the ground in which the water NEVER freezes. This is important in a building’s construction because if a footing and foundation wall are built above the frost line, the chances of that basement heaving will occur go up. Times of extreme seepage occur usually in early spring and late fall. Of course a catastrophic event like a Nor’easter or a Hurricane can happen at any time.