When working with concrete, hydrostatic pressure plays a big role. But what is it and why is it so important to factor in?
Hydrostatic pressure (water=hydro, static=resting) is the level of pressure that standing water creates. This pressure can press onto the walls of its container, whatever that may be. Concrete, although it seems very solid when dry, is susceptible to moisture and acts as a “container” of sorts. When moisture in the form of water vapor is present in concrete, a pressure can build up and affect the integrity of the concrete.
When concrete and water are mixed for the initial pouring, the water eventually evaporates, leaving millions of tiny channels that it escapes from. When the concrete is dry, these channels can again fill with water, whether it’s due to excessive moisture, flooding or something else. If the pressure builds up enough, the concrete can crack.
Flooring experts must always consider hydrostatic pressure when working with concrete, whether its on grade, above grade or below grade.