The basement is the deepest aspect of a house, and that means it’s more easily subjected to water damage. Floodwater and moisture have the potential to ruin its floors and walls, plus create long-term, lasting issues. Exploring basement waterproofing methods gives you the ability to keep it dry, free of mold, and prevent its foundation from becoming damaged.
There are right and wrong ways of waterproofing your basement, though. You have to be sure that water doesn’t enter your home, and caulk and waterproof paint are not going to get the job done. When you see moisture penetrating the concrete block, standing puddles on the ground, or other water-related issues in your basement, it may be time to hire a professional.
Here’s everything you need to know about basement waterproofing methods and why they are crucial to your house’s — and family’s — health and longevity.
Why Waterproofing is Important
The reality is that excess water can come from anywhere, including heavy rainfall, tree roots, slope failure, and poor construction. As water makes its way into your home, you’ll start to see:
- Pooling in your basement
- Cracks in the concrete walls and floors
- Cracks in the concrete along the windows
- Moisture or wet spots on the walls or stored items
- Problems with mold or mildew on interior surfaces
These cracks allow both water and air to come in, which means you could end up spending a lot more on your energy bills — particularly if you have a finished basement. Water is going to damage your belongings and lead to mold if no repair is made. The worst part of all is that if you ignore the problem, it’s only going to get worse.
Bigger cracks appear over time, and that will affect your entire home’s foundation. Depending on the problems that the water causes, it could lead to big and expensive foundation repairs. This makes interior and exterior waterproofing methods extremely important to make sure your basement stays dry.
Tell-Tale Signs Your Basement’s Waterproofing Method Needs to Be Improved
How do you know that it’s time to update the waterproofing in your basement? There are things that you can look for, smell, and feel to tell you that action needs to be taken. Here are some of the easiest indicators that your basement waterproofing would benefit from a boost:
- You see puddles of water.
- You see water stains on concrete, on your basement floor, or on any interior wall.
- There are visible leaks on the floor or on any wall.
- You see cracks in any interior basement walls, especially around windows.
- You see moisture or condensation on the basement windows.
- Doors are swollen or warped.
- You smell dampness or something musty.
- You see mold or mildew (often in the corners or around the perimeter of the basement).
You can also use this Healthy Basement Checklist to identify any issues that may require foundation repair, new drainage systems, or some other additional waterproofing method to help with keeping your basement dry. The moment you notice these kinds of issues, it’s important to take immediate action and call a contractor.
Top 3 Methods for Basement Waterproofing
There are a number of ways to go about it when you want to waterproof your basement. You have to first find and understand the full extent of the problem and identify the source of the water. That might be easy, especially if you can see water coming in through a crack, or it could require the help of an experienced basement waterproofing expert. Only then can you choose the best method for your home.
Here’s a look at some of the most common basement waterproofing methods.
1. Interior Basement Waterproofing
Interior waterproofing is the most common solution for water in a basement, as it addresses water that has already come in. This is what you should know:
- Water is rerouted so that it is no longer inside of your house.
- Contractors will use effective systems like a sump pump to get standing water out.
- They may also decide to have better pumps installed to keep water out in the long run.
- Interior sealants are added as a way to ensure that the water isn’t able to penetrate again.
- Moisture will be eliminated, and thus won’t be absorbed by soft surfaces or be able to travel into other parts of the home.
- Temporary materials are used, and in most instances, can be applied and completed in less than 24 hours.
The idea is to remove the moisture from your basement, ensure your drainage system is working properly, then shore up the interior to ensure the problem does not repeat down the road. That preventative measure might require examining the exterior of your structures, too.
2. Exterior Basement Waterproofing
Exterior basement waterproofing is often done during the construction of the home, and involves using polymers and membranes so that the exterior basement walls are properly coated. A few facts to keep in mind:
- The goal is to prevent water from ever entering your home.
- If your home has already been constructed, the prep will involve digging several feet down into the dirt to expose the foundation.
- Your contractor will use various application processes to apply polymers and membranes around the foundation.
- This ensures that the basement walls are properly waterproofed and will help to prevent water from seeping in in the future.
The exterior waterproofing process can take a week or more, depending on the size of your home and the soil conditions. It’s a small sacrifice to have it done right, though — especially if the sealants are effective and you are able to keep water away from the inside of your house.
You’ll also want to have your contractor take a look at your exterior drainage solutions to be certain they are not contributing to your interior moisture issues and causing long-term damage.
One of the main reasons you may be experiencing water in your basement is because of the way that your home is graded, and the landscaping may be a bigger issue than you realize. By fixing the drainage, it’s possible to waterproof your basement more effectively. Here are some of the most common drainage solutions available:
- Having French drains installed ensures that water is drained away from your home instead of toward it.
- While this may require excavation — i.e. digging up a significant portion of your yard — doing so can provide a long-term solution to interior water problems.
- A trench will need to be built, drainpipe laid, and the whole setup covered by landscape fabric or drainage gravel. It can take a few days to get the work done.
Gutters and Downspouts
- You may want to consider adding downspout extensions on your gutters.
- This allows you to keep rainwater from gathering too close to your foundation.
- The downspout extensions can be purchased at any home improvement store and added within minutes.
- There’s no preparation or excavation needed, just the purchase of the extensions themselves.
- Extensions are a good, easy, DIY basement waterproofing technique because it improves your drainage system and keeps water away from your foundation.
- This aids interior waterproofing by making it carry less of the weight, and might result in you not needing a permanent sump pump installed in your basement.
- Regrading is another form of excavation that moves soil and changes the slope of the ground to improve drainage.
- It can help steer water away from the foundation, which also helps lower the reliance on interior waterproofing to block moisture out of your basement .
- Shifting the soil slope can help mitigate problems from erosion and prevent water from pooling along the walls of your home.
- Taking this step assists other drainage systems and can reduce the pressure along your concrete foundation.
- Releasing pressure can prevent a crack from forming, thus preventing future damage.
All of these techniques work together to create a waterproofing system geared specifically toward your property, structures, and ground conditions, which means it has the best chance of being effective. Talk to a professional waterproofing expert to ensure you’re using top-of-the-line methods.
Take Action with Your Basement Today
As soon as you see (or smell) indications that your basement isn’t as waterproof as you expected it to be, you must explore a method to fix the problem. After all, you don’t want water gathering in your basement, damaging your home, and creating various issues for your home and your family.
Even the top waterproofing methods will have to be updated eventually, and that includes both interior and exterior systems. You might find that hard rains create erosion that requires excavation, an inside drain could need to be cleared, or some combination of different tactics might have to be used. That’s when it’s useful to have a waterproofing expert’s number stored in your phone.
Are you in search of immediate basement waterproofing services, or looking for a consultation with an expert? The team at LUX Foundation Solutions is here to answer any questions you have and help you to explore basement waterproofing methods that will work for your home. Contact us today to get started.