Here is a practical guide to waterproofing basements. We’ll be looking at how to seal a basement and the benefits that come with a waterproof basement.
If you have a basement in your home, I’m sure you already know the advantages that come with it.
Basement Waterproofing Systems
A basement is a great place to store many belongings which you don’t want to get in the way of others. You can also use it as a living space, a workshop, or even a recording studio.
Mechanical equipment like boilers, water heaters, furnaces, and oil tanks can all be stored in the basement.
As helpful as your basement can be, it could also be a source of worry, and the number one reason for this is moisture.
Because of their depth, basements can attract dampness and humidity, which will cause mold growth and draw an unwanted water bug population.
Types of Basement Waterproofing
You must keep your basement dry to ensure the safety of your belongings down there. If you have no idea how to keep the moisture out, you’re in luck!
What is basement waterproofing?
In this article, we’ll be discussing simple do-it-yourself basement waterproofing techniques. You will also find these approaches effective and affordable.
Should I Water Seal My Basement?
If your basement isn’t waterproof, then you are exposing your furniture and other belongings to the risk of being soaked in flood.
That aside, a soaked basement means the foundation is filled with moisture, which is not good news for the rest of the building.
If you’d like to keep your belongings dry and your foundation solid, you need to waterproof your basement.
Here is a separate guideline for new construction basement waterproofing.
How To Waterproof A Basement
You can follow these steps now that you’ve understood why you need to waterproof your basement.
These tips are very practical when it comes to waterproofing basements.
Tip 1: Clean The Area
Using half a bucket of warm water, a cup of solid dish soap, and a long-handled brush, you can scrub off mold and mildew from your basement walls.
For more effective results, you can add some oxygen bleach into the bucket of warm water.
You could try liquid chlorine bleach, too, although it evaporates faster than oxygen bleach, so it doesn’t always kill the spores. Another advantage of oxygen bleach is that it is safe and won’t leave stains on your clothes.
You will need to pressure to ensure the mold and mildew are all scrubbed off. After doing this, rinse away the bleach with warm water and leave it to dry.
Tip 2: Plug The Holes
Go through the basement walls and check for holes, then inspect any area where a conduit, pipe, or duct runs through a hole in your foundation walls. Now check the spaces around the penetration hole.
A small gap can serve as an entry point for water.
There are many products you can use to plug holes in your masonry. One of the best materials you can use for this is hydraulic cement.
You have to mix the cement powder with some water until you get a fine paste. The recommended mix should be three parts cement to 1 part water.
When your cement mix is correct, use a hand trowel to scoop some up and plug all the holes you can find.
The good thing about hydraulic cement is that it sets in a concise time. 5 to 7 minutes should be enough. It also seals up nicely, making it impossible for water to pass through.
Tip 3: Seal The Cracks
Plugging the holes in the concrete and sealing the cracks are almost similar. But cracks aren’t holes, so the approach is slightly different.
You can use hydraulic cement to patch up the cracks in the concrete walls or floors. You can also use an epoxy injection system to fill them up. The good thing about epoxies is that they can cover cracks as thin as 1/6 inches.
The epoxy injection system comprises caulking tubes of high-quality epoxy, epoxy crack sealer, mixing nozzles, and several plastic injection ports.
Glue the ports in the appropriate positions, then scoop some epoxy with a putty knife. Now spread the epoxy over the cracks and around the base of the injection ports.
Give it some time to cure, then use the caulking gun to force the epoxy into each port. This will ensure it gets deep into the cracks and fills up every inch.
Push end caps on the tip of each injection port, then leave the epoxy to cure (this would take no more than five days).
After the curing process, you can use a saw to cut off the protruding injection ports.
Tip 4: Use Waterproof Coating
Now that the basement surfaces have been washed, and openings in walls and floors have been sealed, you can proceed to apply a waterproof coating.
This is another excellent way to keep moisture out of your basement, and there are several variations of waterproof coatings on the market.
It would be in your best interest to buy a high-quality coating. It’ll be a shame if, after you’ve spent all that time and energy cleaning and sealing, you use a substandard waterproof coating that won’t last long.
As you can expect, high-quality waterproof coatings will cost more than the inferior ones, but a few extra dollars shouldn’t stop you from having a dry basement.
This is one of the best ways to waterproof a basement.
Other Basement Water Prevention Approaches
By following the tips above, you can ensure that your basement is now waterproof. However, there are other steps you can take to ensure that it remains dry all year round.
If you are interested in water sealing basements, follow these tips.
Tip 1: Have a sound drainage system
If your drainage system doesn’t successfully channel water away from your foundation, you need to get it fixed or reworked.
Sealing cracks and using waterproof coating is excellent, but using a sound drainage system as a trusted backup gives you a better chance of maintaining a dry basement.
Tip 2: Rework the landscape
If you have a landscape that drives rainwater away from your home, skip this tip. If not, then ensure you hire a professional landscaper to do some work on your yard.
Ensure that rainwater or melted snow flows away from your building after the rework. Landscape work takes a lot of time, but it’ll be worth the wait.
Tip 3: Fix damaged pipes
Leaking pipes will keep putting unnecessary pressure on all the basement waterproofing materials you have used so far. To shift the odds in your favor, you should look for and fix any leakages you find.
What Is The Best Basement Waterproofing System?
There is no such thing as the “best” basement waterproofing system. This is because all the systems have their unique roles to play and their advantages.
That being said, let’s look at the major ones one by one.
Basement Waterproofing Methods
With sealants like Epoxies, you can seal cracks and pipe penetrations from the interior.
Epoxies are very tough and can be pressure-injected deep into openings. With an interior sealant, moisture cannot be absorbed by the floors or walls of the basement.
This also prevents moisture from spreading into other house areas, so it’s an ideal waterproofing system.
Interior Water Drainage System
An interior water drainage system can help keep your basement from being flooded by redirecting water from inside the basement to outside the house.
You can use a French drain or a PVC pipe to achieve this.
Exterior Basement Waterproofing
An exterior basement waterproofing system is meant to prevent water and moisture from getting in from the outside.
You can achieve this by applying coatings to the exterior basement walls or installing downspouts or gutters to drive water away from your foundation.
Polymer-based products are ideal for exterior waterproofing because they can last as long as the building itself and cannot be affected by soil pH.
You can spray this waterproofing material directly on your basement’s exterior walls. They also cure very fast, so you wouldn’t have to wait long to begin seeing results.
Interior Basement Waterproofing
You can spread coatings along your basement’s interior walls to keep moisture from coming in. This is ideal in a situation where condensation is the primary cause of dampness.
For larger volumes of water, a French drain or a sump pump can prevent basement flooding.
Foundation Crack Injections
These can be used to treat cracks in poured concrete foundations. Although hydrophobic injections are also a good option, one of the most commonly used fixes is epoxy crack injections.
Crack injections work well to prevent water and moisture from penetrating your basement.
A basement is a great space in your house, but thanks to its depth, it is an accessible destination for water and moisture. Here is how to know if you have water problems in your basement.
This is why homeowners need to be familiar with as many basement waterproofing methods and techniques as possible.
Follow these tips to keep your basement free of water for as long as possible.