Nobody wants to come home to a flooded or leaky basement, so it is important to take preventive measures ahead of time and to be prepared in case a leak does occur. If you are trying to figure out a way to cure a wet basement or how to prevent one from happening it’s a good idea to invest in basement waterproofing. You can protect what is yours, prevent any damages as well as save money instead of spending it on fixing a ruined basement or replacing damaged belongings.
Each basement and situation is different so it is important to know where the moisture could potentially come in from and to create a comprehensive solution that is going to last, but you need to make sure you are choosing the right method, materials and contractors for your specific situation.
Interior Sealants and Waterproofing
The most common entry point for water is through cracks in the concrete foundation, these cracks can be easily sealed from the inside.
Special sealants are injected into the opening, penetrating through to the exterior where they seal the path off to potential moisture and leaks. These sealants usually last for a long time and come with long warranties. Although interior sealers are good for preventing leaks and humidity, they won’t work perfectly if there is strong hydrostatic pressure (water pressure) pushing against the foundation.
Using waterproof coatings on the inside of your basement is also a good idea. Concrete waterproofing coatings adhere permanently to concrete walls and work well where there is a minor dampness or condensation issue. Sealants and waterproof coatings cannot fix major leaks or basement floods.
Exterior waterproofing helps to prevent water from entering your home to begin with so that the moisture doesn’t damage the foundation or the inside of your basement.
This method is accomplished by fully excavating around the home to the bottom of the foundation. Once that is done, the walls are sealed with a waterproof coating, which will waterproof the walls and direct water down to a drain system.
The drain can then be directed to a sump pump or down a slope that leads away from the foundation. This method will efficiently stop water from entering into your home and basement through the walls or through the foundation.
Interior & Exterior Drainage
If water did somehow make it into your home through a leak, then a proper drainage system is a great way to keep water under control. The easiest way to utilize drainage inside your basement is to have a sump pump that collects the water from inside and then pumps it out away from your home.
Interior drainage systems function by draining underground water from alongside the foundation of your home and then pump it away from the basement. These drainage systems should be prepared to work in case of a power outage, an overwhelming rainfall or heavy snowstorm and snow melt.
In addition to a drainage system, it is imperative to include a vapor barrier such as polyethylene sheeting inside the walls to protect against condensation.
Sealants are a controversial approach to waterproofing, and often considered a temporary fix. However, some contractors use a cement-based sealant, which crystallizes with the concrete to prevent leaks, and is made specifically for use inside the home.
Also considered a band-aid fix for waterproofing and is suitable only for poured concrete walls with cracks at least the width of a credit card.
Considered by many contractors to be the most effective way to waterproof if done properly. A drain, known as a trench or perimeter drain, is installed underground. However, excavation is an expensive and lengthy process, as well as potentially dangerous as it is so disruptive to the home
Depositing this clay material into the dirt surrounding the home to find cracks and absorb water is another controversial method; pouring sodium bentonite in front of cracks in the foundation prevents water from passing through and seeping into the home.
In addition, since there is no real way of controlling where the clay goes, it can fill up outdoor drains, causing water issues.
It is possible to dry out a basement and keep it that way with waterproofing, drainage and sealants. Still, there is no one best way to protect your home from leaks and moisture, because each situation is different. For some homes a coat or two of a waterproof sealant may be enough, while others may need a drainage system as well as a waterproof sealant.