Few things are more frustrating for a homeowner than a wet basement. What looks to be a minor trickle or puddle is often an indication of a much larger problem. Moisture in your basement may cause a slew of expensive and time-consuming issues. Additionally, water in your basement can cause structural damage as well as dangerous mold. Here are some of the top basement waterproofing methods and which ones may be right for you.
What causes basement moisture?
To fully understand how to keep your basements dry and which basement waterproofing may be right for you, we must first understand what causes moisture in basements in the first place. Water, unfortunately, has a habit of making its way into our homes because they are placed below ground. In addition, basements are particularly susceptible to moisture due to their unique design and construction. The following are some of the most common sources of basement moisture:
Improper Soil and Drainage Systems: Rain and groundwater might find their way into your basement if they cannot drain correctly. One of the most prevalent reasons for basement moisture is insufficient soil and drainage systems.If water is not diverted away from the home, it will collect around the foundation and try to find its way inside.
Gutters that are improperly installed and maintained: Gutters are designed to deflect rainfall away from your foundation. Water will drain around your foundation rather than away from it if they are incorrectly placed or too blocked to operate.
Improper Slope: The soil surrounding your foundation should slope away from, not towards, your home. If the slope is incorrect, water will collect around your foundation rather than flow away from it. When water collects around your foundation, it creates hydrostatic pressure. As gravity pulls on the water, it will strive to escape in order to relieve the strain. Water will seep through any breaches in your basement’s walls and floors. In fact, the strain can become so intense that cracks form.
Cracks in Your Basement: Cracks in your basement walls, flooring, and around windows or doors allow water to move freely. Water will always choose the route of least resistance, and these fractures allow water to enter. Basements are typically moist environments but this can and should be avoided because condensation may bring mildew, mold, and other possible problems with it.
There are a number of different methods to waterproof your basement from the interior. One such method is by applying waterproofing coatings to the interior of concrete block, poured concrete, and other forms of masonry foundation walls by rolling or brushing. These ready-mix products are typically white or neutral in color, however they can be colored. Depending on the scope of the project, application is simple and typically rapid. Most waterproofing coatings dry in three hours or less, allowing for additional applications. For wet or leaky walls, waterproof coatings are the last line of protection. Most coatings have a water pressure rating of 10 to 15 psi. These coatings are useful for dealing with wet basement foundation walls.
Additionally sump pumps can also be utilized for interior basement waterproofing. A sump pump is a device that transports water from your basement to the exterior of your home. A sump is a naturally formed pit, typically a hole cut beneath the main surface of your basement floor. The sump pump is housed in this pit, known as a basin. The pump is outfitted with valves that detect rising water levels or pressure. Sump pumps automatically pump excess water out of the basement and away from your home when the water level rises too high. The wastewater line links the sump pump to a specified drainage area. Sump pumps are especially useful if your basement has water issues and can also clear flooding from within the basement. An important factor to consider is to ensure your sump pump is well-maintained so that when the time comes when you need it, the pump functions properly.
Excavating the soil away from the exterior basement wall, constructing the proper moisture barrier, filling the surrounding space with gravel, and building a footer draining system are the fundamental steps in exterior waterproofing. A sump pump may or may not be required with this solution but can be helpful in completely waterproofing your basement. The basement wall may require some prep work, and the moisture barrier may vary. A basement waterproofing professional can be able to tell you exactly which moisture barrier would work best for your basement. Given the kind of soil in our region, the gravel fill is especially important when installing this basement solution.
The advantages of exterior basement waterproofing are numerous. It keeps water from entering your basement rather than dealing with water that has already entered. It redirects water away from your foundation to the external drainage system. The gravel removes the hydrostatic pressure that would otherwise accumulate. Most significantly, it provides you with a completely dry and pleasant basement and with an outside basement waterproofing system, it eliminates not just seepage or damp patches, but also musty aromas, allowing your basement to be used as a living space.
Sealants and epoxy injections
Sealants and epoxy injections are commonly regarded as band-aid solutions, although some homeowners use them when a drainage system is not in their budget. These masonry waterproofing materials are used to keep moisture out of basement walls. Sealants should not be used on painted or efflorescent walls (white mineral deposits that form on the surface of concrete walls). The material can split as the foundation walls expand and compress, which is a frequent issue with many epoxy injections. Specific systems can be explored that use a flexible sealant, porous foam, and an impermeable membrane to prevent leaks without cracking, unlike mortar-based alternatives.
Drainage issues are frequently the root source of dampness in your basement. If you want to keep your basement dry, you must have good drainage surrounding your property. The purpose of these drainage systems is to move water away from your home’s foundation. A variety of drainage systems are available to assist regulate the water around your property. To begin, evaluate the dirt around your house.
Different soil types drain in different ways. Make sure your home is surrounded by soil that drains well and does not collect moisture. Since every home is unique, properly inspect how the drainage surrounding your property works. Examine the slope of the ground around your foundation. It should slope away from, not towards, your foundation. Depending on your individual scenario, as mentioned you may need to install a sump pump to collect and pump water from the interior to pair with your outdoor drainage system to fully protect your basement from any possibility of water entering your home.
As mentioned a method to waterproofing your basement is by starting from the outdoor exterior of your home and preventing the water from entering from rain or melting snow. There are additional systems that can assist with waterproofing your basement that can address some of the problem areas that are letting water in. One such area is the windows connected to your basement. Window wells can be utilized in this scenario.
Windows wells are galvanized steel or molded plastic elements that are affixed to the home’s exterior foundation. Window well coverings can also be installed in window wells. Though window wells are primarily intended to avoid soil collapse and debris accumulation, they can also aid in moisture infiltration. Water and snow are kept out of the window wells by enclosing them with well covers. Window wells excavate a piece of the soil around the window to let light and air into basements and to ease exit. Make sure that window wells do not drive water toward the basement window, just as you would while grading the soil away from the foundation.
Additionally, While repairing gutters and downspouts may appear to be one of the more basic techniques of waterproofing a basement, it is really one of the most efficient, especially when the cost-to-benefit ratio is considered. Downspouts without extensions pour water straight against the foundation, which can be disastrous. Thus, for the little expense of an extension, you may avoid thousands of dollars in foundation damage.
It can be difficult to find the source of moisture in your basement. As mentioned there are some dead giveaways to look out for when inspecting your basement yourself. However if you have any doubt or concern it is always best to speak with a professional who has experience with basement waterproofing. An experienced basement waterproofer can examine all aspects of your basement, both internally and externally and potentially find the source of the issue and recommend an action plan to keep your basement dry.