How much does it cost to waterproof a basement? There are many issues to consider if you’re considering basement waterproofing solutions. Below-ground construction means there’s a strong potential for water infiltration, which is why you may notice your basement walls are damp, or you have some water on the floors during rainy seasons. Humid and damp basements lead to peeling paint, mold and mildew growth, rot and damage. As homes settle after construction, cracks can form in basement walls’ exterior waterproofing. Once outside soil becomes saturated, this water seeps into your basement through cracks that have formed. Structurally sound basement walls can absorb water from the soil, where it transfers through the walls in micro-pores to the interior of the basement. High-quality dehumidifiers can remove excess humidity, but longer-term options include waterproofing basement walls from inside using a basement panel system . Here are six great tips to help you get started down the right path.
1. Determine the source of the water
Concrete is porous, so seeing where your walls are wet tells you where the water is coming in. Look for streaks at window corners, cracks, at mortar joints or where pipes enter or exit your home through the foundation. If your entire wall is wet, you’ll need to do a condensation test. This involves drying an area of your wall, then attaching a one-foot square of aluminum foil using duct tape. After 24 hours, check the backside of the foil. If it’s damp, water is seeping in from the outside. If it’s dry, it’s coming from other places in your basement.
2. Don’t make repairs with standing water
It’s tempting to make repairs while you’ve got standing water in your basement, but it’s vital to remove the water first. Cracks in basement walls may have allowed the water in, but working in those conditions can increase your chances of electrocution. Turn off the basement power, then use a utility pump to remove the water into your yard. Once the basement is dry, start inspecting, fixing and waterproofing the basement walls, so that you’re not dealing with excessive moisture and hazardous conditions.
3. Address window well leaks
Window wells in basements commonly cause leaks, because if they’re not drained properly and maintained, they can end up with water pooling in the wells and leaking through the windows. Though it’s hard to install drainage after installation, digging a couple of feet lower in that area and filling it with gravel to improve drainage can help the process. Then, caulk around the window with a caulk suitable for masonry and install a sloped window well cover to keep rainwater away from the window well.
4. Add masonry waterproofing products to bare interior basement walls
If your condensation test showed that water was coming through your basement walls, use high-quality waterproofing basement paint. A combination of a basement waterproofing sealer and paint, it applies like paint will to keep your basement dry. Once it’s completely dried, it creates a watertight seal to keep moisture out of your basement space, making it a much more comfortable, dry and less humid environment to enjoy.
5. Don’t apply sealant over painted walls or efflorescence
If your basement walls are already painted, you’re going to have to remove that paint prior to adding sealant, because sealant only sticks to bare masonry walls. If there are several layers, hiring a blasting contractor to sandblast the walls may be faster, but it can also be handled by wire brushing the walls yourself. Efflorescence, or white deposits that form on damp concrete walls, must also be removed using muriatic acid, following the manufacturer’s directions.
6. Keep water away from your basement
If you keep water away from the walls, it’s easier to keep the basement dry. Remove foundation plantings that need watering, inspect and repair gutters, downspouts and similar items that direct water away from your home. Consider grading your yard away from the foundation using a minimum of a 2% slope. You could also install exterior drain tile, which can be expensive, but is very effective, and have a waterproof membrane installed as exterior basement waterproofing, and add a sump pump to move the water that does drain away from your home.
By taking the time to address a combined system of basement waterproofing solutions, you can find the appropriate solutions for your home’s specific situation. This allows you to make your basement into a comfortable, enjoyable space that you can use long into the future. But what if you’re not ready to take on the work yourself? Moisture Loc is here to help. Please feel free to contact us today to get started.