Waterproofing Basements and Foundations
Learn why it’s important to protect your home’s foundation and get tips on how to properly seal areas that are prone to flooding and water damage.
There are many reasons to waterproof a home’s foundation or basement, all of which can help you avoid paying for costly damages in the event of flooding or other water-related issues. Natural disasters, heavy rain, flooding and leaks can all lead to water damage, and, when left untreated, can cause even bigger problems such as mold and mildew growth or structure and property damage to your home. The good news is there are also plenty of ways you can help prevent these problems from occurring. Whether it’s a simple do-it-yourself project or a large job that requires hiring a professional contractor, you should take measures to reinforce these areas of your home to make them resistant to water.
Why You Should Waterproof
Adding a layer (or two) of protection to your basement or foundation will not only help strengthen the base, but can also result in less money spent on potential damages if you experience flooding, leaks or moisture problems.
PROTECTION AGAINST NATURAL DISASTERS
Waterproofing is a must if you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or heavy rainfall, as flooding can often occur. Excess water can also enter your home through cracks in the wall or seep in from the ground through the floor.
Flooding can occur from natural sources, like a heavy storm with a lot of rainfall, but also from plumbing malfunctions, such as a burst pipe. When you have waterproof systems in place, such as an advanced drainage system or a durable sealant, a subterranean floor may be less susceptible to extensive water damage, even if in the end it still needs some form of flood repair.
MOISTURE AND WATER DAMAGE
While basements might be naturally damp places, even a little bit of moisture (or a small trickle of water) can go a long way toward damaging your property. Moisture can cause cracks to form in the floor and walls to become pliable and warp, which overtime can lead to rotting and eventually serious structural damage. Additionally, the rotting could result in mold, which not only affects the building materials, but can also affect your health.
STRUCTURE AND PROPERTY DAMAGE
If your basement is a place where you store a lot of your belongings, without proper waterproofing, they could become damaged or ruined when exposed to excess moisture or water, especially furniture and items made out of wood. Homes in wetter climates usually have moist soil, which means your house and the foundation are susceptible to water seepage. The seepage is typically found in the edges where the floor and wall meet, and should be tightly sealed in order to prevent cracked foundations, bowed walls or larger structure issues.
Different Types of Waterproofing Methods
In order to effectively protect your foundation from moisture and water seepage, you should first have a thorough professional inspection performed by an expert. He or she will help you locate any water damage or problem areas that might need flood repair and help determine how to go about fixing these issues. The expert can identify products and services that can help you safely and efficiently waterproof your basement and foundation, including both the interior and exterior areas of your home.
EXTERIOR AND FOUNDATION DRAINAGE
No waterproofing system will be effective unless there is proper foundation drainage in place, too. Without adequate drainage, water pressure can build up underground, so a sump pump needs to be installed to remove water that has accumulated in basement areas. Sump pumps carry water away from a house, usually to a storm drain, and they can help decrease dampness if the water table is above the home’s foundation. Several ways to help keep water away from the foundation at the surface level include:
- A good gutter system to help move water (that comes off the roof) away from the home.
- Downspouts that empty into drains with proper rates and into level (or sloped) ground areas.
- High-quality soil that's not too compact and drains well--sometimes even adding a layer of loose rocks or gravel can help facilitate proper water seepage.
These thick cement-like coatings permanently adhere to concrete and masonry walls. They should be applied with a brush made with heavy bristles, such as Tampico, durable nylon or a strong synthetic material and shouldn’t be applied to previously painted surfaces.
This waterproofing material is also knows as a densifier and can be applied to walls and floors made of concrete or brick that aren’t already painted or sealed with any other coating. Silicone sealers form a hard, waterproof surface and won’t peel or chip once applied. They are easy to use and most homeowners can apply them as a DIY method.
PLASTIC SHEETS AND PANELS
An alternative to sealants and coatings, this method is best used for waterproofing walls and should be used in combination with an interior basement drainage system. The entire system is more expensive than other techniques; however, it only stops water from ruining items in a basement, but not from penetrating walls, which means you may end up dealing with flood repairs in the end.
What to Do If You Have Water Damage in Your Basement
If you need flood repair for your foundation or basement, contact the appropriate services – for example, a water restoration company, a mold remediation specialist or a general contractor to handle multiple types of issues. Once you’ve had any necessary repairs made, consider waterproofing your foundation and/or basement to help protect against flooding and reduce any further water damage issues.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.