What's Basement Waterproofing:
Basement waterproofing involves techniques and materials to prevent water from penetrating the interior space or living area of a basement. Waterproofing a basement that is below ground level can require the application of sealant materials on the exterior walls or, the installation of interior drainage channels to a sump pump.
Total Foundation Solutions has the experience, equipment and products to handle all your foundation waterproofing needs. We typically approach waterproofing with different means and methods to waterproof based on a projects specific needs and desired outcomes.
There are 3 basic methods and approaches to basement waterproofing:
- Interior This process consist of catching and diverting the water from the inside. This method is most commonly used after an existing problem has been identified. This approach involves installing an interior drainage channel next to the footer and directing the collected water from the footer wall joint to this channel and out through a sump pump.
- Exterior As you would expect, this method will take place on the outside of your home. The goal with this method is to block the water from ever making its way inside in the basement. This will include exterior drainage systems and coating the exterior walls with a waterproof barrier.
- Drainage issues are one of the most common causes of basement moisture. This method can include repairing a poorly functioning drainage systems, or adding a drainage system if there is not one in place. Each situation is different, so it is important to have a good understanding of what waterproofing issues are needed for your home. A truly effective waterproofing system will utilize all 3 methods.
Interior waterproofing methods are typically the easiest and most affordable. These typically begin with ensuring that any cracks or holes in your basement walls, floors, and around windows and doors, are properly sealed and watertight. Water most frequently makes its way into our basement via these cracks or at the wall slab joint. The interior drainage systems when properly installed will collect and channel this water to a sump pump and discharge it away from the home. Special sealants can be used to effectively fill any cracks, preventing any new moisture from traveling inside. These sealants are typically quite effective and often come with extended warranties, guaranteeing their effectiveness.
Interior waterproofing methods in conjunction with sealants and vapor barriers, also do a good job at keeping humidity levels down, preventing condensation. These coatings can be put onto basement walls and floors creating a waterproof barrier. While these interior sealants are an important step in the overall waterproofing process, they do not address the underlying problems causing the moisture. The bigger problems are usually found on the outside.
When it comes to wet basements, the root of the problem is typically located outside of the home. So when its time to waterproof your basement, it is important to look outside of your basement walls. Exterior waterproofing is typically a much larger undertaking than the simple interior waterproofing we use on the inside. It is a good idea to consult a professional when considering exterior waterproofing methods.
Exterior waterproofing typically requires the excavation of the soil surrounding the foundation of the home. As you can imagine, this can be labor-intensive process, requiring heavy tools and machinery. Once all the soil around the foundation has been removed, a waterproof sealant can be applied to the exterior walls. This sealant is a typically a polymer base, which should last for the life of the building. Ideally, this exterior waterproofing process should occur during construction but is in many cases neglected or improper materials installed.
It is also important to mention gutter systems when discussing exterior methods. When properly installed, gutters direct rainwater away from the foundation of your home. However if not properly installed or maintained, these systems can have the opposite effect. Clogged gutters, or gutters that drain to close to your foundation will deposit water along the base of your home, exactly where you do not want it be. Make sure to keep your gutters clean and free of debris to keep them working properly. Ensure you have proper downspouts that direct water as far away from your home as possible.
Drainage problems are often the underlying cause of moisture in your basement. Having proper drainage around your home is essential if you want to keep your basement dry. The goal of these drainage systems is to direct water (whether it be groundwater or rainwater) away from the foundation of your home. There are numerous different drainage systems available to help control the water around your home. To start, you should examine the soil around your house. Different types of soil drain in different ways. Be sure your home is surrounded with soil that drains easily and does not retain moisture.
Each home is different, so be sure to thoroughly examine how the drainage around your home is functioning. Take a look at the slope of the ground around your foundation. It should slope away from your foundation, not towards it. Depending on your specific situation, it may be necessary to install a sump pump to collect water from the inside and pump it away. These interior drainage systems collect water from around your foundation and pump it out away from your basement. These systems should be designed to function in case of a power outage. As one might imagine, installing a sump pump or other interior drainage system can be quite the undertaking. It is advisable to consult a professional when considering this type of waterproofing method.
Which Method is Right for You?
As we mentioned earlier, each home is different. Thus the best waterproofing method for your home may be different than of your neighbor. There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to keeping your basement. While each situation is different, the best policy is always prevention rather than repair. Taking steps to waterproof your basement before water is present is sure to yield the best results. Water damage can cause major problems, resulting in costly repairs and lots of headaches.
While it is often tempting to save money now by ignoring the problem, waiting to address your basement waterproofing can lead to much bigger bills in the future. Basement waterproofing methods can vary greatly, so be sure to do your research and find out what method is the most appropriate for your unique situation.
Your home is your biggest investment. It is important to take the necessary steps to protect it. Dont wait until you have a problem to something about. Taking preventative measures can keep your basement dry and your pockets full. Reach out to our experienced team at Total Foundation Solutions Basement Waterproofing to learn more about keeping your basement dry.