Basement waterproofing do’s and don’ts

Posted Mar 31, 2021 in Waterproofing

Flood basement 466x320

Describ­ing a wet base­ment as unpleas­ant is an under­state­ment. A wet, leaky and musty or even a flood­ed base­ment is basi­cal­ly one of the worst night­mares to deal with for a home­own­er. Not only is it annoy­ing to step into a leaky base­ment, but it can be haz­ardous to your health.

The good news is that a smart home­own­er who knows the risks asso­ci­at­ed with a flood­ed or wet base­ment will take the prop­er steps to ensure the base­ment stays dry and warm year round.

All hous­es are not cre­at­ed equal, there­fore as a home­own­er, you are respon­si­ble for assess­ing your home and the sur­round­ing area so you can fig­ure out whether your base­ment is in dan­ger of flooding.

Hon­est­ly, all base­ments are sus­cep­ti­ble to flood­ing and this isn’t because a base­ment was poor­ly built. Sim­ply put, when water accu­mu­lates out­side of the home’s foun­da­tion it keeps putting pres­sure on the con­crete – this is called hydro­sta­t­ic pres­sure. One day, after all the push­ing, the con­crete will give up and crack, which is when water hap­pi­ly rush­es in to flood your base­ment and ruin your furniture.

The key to keep­ing your base­ment dry is good water­proof­ing and prop­er drainage. The whole sys­tem con­sists of many parts that work togeth­er includ­ing gut­ters, down­spouts, the slope of the ground around the foun­da­tion, sump pumps and more. It’s impor­tant to do your home­work when invest­ing in water­proof­ing so you can make sure that you are invest­ing in the right solu­tion for your home.

Let’s review some sim­ple base­ment water­proof­ing do’s and don’ts.

Do research meth­ods of waterproofing

There are three main meth­ods of base­ment water­proof­ing and these are inte­ri­or sealants, exte­ri­or water­proof­ing and drainage. Since each sit­u­a­tion, home and base­ment are dif­fer­ent there are dif­fer­ent solu­tions for dif­fer­ent issues. A coat or two of a water­proof sealant may be enough for some homes, while oth­ers may need to install a French drain, a sump pump and water­proof sealing.

Don’t use DIY sealants

The eas­i­est fix­es are always tem­po­rary. If you vis­it a home improve­ment store you will find many options for water­proof meth­ods and sealants boast­ing to be the best on the mar­ket. You will be bom­bard­ed with adver­tis­ing try­ing to con­vince you that so and so prod­uct is the best and will fix every leaky base­ment. This is sim­ply not true. We real­ly can’t stress enough that not every wet base­ment is the same. If you find a small leak and you want to cov­er it up with a tem­po­rary sealant while you con­coct a seri­ous plan of action, that’s fine as long as you under­stand that this is only tem­po­rary and the leak will come back.

Do find the source of the leak

The best way to fix a leaky base­ment is to find the source of the water and cut it off. Is the water seep­ing in through the ground? It is com­ing in through a win­dow? Is it the foun­da­tion of the home? This is the most impor­tant step of water­proof­ing because unless you cut off the source of the leak and fix it, it will keep com­ing back.

Don’t ignore a leak

The worse thing you can do for your home, your base­ment and the over­all foun­da­tion and struc­ture of your home is to ignore a leak. It may seem small and insignif­i­cant, but that small crack or leak will get big­ger and then you will have even big­ger prob­lems to deal with. Being cheap won’t get you far, it’s bet­ter to invest a lit­tle bit of mon­ey and take care of a prob­lem before it gets worse and you end up hav­ing to pay a lot more for dam­age con­trol. Did you even know that base­ment water­proof­ing can save you mon­ey in the long run? It can reduce ener­gy costs, save you mon­ey on your homeowner’s insur­ance as well as increase the over­all val­ue of your home.

Do keep your gut­ters clean

Who would have thought that clogged gut­ters could ulti­mate­ly lead to a flood­ed base­ment? Imag­ine a backed up rain gut­ter sud­den­ly let­ting loose and dump­ing all that water against the foun­da­tion of your home. Keep your gut­ters clean and free from debris and leaves so that the col­lect­ed water can eas­i­ly make its way to the down­spouts and away from your home.

Don’t allow your down­spouts to direct water around the foun­da­tion of your home

Speak­ing of down­spouts, the whole point of hav­ing them is to make sure they keep water away from your home. If your down­spout is just shoot­ing water against the foun­da­tion of your home it’s more like­ly to cause a prob­lem than fix it.

What our customers say

  • We con­tract­ed Fam­i­ly Water­proof­ing Solu­tions for exte­ri­or wall seal­ing and foun­da­tion crack repair ser­vices. Ken was very thor­ough in explain­ing the work that would be done, and his crew did a great job. This busi­ness was a plea­sure to work with.

    Stacie T.
  • Work­man­ship and ser­vice were excel­lent. Would rec­om­mend with­out reservation.

    Ed
  • You and your crew did a great job in our base­ment and crawl­space. You went the extra mile to insure that all of our water seep­age prob­lems are over. We would rec­om­mend you high­ly to oth­er peo­ple. Your qual­i­ty and time­ly work out­match­es all the others.

    William