There is so much information available about basement waterproofing which you might have read or heard. Some of this information would be correct and some would be just talks. We are here to clear the basics of waterproofing of basement and the facts related to it.
The basement of any house has as much importance as any other room in the house. As the basement is situated at the lower level of the house, it is at a high risk of flood. There is a constant fear in this area that it might take in water. Hence, the only solution to get freed from this threat is to get the basement waterproofed.
How can waterproofing a basement be beneficial?
Waterproofing a basement plays a key role in avoiding any sort of allergen, eliminating any musty smells which are generally associated with older basements and other moisture-related issues. When waterproofed, the basement becomes a bearable place to stand as it allows dry air to flow and helps in maintaining temperature consistency. Hence, whenever a new house is constructed, it is highly recommended that it is waterproofed.
Materials for Waterproofing
There are two types of waterproofing materials available in the market namely:
- Spray on Foundation Waterproofing Products
- Polyethylene foundation membranes
Each of the above-mentioned material has its own merits and shortcomings. Also, it should be noted that both these types are incompatible with each other. It is entirely based on the type of foundation that the house has, that which material to use. Hence, the type of foundation decides which type of waterproofing materials will be best for it.
Basement Waterproofing: Check out the options
When a basement is waterproofed, it is to be noted that there are two options available namely Interior and Exterior Waterproofing. You need to know what your house’s requirement is.
The most effective way to handle the water problems of the basement area is Interior Waterproofing. This process includes the installation of a French drain or above floor drainage system. A sump pump and a basement humidifier are what are required for doing so. The water that is collected in the drainage system and dehumidifier is then removed.
Exterior Waterproofing is a process of digging down to the basement foundation footing. When the digging is done, waterproof barriers are installed above the foundation walls. Thereafter, an external drainage system is placed. This is a permanent solution and is quite expensive.
What to expect from a good waterproofing?
When the concept of waterproofing was not evolved, many of the foundations were developed damp-proofed. But this was not enough as it just halted the water vapour. The under-pressure water would find its way and forcefully infiltrated into an already damp-filled basement which just raised the complexity making the matter worse.
There is a lot of difference between waterproofing and damp proofing. Damp proofing is quite fragile and fails in bridging the gaps and spaces in foundations. However, for addressing all these issues, the concept of waterproofing was developed. Almost all the new projects that are being developed making use of the waterproofing for the easy stretching over the cracks and for withstanding water. Hence, whenever you opt to waterproof the basement of your house, make sure, you get the below things:
- Ability to withstand water under extreme pressure
- Ability to span all the cracks in the foundation
- Should be able to stop water vapor from getting into the basement.
What can be achieved with Waterproofing?
The biggest advantage one can attain with waterproofing is constructing all the seamless barriers. When water starts getting into the area, it creates a mess. The damage done by water infiltration is huge as it decreases the sturdiness of the foundation enabling the person to increase their living space. When it is waterproofed, the personal belongings of the person are saved from getting ruined.
Below mentioned are some of the benefits achieved by waterproofing a house:
Helpful in creating a healthy environment at home
Mould usually takes about 24 to 48 hours to grow on any damp surface. There are chances that these moulds are not visible or cannot be smelled but they are still present. However, their presence can be very dangerous when a human is constantly living in such an area. Breathing in such an area can cause some health issues like Respiratory issues, asthma, allergies, sinus complication, etc. Children, elders, and small pets are more prone to the wrath of mould as these groups possess not so strong immune system.
Hence, waterproofing saves the person from getting caught in such serious health issues and also from the hefty bills of the treatment.
When the basement is not waterproofed, the damage faced by the house is too severe as sometimes, it affects the integrity of the house severely, making it unsafe to inhabit. The foundation of the home supports the weight of the whole house. When the water gets into the foundation wall, they weaken and start to crack
Waterproofing can solve this problem. The waterproofing membranes help in prolonging the lifespan of the house by restricting any moisture that may intrude which causes rust, corrosion, rotting, structural defects along with the damage to content. It helps in relieving the pressure on the walls from outside. And the most important thing one should be aware of is waterproofing is much cheaper as compared to the foundation repairs one might need to do later.
The living space is increased
A good spacious and dry basement not only provides a good amount of storage space, but it also can be used as a living space. When you have a waterproof basement, it can be remodeled to add rooms to it, doing which, ones gets a giant extra floor. Also, getting more such living space increases the value of the home.
Shield from water damage
Whenever the water is leaked in the basement, it causes damage by ruining the properties like furniture, moisture, and carpeting which stains the floors and walls and causing other structural problems. Waterproofing saves the house from such issues.
Shields the floors
Almost all the floors in the basement are made using the concrete floor which is two or four inches in thickness. Now as this being a thin floor, they are prone to extreme pressure from the groundwater that is below the floor. This pressure can crack the floor and fill the basement with water if it is not properly maintained.
Hence, waterproofing the basement will save our floors from cracking down. Also, this is too much beneficial when one has wooden flooring.
Your home’s energy costs decline substantially
The humid air in the home can put pressure on the home’s HVAC system. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. This sultry air pressure causes the heating and cooling bills to rise somewhere from 15 percent to 20 percent.
In such cases, if the basement has been waterproofed, it helps in keeping the home’s humidity levels persistent so that the energy bill does not go through the roof.
Raises the value of property
Are you looking forward to selling your house? If yes, the damage done by the water and growth of moulds will decline the value of your home by 25 percent to 30 percent which is a big loss. Whereas, if we look at the positive side imagining that the basement is waterproofed perfectly, will gain you a good profit as the property rates would go high. Also, this waterproofed basement will assure the potential buyers that their new home will be dry for years and free from any such leaking problems.
Some Do’s and Don’ts of Basement Waterproofing
If after going through all the benefits of waterproofing, you have made up your mind to waterproof the basement, here are some essential tips for you to read:
Identify the water source
The wet streaks are visible as the concrete is porous, which identifies where the water is getting leaked. You may look for the streaks along the cracks, at the window corners, pipes, mortar joints, etc.
However, how will one determine the source when the entire wall gets wet? For this, conduction test needs to be done, where the entire wall is made dry with the help of a rag. Thereafter, one-foot square piece of aluminium is stick to the door using a dust tape. After 24 hours, peel off the foil and check its underside. If this appears to be wet, water is seeping from the outside wall. If it is dry, there is some other leakage point in the basement.
Do fill cracks with hydraulic cement
The bottom of the basement wall is one of the most common places for cracks to appear. Many times, while constructing the foundation, a cold joint or a weak spot in the foundation that is between wall and footing may develop some cracks due to the shifting and settling of the foundation. Sealing these cracks is possible without the help of experts (assuming that the cracks are not too deep). One can make use of the Hydraulic cement, which is comprised of the additives that cause the cement to expand and set quickly.
Ensure that a masonry waterproofing product is applied for baring interior basement wall
If the aluminium foil test shows that the basement wall soaks the water leaving it wet, one can make use of the high-quality waterproof paint for sealing the interior of the walls. It is a premixed sealant and goes on just as if it is a coat of paint.
Don’t apply the sealer on the painted wall
If one wants to apply the sealer to the basement walls, it is necessary that the paint colour from the wall is removed, which only adheres to bare masonry. These coats may be one coat or several coats, which are removed easily through a sandblaster. If one wants to go with an inexpensive DIY, it is done using wire brushing.
Do take steps to ensure that water stays away from the basement.
Many times, the problem of the wet basement is quite easy to solve. For example, the foundation plantings like bushes, flowerbeds can be removed which allows the water to seep into the basement. Do an inspection to check whether the gutter needs repairing and downspouts to ensure that the water is directed away from the home.
One may also consider installing an exterior drain tile system. This can be the last step one can take as it is quite expensive. For this, the soil is excavated around the basements outside for installation of a perforated drain. The membranes are installed at times on the outside of the basement wall, which requires putting a buried sump pump which collects all the water.
Also, it becomes important to remove the efflorescence, where white deposits are formed on the surface of the concrete walls.
Don’t repair the walls with the standing water in the basement
If it is the rainy season, there are chances that about an inch or two of water gets accumulated in the basement through the cracks. When these cracks are repaired, it is a must that all the water from the basement is first removed. The reason for this is when one works in such a flooded basement, there is a risk of getting an electrical shock. Hence, the best is to turn off the power in the basement and get rid of the water using a utility pump.
Don’t forget to address the window well leak
Window wells are a very common area of the basement wall leaks as they can retain water in case a drainage system is not installed beneath the wall. This leads to water pooling at the basement’s window bottom which then gets seeped in. For this, one can dig approximately two feet lower in the area, which is then fitted with gravel in a manner that water is dispersed rather than getting collected.
You can easily get a high-quality waterproofing done from Canada Waterproofers which is one of the most accredited and trusted companies providing waterproofing services.