Basement waterproofing is important to any basement as the basement is the part of your home that is most vulnerable to moisture problems.
Because it is underground, it is at risk of groundwater seeping into the foundation, especially during significant rainfall, severe storms, and floods. Places where the water table can raise due to an increase in ground water are especially vulnerable to water seeping into the home due to hydrostatic pressure, which creates pressure under the floors and against the walls, eventually forcing water into the home through any cracks or openings. It might also break through weak points, causing more cracks or openings. Additionally, the basement is typically constructed out of cement, which can also often “sweat,” dripping moisture due to humidity.
If the basement is not waterproofed, mitigating the risk of water entering, it can contribute to water damage and other problems, including mold growth and structural damage in the walls and foundation of your home. Therefore, before you convert your basement into a livable space, the very first thing you need to do is ensure it is waterproof. Luckily, there are some very simple solutions that protect your basement from excess moisture and flooding.
Installing drainage solutions in your basement, especially in the foundation, helps to keep the water out of your basement and remove the risk of water damage. Drainage systems in the interior of the home can help to drain any underground water from the foundation footers and basement floor to then channel it out through a drain, which can also connect to a sump pump. Other conduits may also be added to help guide the moisture to the drainage systems. For foundations made from concrete blocks, the best way to remove any water is to install an interior drain tile system. You can also choose to install a French drain if you have significant water issues in your basement. This system includes a continuous drainage system, and it requires having a 12-inch deep trench around the perimeter of your basement.
Sump pumps are one of the most essential tools to install in your basement to prevent flooding in your home. They work by pumping out any excess water that seeps into the home, removing the risk of water damage and other problems. The water comes typically enters into the sump pump from some type of drainage system, and the sump pump pumps it out through pipes to an area away from the house where it will not cause damage. They often use electricity, so in the case of any power outage, there should be a secondary option in place.
Sealing any cracks and openings in the walls and foundations is essential to protecting your basement from any water or excess moisture. If there are any cracks or pipe penetrations in a concrete foundation, you should seal them from the interior using epoxies or urethanes that are injected into the openings and will penetrate through the wall all the way to the exterior of the home. These can last for as long as ten years. Masonry foundations cannot be protected the same way from water seeping into the home. However, using sealants can prevent spalling, or a break down of the masonry surfaces, due to excess humidity.
One way to keep excess moisture out of the basement is to use waterproofing coatings along the walls and floors on the interior of the basement. This does not help mitigate any major leaks, but it does help if the major reason for water in the basement comes from humidity and condensation. It will also help with small cracks or leaks. You can also use special paint on the wall that provides protection from water.
In addition to installing drains and pump system and coating the inside of the basement, you should also look into waterproofing the exterior panels of the basement. This prevents the water from entering the walls and the foundation, which mitigates the risk of water damage. Waterproofing the exterior can be a more complicated project, unless it is done when the foundation is first installed. Typically, you will have to excavate all the way to the bottom of the footings. Then, you will seal the walls with a waterproofing membrane and place weeping tiles or other drainage solutions to the side of the footing.
Additional Basement Waterproofing Preventative Measures
In addition to installing drainage solutions and using sealants and waterproofing coatings on the walls and floors, you should also ensure that the downspouts of your gutters pour the water at least five feet from your home. This prevents the water from your gutters seeping into your basement and causing problems. You should also ensure that the slope of your yard goes away from the foundation. A flat yard or one that slopes towards your basement will cause water to pool around your foundation, which increases the chance of it dripping into your basement. Plants and shrubs should also be planted at least a few feet from the foundation to prevent excess pooling of water.
How you proceed with waterproofing your basement will be largely dependent upon its current condition, the risk of groundwater seepage, and more. The best waterproofing solution will include a combination of methods, such as installing a drainage system, using waterproofing membranes, and ensuring the exterior is also protected against water.