For many people, basement waterproofing is not something that normally comes up for discussion unless such a problem is being experienced or anticipated. As such, many homeowners are not aware of what it entails. However, homeowners and prospective homeowners need to arm themselves with the basics of basement waterproofing because they are most likely to need it in future.
So then, what is basement waterproofing?
In simple terms, it can be said to be any technique used to prevent water from entering the basement of your house. Any concrete structure constructed beyond the ground surface or just on the ground level needs basement waterproofing. In wet regions or locations where underground water is closer to the surface, it is usually very critical.
To understand how basement waterproofing works, it’s important that you first understand why and how basements leak.
Water is the number enemy to your basement. The question you should be asking yourself first is, “where is the water coming from?” Water could be coming in from within your system or from external sources. If your drainage systems like gutters and downspouts are not functioning properly, and the grading around the foundation does not facilitate the flow of water away from the exterior basement walls, then you are most likely to encounter a leaking basement. Basement floors leak when water finds its way to the basement through cracks on the floors and walls.
Types of Basement Waterproofing Solutions
Understanding how to prevent water from the basement is very important because water is the constant factor here. Remedial approaches often seek to eliminate water that’s already in the system whilst preventing more water from getting into the basement. One of the most important basics in this discussion is that basement waterproofing has no “one size fits it all approach” since each and every situation is unique in its own way. In certain cases, a combination of approaches may be required to deal with the problem exhaustively. Basically, there are two major methods of undertaking basement waterproofing. These include methods that drain water and relieve pressure and those that aim at sealing the cracks.
- Crack Sealing Methods
Crack repairs involve sealing a crack to prevent further seepage. This kind of repair can be done using expanding polyurethane.
- Clean the crack, then;
- Spread the injection ports and a coating of quick curing epoxy around it
- Wait for the epoxy to sit pretty then inject the cracks with polyurethane through the ports
The expansion of polyurethane seals the crack right to the exterior.
- Sealing Cracks From The Outside
- There are two methods of doing this.
Method 1: Using bentonite clay
If the crack is inaccessible from the inside, you can consider using bentonite clay to seal it. Dig out a small hole at the location of the crack and fill it with granular clay to absorb the water whilst also creating a permanent water barrier.
Method 2: Using Exterior waterproofing membrane
- Dig out the affected basement wall right to the footings.
- Clear any debris and dust, then apply a thick coating of polyurethane membrane.
- Cover it with an insulating material to channel water downward and to protect the membrane
Interior Drain Tile
This is arguably the most versatile basement waterproofing method. It eliminates seepage from a variety of areas including covet joints and floor cracks.
- Remove a foot wide portion of basement floor along the relevant wall
- Dig out a trench in the soil beneath till you reach the bottom of the footings
- Pour in a layer of washed gravel.
- Lay lengths of perforated rain pipe warped in a filtration fabric on top of the gravel and connect to a sump basin at one or both ends.
- Fill the trench with more gravel to promote water flow.
The water will be pushed into the drain tile instead of the basement when hydrostatic pressure begins to build. It is then discharged from the home through the sump pump. If done correctly, this method is permanent and may not need any maintenance.
- Exterior Drain Tile
The same with the interior drain tile but instead of the corrugated pipes, it uses perforated PVC.
Remember, basement waterproofing should be seen as an investment and not as an expense since it will significantly increase the value of your house. Again, the costs you may incur if you don’t do it are quite substantial.
In summary, a homeowner who knows how basement waterproofing works cannot experience any problems when it comes to identifying the right contractor to hire and what to expect from a basement waterproofing job. It’s also helpful to know that these basics can help you prevent the need for waterproofing your basement in future.