A Beginner’s Guide to Basement Waterproofing

The basement may conjure up images of a creaky and dark dungeon. In fact, it is one of the most under-utilized areas of the house. There are many fun and practical uses for the room underneath your abode. It can be transformed into a game room, an office, or even a guest bedroom. Whatever your decision, the first step in remodeling is basement waterproofing.


You definitely don’t want your hard work and creativity ruined by aggravating leaks and annoying drainage issues. Waterproofing is especially important when you live in an area that generates a lot of ground water. As the water collects and swells, it can cause pressure under the floor and against the walls of the structure creating fractures, eventually resulting in serious health issues such as mold.


Before your start, inspect the surroundings of your house. Clear any refuse or in-the-way plants and weeds that may make your job more difficult. It’s a good idea to remove all plants that are a close proximity to your perimeter because they can be culprits in directing water toward your foundation.


Check to make sure your gutters coming from the roof of your house are clean and functioning properly. Position your gutters so that the water that drains from them is a significant amount of distance from the foundation of your house. You don’t want excessive buildup of rainwater piling up. Next, make sure the ground against the walls of your foundation slopes down and away. You must definitely avoid slopes toward your foundation because gravity will force rainwater and mud downward against your walls creating harmful pressure. If necessary, get out the shovel and wheelbarrow, and reposition the angle of the ground.


Now it’s time to head inside. Some minor cracks and leaks can be repaired or at least minimized with some interior sealing. Products from your local hardware store or online can act as a waterproof concrete. Apply them like plaster to your basement walls.


You can also build interior drainage structures that transport water outside. These structures can be made more aesthetic by concealing them with tile. If you have a major fracture, consider using an epoxy solution that will fill the entire crevice from inside to out.


Sometimes, it will be necessary to call in a professional. If the above measures aren’t satisfactory, consider hiring a technician to install a sump, essentially a water pump in a hole underneath your basement. Another option is a perimeter drain, a continuous chain of underground piping. Either way, these projects entail a lot of equipment and know-how, so it may be best to hire out.


As a final resort, consider pumping the surroundings of your foundation full of commercial-grade waterproofing clay. This is the technique used in elevator chambers, tunnels, pools, and other projects with high levels of water involved. Basement waterproofing can seem tricky at first, but it’s a project you’ll only have to seriously take care of once. Put in the time and effort and then enjoy the comfort of your new basement.

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