Basement Waterproofing Systems

A basement waterproofing system will eliminate moisture from below grade (underground) parts of the home. Whether the basement is used for storage or vehicles or is finished out for family use, it should have an effective waterproofing system in place. Hydrostatic pressure buildup, especially following heavy rains, forces water into the basement. This will often occur by pooling where the foundation meets the walls. Dampness may also be present as moisture forces its way through porous walls.

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Long-Term Water Damage

In time, repeated episodes or the pervasive dampness will cause additional problems. Mold and mildew will form on walls and window trim; they will grow on furniture, boxes, and exposed pipes. Wood products will slowly deteriorate and need replacement. Rust may take hold on the bottom of a water heater, causing the unit to fail and cause further flooding. Odors that develop from excessive water vapor will become difficult, if not impossible, to remove. The main benefits of a basement waterproofing system are to prevent the problems of dampness, musty odors, and fungus. Prevention may also contribute to better health as a damp environment has been proven to lead to respiratory ailments.

Waterproofing Systems During Construction

Today's homeowner can choose among several types of basement waterproofing systems. The standard choices involve sealing the below grade exterior walls during the construction process. A specialized tar application may be manually applied to the concrete or blocks. Then, a thick rubberized sheet can be tacked onto the walls for additional protection. Part of the overall plan may also incorporate a series of French drains to divert excess water. A sump system in the floor can draw water from underneath and pump it upward and away from the foundation.

Waterproofing Systems Post-Construction

For aftermarket waterproofing, however, it is often up to the homeowner to repair cracks, seal joints, and apply an interior coating to the walls. Some coatings may need reapplication after about 18 months as the alkaline properties of concrete react to oil in the sealants. Crack injection products are also a source of waterproofing. These fillers are effective as long as there is no additional foundation movement. None of these will be long-lasting solutions until the majority of the underground water is diverted. Even with an elaborate basement waterproofing system in place, some humidity may remain. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to incorporate a dehumidifier as a supplemental source.