Building Tips

Basement Waterproofing: How to Waterproof Your Basement

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Basement waterproofing can be essential if you’re having water or moisture leak into your basement. Water and moisture seeping into your basement can cause water damage that will cost you a pretty penny to clean up and fix the damage it caused. The water damage not only causes structural and foundation problems but also creates the perfect environment for mold to grow in. 

Whether you’re fixing the cause of the water damage or simply interested in preventing it, there are some steps you can take to waterproof your basement. It’s important to take care of these issues immediately if you’re noticing leaking, and it’s vital if you’re considering finishing your basement

Finding the Cause of the Water

If you’re already having water issues you should first figure out what’s causing them. You’ll know when you have some of these problems when you see water stains on the ceiling or walls or condensation around pipes and windows. Here are some of the most common reasons why your basement is wet or may get wet in the future. 

  • Cracks in your foundation
  • Spaces where basement doors and windows aren’t secure
  • Inadequate drainage
  • Clogged gutters
  • Sloping around your home

Waterproofing Your Basement

There are two types of waterproofing that you can do to a basement – exterior and interior. Whichever one you choose (preferably both), make sure that your basement is free of water before beginning. 

Exterior Waterproofing

Exterior waterproofing is the best way to take care of your basement problems. For an existing home, the dirt around the outside of the house is dug up to expose the foundation. Then a waterproof coating and drainage panels are added. Then a footing drain is added to give built-up water a way to escape away from your foundation.

This is a sure-fire way of solving any water issues in your basement. 

The only downside is that exterior waterproofing can be very costly. We’re talking $15,000 to $30,000. Exterior waterproofing isn’t a DIY job and is best done by a professional.

Interior Waterproofing

You can hire someone to waterproof the inside of your basement or you can try it yourself. It’s a doable DIY job that just takes a little bit of know-how. Here’s how to waterproof your basement.

  1. Clean the area well. It’s important that you start with a clean surface before you apply any sort of product. To start, remove any old paint if needed. You can clean walls with a mixture of water and dish soap using a scrub brush. Rinse the walls with warm water and let everything dry. 
  2. Plug up any holes and large cracks. You can plug up any holes or large cracks with hydraulic cement. This product is specifically used for sealing structures affected by water. As the cement dries it hardens and forms a water-tight seal. It’s similar to mortar and hardens quickly. 
  3. Fill smaller cracks. Use a masonry crack filler for this part of the project. Seal any cracks you have with this easy-to-use product. You simply squeeze it into cracks and then smooth it over. 
  4. Seal any openings. Use caulk to seal any openings around doors and windows. Choose an elastic sealant that’s made to be waterproof and sets quickly. 
  5. Address window wells. Window wells are a common place that you may see water gathering. To fix this you can dig two feet down and fill the area with gravel. The gravel helps the water disperse instead of sitting on top of the ground. 
  6. Apply waterproof coating. You’ll want to apply a masonry waterproofing product on any interior basement walls. This goes on just like paint and is pre-mixed. When it’s dry you’ll get a watertight bond that won’t leak. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t put the waterproof coating on painted walls. Be sure to remove any paint before you begin if you’d like to seal those walls. 

Other Ways to Keep Your Basement Dry

There are some other ways that you can keep your basement dry and these are easy to do yourself. This includes removing anything planted close to the foundation that receives regular water, making sure that all downspouts are connected to underground pipes that carry the water away from your house. You also want to make sure that you grade your yard away from your foundation.

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