Waterproofing is making something waterproof or water- resistant. A basement is defined as the part of a building that is partly or wholly below ground level. Hence basement waterproofing means- making your basement water- resistant. Or it could also be defined as preventing water from entering your basement area.
Wet basements cause high humidity to develop into your homes or establishments; it can produce an unhealthy environment due to surface condensation, mildew, fungi, and musty odors. Before starting repairs in your basements you should consider if you need to damp proof or waterproof your basement. You will need to damp proof if you just need to retard the moisture contents of your basements and waterproofing if you are preventing water from entering your basements.
Most wet basements are caused by water from the surface which is not adequately drained away from the wall. It may come from roof water, rain water or excessive watering of flower beds and shrubberies around the foundation wall. Water can seep through cracks in the basement walls or even if there are no visible cracks through the wall itself. Pores in concrete let in ground water pushed by hydrostatic pressure.
There are three accepted methods to leaky basement repair. They are interior wall and floor sealers; the interior water drainage and lastly the exterior drainage combined with waterproofing coatings.
Interior sealants are used in the most common causes of seepage-cracks and pipe penetrations. These openings can be sealed from the interior using Epoxies or Urethanes. However, this will not provide permanent protection if hydrostatic pressure is present. The main objective of applying this method is to prevent high humidity inside the basement and to prevent spalling.
Interior water drainage as the name implies uses drainage to collect the water into a sump pump and then sump pump expels the water out of the house. Though technically this method is not waterproofing it is widely accepted to mitigate basement water. However when applying this method preparations should be made to ensure that the sump pump have a continuous power supply in case of power failure.
The third and final method is exterior water proofing; this done to prevent the water from entering the foundation walls. An ‘exterior foundation drain’ also called a “French Drain”, is a system that is built on the outside wall of your foundation to divert the water away from the basement walls. This method is highly recommended in places where heavy downpours usually occur.
As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. Though some problems admittedly have causes that are difficult to find these simple steps can save you time and money, some basement problems can be remedied by repairing an obvious gutter or downspout leaks, it can also be remedied by making sure that you have downspout shoes and splashing blocks to prevent water from seeping to your basement walls. Checking the perimeter of your house and making sure that water does not collect near foundation walls.