Basement waterproofing is an important part of home maintenance. There are several basement waterproofing methods available, including interior and exterior solutions.
1. Interior Basement Waterproofing Methods
Used as a solution to water problems when exterior methods are not possible. Interior basement waterproofing techniques manage water that has entered or is about to enter your house, so they’re a critical part of a comprehensive waterproofing plan.
- Sealants: The most common method for waterproofing basements from the inside. Sealants seal walls and floors to prevent moisture from seeping through. They can be applied to finished and unfinished basements to reduce humidity labels and avoid mold and mildew growth.
- Interior Water Drainage: One of the most effective waterproofing methods, interior water drainage focuses on the water inside your house. It often involves installing a drainage system beneath your basement floor to catch any water entering the basement and sending it to a sump pump system. The sump pump removes the water from your home to keep the basement dry.
- Coatings and Membranes: Interior waterproofing coatings and membranes can be applied to walls to create a waterproof barrier. These usually consist of a thick coat of waterproof mastic that can seal small cracks and holes. This method is mainly for minor seepage problems.
- Vapor Barriers: These help stop water vapor from permeating the walls. Vapor barriers are usually installed on the interior side of the basement and help control humidity levels. This method is mainly for finished basements and basements used as living spaces.
2. Exterior Basement Waterproofing Methods
People use exterior waterproofing methods during the initial construction phase of a house. However, they can also use them in existing homes. These measures prevent water from entering the basement and are considered the most effective and long-lasting solution.
- Exterior Waterproofing Coatings: Similar to their interior counterparts, exterior waterproof coatings create a barrier that prevents water from penetrating the basement walls. However, the application involves excavation around the house to reach the foundation walls, which can be a significant undertaking.
- Exterior Drainage Systems: These systems intercept water before it reaches the basement walls. These typically use a French drain or similar setup installed around the perimeter of the house foundation. The chute collects water and sends it away from the house.
- Waterproofing Membranes: These membranes, typically made of rubber or plastic sheets, are applied to the basement’s exterior walls. The membranes form a physical barrier that prevents water from reaching the basement walls.
- Dimple Mats: These are plastic sheets with raised dimples that create an air gap between the soil and the basement walls, allowing water to flow down a drainage system.
3. Exterior Yard Waterproofing and Drainage System Methods
Proper yard drainage and exterior waterproofing methods can significantly minimize the risk of water entering the basement. They help control water flow in the yard, direct it away from the house’s foundation, and prevent water damage.
- Grading: This method involves sloping the yard away from the house to encourage water to flow away from the foundation rather than toward it.
- Gutters and Downspouts: Gutters help collect rainwater from your roof and direct it toward downspouts, carrying it away from the house.
- Dry Wells: A dry well is a structure dug deep into the ground and filled with gravel. It collects water and allows it to dissipate into the soil slowly. Contractors use these in conjunction with gutters and downspouts.
- Swales: These are shallow, wide ditches that help direct water flow around the property. These are typically grass-covered and can be landscaped to look natural in the yard.
- Rain Gardens: These are strategic gardens that use native plants to help absorb, filter, and slow water runoff. These are an aesthetically pleasing way to manage water drainage in the yard.
How to Choose the Right Basement Waterproofing Method
The best waterproofing method for your home depends on the type and severity of the water problem, the specific characteristics of the basement, the climate in your area, and the conditions of your yard. Here are some general guidelines on how to choose the best waterproofing method:
- Interior Basement Waterproofing: This method is most effective for addressing minor to moderate moisture problems. If you notice condensation, mildew, or dampness but don’t see significant flooding, an interior solution might be your best bet.
- Exterior Basement Waterproofing: If you have serious water issues like flooding, cracks in the foundation, or water seeping through the walls, you might need exterior waterproofing. This method is more invasive and expensive than interior methods but is highly effective and offers a long-term solution.
- Yard Waterproofing and Drainage System Methods: These methods are best if you’re experiencing problems with water accumulation in your yard. If you notice that rainwater flows toward your house instead of away from it, these methods might also be effective in these cases.
It’s also important to consider your budget and future plans for the house. If you plan to remodel your basement, you might want to invest in a more comprehensive waterproofing solution.