Waterproofing basement walls is a great way to increase your living space and add to the overall value of your home. By keeping water out of the basement, you will also help to prevent costly repairs that occur from water damages. Most importantly, waterproofing basement walls can ensure that mold and mildew doesn’t occur. These allergens can cause health conditions in many people to become exaggerated. Use these tips for waterproofing your basement and you’ll be just a few steps away from a dry basement, extra living space and a home that’s worth more money.
Waterproofing your basement starts with controlling the water on the exterior of your home. And more often than not, basement water comes from the roof and walls of the home during wet weather conditions. Check the perimeter of your home to be sure that the soil slopes away from the home with at least a two to one ratio slope. This means for every one foot of ground, the slope should fall at least two feet. This will help keep the water away from your home’s exterior foundation during stormy weather.
Water that flows from the roof can easily erode footings and penetrate the exterior surface of your basement walls, even with a steep slope. A well maintained gutter system can make sure that water is wicked away from your home and into a drainage system. Be sure to keep gutters clean and free from debris and you’ll have enough drainage to help keep water from out of your basement. And with the proper landscaping around your home’s exterior, you can also help prevent erosion and absorb excess water around basement walls.
Waterproofing basement walls can be easily done with the right waterproofing membrane materials. If you’re using a waterproofing formula like Drylok, Xypex or other waterproofing membranes that are painted on the surface, keep in mind these materials are used to seal intermittent leaks and not to seal the exterior walls and flooring, preventing hydrostatic pressure water leaks. If your groundwater table is above your basements flooring or foundation, hydrostatic pressure will still force water into the basement and a sump pump must be installed with a waterproofing membrane.
There are certain clay mixtures that can be injected into the soil surrounding the footing walls of your basement to help alleviate groundwater penetration. Waterproofing versions of Mennonite clay can help to channel away excess water from its natural pathways and help water to percolate into the surrounding soils. Clay injections actually follow the paths of water and blocks access to familiar routes, ensuring that water disperses away from the basement walls and flooring.
A footing drainage system will allow water that enters through the basement floor or walls due to hydrostatic pressure to accumulate into a drainage system in the floor of the basement. The footing drain channels water away through a groundwater percolation system or to a sump pump. If you already have footing drains installed and you still have a wet basement, you may need to clean out any debris from the footing drain system. If you need a footing drainage system and sump pump installed, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional to complete this tough home improvement project.
A sump pump can help you to remove water that accumulates in your basement footing drains and sump pit. Some sump pumps are electrically powered and contain a secondary sump pump that uses a battery backup system. Other sump pumps are water powered and use the force of your municipal water supply line to control the pump. Both of these sump pumps have an emergency backup system so that in the event of a catastrophic failure of the primary pump or a power failure, the sump pump will continue to remove water from the exterior of the home.
Oftentimes, waterproofing basement walls is a multi-pronged attack. You may have to use more than one of the above methods to assure dry basement walls.