One of the best ways to ensure a problem never occurs is to stop it in its tracks before it starts. That’s one of the reasons so many homeowners decide to waterproof their basement even if they have never had a leak in the past.
Basement waterproofing is the act of preventing water from entering a basement, thus mitigating the chances of severe water damage. Generally speaking, basements are commonly made of either solid poured concrete, cinder blocks, or stone; all of which can leak.
Basements leak because water enters through some sort of penetration. Some of the most common of these include:
Additionally, if a property’s weeping tile drainage system isn’t working properly, water can come up from under the floor, as well as around the edges of the walls. Malfunctioning sump pumps can also cause water to come up through floor cracks.
Fortunately for homeowners with leaky foundations, it is possible to fix a wet basement from either outside or inside. To repair from inside avoids the need to dig outside.
To waterproof a basement from the exterior of the home, the earth around the bottom of the foundation wall is excavated. At this point, the weeping tile is exposed; afterwards, it can be inspected and, if necessary, replaced. The walls are then pressure-washed, and all holes and cracks are repaired. New gravel is placed over the new weeping tile. At this point, two waterproof membranes – one rubber, one air gap – will be installed over the entire subterranean portion of the foundation. The excavation is backfilled and the earth is compacted.
Interior waterproofing is performed by creating a trench through the floor at the floor wall joint along the edge of the leaking wall or walls. The subfloor drainage system or French drain is installed in the trench and covered with clear drainage gravel. Interior waterproof membrane is installed to cover the foundation walls, and this membrane connects to the drainage system under the floor. New concrete is poured to repair the floor and the system is often connected to a sump pump. This is considered a permanent waterproofing solution and basement finishing can proceed as per usual.
Smaller repairs, like foundation cracks, often require only the injection of high-pressure urethane resin from either inside or outside.
HELPFUL TIP: If the leaking foundation is made up of construction blocks or cinder block, it will naturally be expected to leak due to the hollow nature of the foundation walls, unless it has been made waterproof.
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