Every area of your home is vulnerable to water damage, but basements are particularly susceptible because they are built below the ground. Although builders will take some steps to waterproof a basement during the construction of the home, houses settle over time, which can lead to cracks in basement walls. Read on for some tips to basement waterproofing.
In addition, as the soil outside becomes saturated, it can cause water to seep through these cracks. Even basement walls that are structurally sound may absorb water from soil and transfer it into the inside of the basement, making walls wet. As this water evaporates, the basement air becomes more humid.
Whether you are experiencing some moisture on your basement walls every now and then or puddles and flooding during the rainy season, it is important to address the problem right away to prevent further damage.
What Does Waterproofing Your Basement Mean?
Waterproofing is a process that prevents moisture from entering a basement. It can be carried out on the outside of the home, the inside of the home or on both sides for more comprehensive protection.
Waterproofing a basement helps to strengthen the foundation, and it comes with the added benefit of reducing energy costs and preventing health hazards such as mold.
Tips For Waterproofing Your Basement
The right solution for waterproofing your basement will depend on the cause of the moisture problem. Although some issues can be fixed with simple do-it-yourself projects, in many cases, waterproofing experts need to be called in to ensure this vital job is done safely and correctly.
Determine The Source Of Water
The first step in waterproofing your basement is determining the source of the water that is causing the problem. Concrete is porous, which means that wet streaks are often visible to indicate where water is entering. You can inspect the areas along the corners of windows, surrounding any cracks, around pipes and between mortar joints for these telltale streaks to find out where water is entering.
However, if the entire surface of a wall is wet, a more in-depth investigation is needed. You can carry out a simple condensation test by drying one area of the wall with a cloth. Then, attach a piece of aluminum foil measuring one square foot to the wall using duct tape.
After 24 hours, peel off the foil and check how the back of it feels. If it is wet, it means the water is likely seeping through the wall from the outside. If the underside of the foil is dry, that indicates the moisture is originating from somewhere else in the basement, such as a basement shower. This can easily be solved by installing a vent fan inside the bathroom that directs steam outside.
Fill Cracks With The Proper Cement
It is not unusual to find cracks at the bottom of basement walls. When foundations are poured, their footing is poured first, and the walls are later poured on top of it after the footing has hardened. This can lead to a weak spot in the foundation between the wall and the footing known as a cold joint, and cracks can develop here as the foundation shifts and settles. Lateral pressure from nearby soil can contribute to the problem.
Sealing these cracks involves filling them with the right type of hydraulic cement. After this cement is pressed into cracks, it expands, which pushes it further into crevices and creates a watertight bond. Because this type of cement expands and sets rapidly, it is a good idea to enlist the help of experts.
Remove Factors That Could Be Causing Flooding
In some cases, there may be a simple fix to wet basement walls. For example, plantings near the foundation of the home, such as flower beds and bushes that require watering, can allow water to seep into the basement. Digging up these landscaping features and relocating them may be enough to alleviate the problem.
It is also a good idea to inspect the guttering and downspouts to make sure they are actually directing water away from the home rather than toward it. In addition, you should ensure your yard is graded away from the foundation with a slope of at least 2 percent.
Remember To Add Interior Draining Solutions
Sometimes, interior draining solutions may be needed to keep basement walls dry. For example, a drainage channel can be installed underneath the floor in the basement. This type of drain is a major project, but it leaves a home with new, dry walls and directs any residual water that comes through the old basement walls to the drain channel, where it is pumped away from the home.
Talk To A Waterproofing Professional
If you would like to learn more about the best way to waterproof your basement, get in touch with the waterproofing professionals at Waterproof Caulking & Restoration to learn more about how they can help your basement stay dry and warm year-round.