Every home should have an effective basement waterproofing system. Water that leaks into your basement can create a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria, and can also lead to a dangerous mold problem throughout the entire house. Here is an explanation of three types of basement waterproofing so that you can choose the best options for your home.
Interior Wall Sealant
Interior basement wall sealants can be found in both epoxy and cement variations. While these sealants are an effective option for repairing small cracks in basement walls, they should not be used as your only long-term basement waterproofing system.
Leaky basement walls may indicate that excess groundwater in the soil around your basement is placing hydrostatic pressure on the walls, meaning that cracks and leaks will continue to occur unless an exterior drainage system is installed. In other cases, such as if your basement walls are made from poured concrete, there may be natural porous spots.
The best time to use interior basement wall sealants is at the beginning of each winter season. Melting snow and ice can significantly increase the amount of groundwater in the soil around your basement, making it more likely for leaks to occur. Sealing the interiors of your basement walls will help to contain these leaks until any external waterproofing system you have installed can drain this extra water effectively.
Exterior Wall Membrane
While interior basement waterproofing is a good option for stopping minor leaks, exterior waterproofing methods are necessary to avoid catastrophic leaks and maintain the structural integrity of your basement. The first step in waterproofing the outside of your basement walls is installing a waterproofing membrane.
To install an exterior wall membrane, contractors will first excavate the soil around your basement. The basement walls are then coated with a layer of mortar. After the mortar has cured, two waterproofing options are available: a layer of asphalt-modified polyurethane applied to the walls with trowels, or a system of plastic sheets and panels with polyurethane caulk to seal the seams.
The advantage of asphalt-modified polyurethane is that it forms a seamless waterproofing layer around your entire foundation. While plastic sheets and panels are typically less expensive to install, there is always a chance of leaks as the caulking between the sheets or panels wears down over time. Still, a plastic membrane can be an effective waterproofing solution if it is used in combination with an interior sump pump.
Exterior Drain Tile
Exterior drain tile does not directly prevent water from entering through your basement walls. Instead, it helps to reduce the amount of water that is present in the soil around your basement by redirecting it to a sump basin where it is pumped out of your home by a sump pump. The soil around your basement must be excavated to install drain tile, so it is a good idea to install this system at the same time that you are having an exterior waterproofing membrane installed.
Exterior drain tile, also known as French drains, consists of a perforated pipe that runs around the length of your foundation. The pipe is buried in a material, usually washed gravel, that allows water to drain more quickly than the soil around your home. This creates a path of least resistance so that water can flow more easily to the drainage pipes instead of saturating the soil and placing pressure on your basement walls.
Basement waterproofing is not difficult if you understand the different systems that are available. Use these tips to waterproof your basement today so you can avoid mold problems and costly water damage repair in the future.
For more about this topic, contact a professional contractor and set up an appointment for waterproofing your basement.