Waterproof My Basement Myself

How can I waterproof my basement myself?

When it rains, it pours, and when that rain pours into your basement, it might look like one of the Great Lakes. If that’s the case, you might be tempted to call a contractor and have them install an expensive interior drainage system to pump the water out and to mitigate it from happening again. Before you write the check, it’s entirely possible you can remediate the situation yourself.

Is your basement always damp? Do April showers bring a wet basement along with those May flowers? Then it might be time to consider waterproofing your basement and installing a drain system with a sump pump. A wet basement not only prevents you from enjoying additional space in your house but also can turn your basement into a giant petri dish perfect for growing unhealthy moulds and fungi.

It’s time to tackle that damp, smelly basement to transform it into livable space below your house. Or, maybe you’ve never had a problem with a wet cellar or lower level and don’t want it to be an issue now.

Before you can expand your living space to the lower level by refinishing your basement or create a nice, dry, climate-controlled area for extra storage, you will need to make sure there is no threat of water entering your home.

Before you can make this happen, you need to make sure the area is watertight to keep water out. You may even first need to clean up existing water damage, mould, or mildew. It seems like a project you can handle yourself. Still, then you get into it, and you discover there is a lot involved to exterior basement waterproofing and waterproofing basement walls from inside. You realize you may be in too deep.

When you are looking for a free simple waterproofing basement DIY guide, look no further. Following is a simple guide from the experts at Diligent Developments to get you started on making sure your basement is protected from the threat of potentially damaging and harmful effects of water.

At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer the best range waterproofing services to rectify your water issues. 

Why Basements Start Leaking Water

A hard-driving rainstorm or melting snow can temporarily raise groundwater levels and for every inch of rain, a 1,500 sq. ft. roof sheds almost 1,000 gallons of water. Rain gutters and downspouts get plugged up with debris. New houses have a problem with “reverse grading,” which usually occurs several years after construction. Fill dirt around the foundation settles and directs rainwater right to the foundation.

As the runoff seeps through the soft topsoil around the house, it pushes against the walls and stops at the undisturbed ground just beneath the footings. Footing drains may break as the house settles, or silt up. If the soil is clay, water then starts rising in the disturbed soil around the foundation like inside a pool.

Waterproof My Basement Myself

Hydrostatic Pressure

When water accumulates around the foundation, hydrostatic pressure builds up and causes the basement to leak. Clay-rich soils do not drain well and hold rainwater right against the foundation walls. Water pushes its way inside through any cracks or joints and the pores in concrete. Rising groundwater is sometimes the problem or even an underground spring. Houses settle, and underground water flows change. New construction down the street may shift groundwater flows and cause basement leaks in your house.

Settling Cracks

As houses settle, concrete develops stress cracks that leak water. Exterior waterproofing disintegrates or separates due to the “alkali attack.” When water gets to embedded steel, it rusts, expands and cracks the concrete.

Efflorescence Signifies Water Seepage

Water penetrates the pores in concrete, dissolves alkalis, and enlarges the pores. As concrete ages, it becomes more and more porous. Initially, the seeping water evaporates, leaving on the surface salts and lime. This “white deposit” or efflorescence is a telltale sign of capillary water seepage.

Plastic Barriers Do Not Last

Concrete slabs, although much thinner than basement walls get even less waterproofing protection. The plastic “vapour barrier” soon disintegrates due to the lime in concrete and over time, the layer of gravel (“drainage pad”) silts up. Then, the concrete starts pulling in groundwater by capillary action.

Start on the Outside

Exterior Basement Waterproofing Do It Yourself

Before you start cleaning water damage and patching cracks with a basement waterproofing sealer, you will need to get to the root of the problem.

In this case, that means tackling existing water issues with all of the damage left behind or preventing water from becoming a damaging factor inside or around the foundation of your home.

All basement water issues start on the outside of the home.

Start with a Walk Around Your House

The main culprit is the absence of or an improperly installed drainage system alongside the outdoor walls. If your home is an older house, drainage systems may not have ever been implemented, or perhaps they have failed.

To find out where your home stands and what will be involved in the waterproofing process, start by walking around your house. Look down as you walk to see if there is any water that you notice collecting around the walls.

When you discover water or open areas where water could start to collect, fill them with dirt.

Check out the Walkways and Gutters

Next, look at your walkways, paying close attention to the service walks. These ground-level areas should tilt away from the foundation.

Now, look at your gutters.

Are they clogged with leaves and debris, or are they allowing rainwater to flow through, down, and out away from your home?

Are the downspouts in good condition to carry the water away at least 2.4 metres from the foundation?

Don’t Forget the Window Wells.

Finally, examine your window wells if you have any.

Are there leaves and rocks built up inside, or are they free of debris?

If you need to, you might want to consider digging the window wells a farther distance from the window and add a layer of stone to help with drainage.

Be on Guard to Not Make DIY Errors

When you’re looking for the best basement waterproofing products, don’t make common mistakes that many do-it-yourself homeowners end up making. Never try to hold back water that is seeping into your basement by using quick fixes like hydraulic cement or waterproofing paints to plug the leak. They never end up lasting for long, and they often cause more pressure to build up ending in disaster with cracks on the wall or other spots on the foundation.

Often, the corners become waterlogged and give way to allow water inside or even collapse. Water is not a force to be reckoned with. If you’re going to fix it yourself, you first need to do your research to fully understand what you are dealing with to know what you need to do and what products to use.

Find the Best Waterproofing Products

Maybe that hardware store can sort of sealant patch a leak temporarily. Still, if you’re looking to do a full-fledged basement water tanking project well, intended to last, you will need to use products that have stood up to the test of time and are recommended and approved by experts who use them every day. Find the most appropriate waterproofing products for your needs. Read basement waterproofing paint reviews and basement waterproofing product reviews, and then seek the advice from an expert to make sure you’re using the right tools and products to properly seal off your basement and prevent future water from entering.

Considerations

  • Never ignore a persistent musty smell.
  • Find out the cause of a wet basement before beginning any modifications to your home.
  • Seek professional advice before attempting to combat a swelling groundwater problem.
  • Check with your local municipality for information about changes in the water table. 

Looking for the best waterproofing company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered. 

Condensation

Condensation occurs when moist, warm air hits cool foundation walls. If you see wet spots on basement floors and walls, you might have a condensation problem. Check it by performing a simple test. Tape plastic wraps onto a damp spot, sealing the edges with tape for a few days. If moisture appears on the wall side of the plastic, it’s a leak; if moisture is on the outside, it’s a condensation problem.

Allowing condensation to persist in your home can lead to structural problems. Simply opening windows regularly to aerate your home can eliminate the problem. Install a dehumidifier for a longer-term solution.

The most typical cause of runoff is melted snow and rainwater that is not directed away from the house. Hydrostatic pressure forces the water through gaps or cracks in walls and footings. You can prevent runoff by making sure the ground outside your home slopes away from your house at least one inch (25 mm) vertically for every 12 inches (300 mm) of horizontal travel and that downspouts are not leaking or pooling near the foundation.

This problem shows signs as water moves through cracks in the walls or floors. Here, growths of mould and algae suggest a damp surface.

Groundwater Swelling

Groundwater swells when the water table has exceeded its high point. Soil surrounding your home is unable to hold the extra water, causing a consistent runoff problem. If you have a wet basement due to groundwater swelling, your basement will be wet for a long period after each storm, and there may be water bubbling up from the joints between the wall and floor. Many homes are not constructed with protection from high groundwater, and it is very expensive to install a system to combat the problem.

Combating a Wet Basement

No matter if your basement is finished or you use it as just a storage room, it is important for the structural integrity of your home to combat a wet basement problem as soon as you discover it. Solutions to tackling a wet basement are plenty. The first step is trying to figure out the type of problem you are encountering. Then, check the grading around your home, downspouts for any leaks or pooling, and cracks in the driveway. Fix all of the problems you encounter as well as patching cracks in the basement walls and floors, as water in the home can cause mould problems as well as a wet basement.

Applying a Concrete Sealer

Sealers are available for coating basement walls and floors. They offer a quick waterproofing measure and can be decorated. They are easy to apply, provided you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. They can be applied to damp surfaces, but any standing water should be removed.

Fitting a Polyethylene Membrane

An alternative to epoxy coatings is to use a polyethylene membrane. Although it holds backwater, it may be necessary to install channels and a sump pump to collect and remove water from behind the membrane. Seek professional advice on whether this is required. Measure the surface area you need to cover and make sure you buy enough membrane for your needs.

Tools Required

  • Bucket
  • Chalk line
  • Cold chisel
  • Dust mask
  • Extension cord
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer drill
  • Hand float
  • Hand trowel
  • Jackhammer
  • Jigsaw
  • Knee pads
  • Knockdown knife
  • Masonry drill bits
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Safety glasses
  • Shop vacuum
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Tape measure
  • Trowel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Window fan

Materials Required

  • 30- to 36-inch-deep sump pump basin
  • 4-in.-diameter Schedule 10 perforated pipe
  • Concrete mix
  • Duct tape
  • Irrigation hose
  • Irrigation pipe
  • Masking tape
  • River rock
  • Sheet plastic
  • Sump pump

A Dry Basement is a Useable Basement

Installing a basement drainage system is filthy, backbreaking work, but it’s not complicated. With a little instruction from our drain tile experts, you can do a first-class basement drainage job. And DIY pays off big: Pros charge $5,000 to $8,000 for a typical basement drainage job (120 linear feet of drain tile). You can install yours for less than $1,500 in materials and tool rentals.

Before You Get Started With a Basement Drainage System

It’s always best to stop water from entering your basement in the first place, so before you run to the rental centre for your jackhammer, be sure to address the exterior issues. The grade next to the house should slope down away from the building by least 6 in. for the first 10 ft. Consider installing gutters, or make sure the existing gutters are working properly. And check that your irrigation system isn’t adding to the problem by spraying water right up against the side of the house.

If You Have a Finished Basement

If your basement is finished, with stud walls and insulation covering the foundation walls, you can still install a basement drainage system. When you break out the concrete, leave small sections of floor intact, so the wall doesn’t dropdown. A 4 x 4-in. section every 6 ft. is enough to support the wall. If there are obstacles along the wall (like a furnace), plan to tunnel under them. You’ll find most of the materials you’ll need at a home centre. Order the rock from a landscape supplier. You’ll also need a pickup to haul the dirt to the landfill.

Always check with your local building official. Explain your project, and see if any permits or inspections are required in your area. Sometimes, a building official who has been around for a while may have information on how your house was built or what issues you may run into in your area.

DIY Waterproofing

If the problem isn’t too bad, you may be able to fix it – or at least manage it – on your own.

Seal The Cracks

If water is seeping in through cracks in your foundation, you may be able to repair this on your own. While professional solutions will typically hold up better in the long term, there are a few do-it-yourself methods that can be a bit more affordable.

An epoxy crack sealant or hydraulic cement can be useful for sealing minor cracks. You can find these types of sealants at your local home improvement store. Smaller tubes can cost around $10 – $20, while larger pails may cost $20 – $60, depending on the formula.

Redirect Water Away From The House

If you find that water from the roof is pooling against the foundation of your home, it’s generally fairly easy to fix this problem on your own.

First, make sure that you’re keeping your gutters clean. If the gutters become blocked by leaves and other debris, they can overflow and spill out directly onto the foundation below.

Your gutters’ downspouts are meant to deposit the water from the gutters away from your home. However, if the water that comes from the downspout can’t flow in the correct direction due to the ground sloping toward the house, it can pool against the house and leak into your basement.

To fix this, purchase a downspout extender. These are tubes that you attach to the end of your downspout that guide the water away from the house, ensuring that it doesn’t pool against the foundation.

Waterproof The Walls

Waterproofing basement walls can be a simple way to seal your basement walls’ pores, preventing water from slowly seeping in.

To do this, you’ll apply a waterproof sealer to your walls. There are several different types of products you can use to accomplish this, such as masonry waterproofers or waterproofing paint. These types of products are different than the sealants you would use to fix individual cracks, as these act like coatings for the whole wall that you paint on.

Typically, sealers like this will need to be applied to bare walls, so if your walls have been painted, you’ll need to remove the paint before you can apply any waterproof coatings.

We have a huge range of waterproofing services Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions that offers stress-free services for any water problem you got! 

Install A Dehumidifier

If your basement tends to be fairly humid, but a professional can’t find any major issues, you might consider installing a dehumidifier to help alleviate the problem.

If the problem is minor, you may be able to get away with purchasing your own and using that in your basement. However, if you have significant moisture, you might want to consult with a professional about installing a higher-powered unit.

One of the most frustrating problems faced by homeowners is the constant battle against wet basement walls. Luckily, basement waterproofing is a do-it-yourself project you can finish with a little time and effort.

Depending on the reason for the moisture problem, the fix could be a simple do it yourself solution, or it could require the assistance of a Waterproofing contractor.

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