If you're looking for a solution to your musty or damp basement, you might have noticed ads for goods that claim to waterproof basement walls. These products are marketed as a means of keeping basement walls mould- and mildew-free. What you really want to know is whether or not it is possible to simply dry out a basement by sealing the walls.
It's feasible, but before making a decision, you should find out if the dampness is coming from the outside or if it's just excessive humidity condensing on the basement's chilly walls. That's the only way to know for sure you're choosing wisely.
Waterproofing a basement improperly or not at all can cause a number of issues. If seepage isn't stopped in time, it might result in costly structural damage. Applying a coat or other product in the basement when the issue is actually on the exterior walls is a common mistake. Let's see how to waterproof a basement.
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Why Do Homes Sometimes Have Problems With Damp Basements?
Water can get into your basement through a number of different points. Here are some of the most typical origins of basement flooding:
- Leaky pipes can be caused by age, ordinary wear and tear, or even just regular use. If left unchecked, these issues typically start out quite minor but worsen over time.
- Whether through a burst pipe or a heavy downpour, water seeping into your home's lowest levels, like the basement, can swiftly lead to a wide range of issues. The severity of these issues might vary widely.
- Subsoil issues: When dry, clay soil contracts, but when wet, it expands. Constant shifting of soil can weaken your home's foundation, making it easier for water that pools outside to seep inside.
What Kind of Harm Might Dampness in the Cellar Cause?
A lot! The basement is just as vulnerable to the effects of water damage as the rest of the house. A basement with too much moisture can develop a host of issues that are not only inconvenient, but also potentially hazardous to your health and your wallet.
These issues might develop whether you routinely use your basement or merely go down there to keep stuff.
The following is a list of problems that frequently occur in basements as a result of water leaks, flooding, or other sources of water damage:
Inhalant-Induced Asthma and Allergic Reactions
Low-level dampness in a basement won't last forever. The evaporation of water spreads dust mites, mildew, and mould throughout your home. Allergens can cause discomfort in the respiratory system, the ocular system, and the skin. People with asthma have a tough time.
Problematic Energy Prices
Condensation in the cellar? It causes your electric bill to increase. If you want to get rid of the humidity in your main living rooms, you'll need to either cool them down or heat them up. Your HVAC system has to work harder when there's a lot of humidity in the air since it's more difficult to heat and cool. In addition, basement humidity can add 15% to 18% to your monthly energy costs.
Dampness in the basement can also lead to problems with the building's underlying structure, including:
- Basement walls with cracks.
- As a result of water damage, concrete can spall and chip.
- Brownish or rust-colored stains on the basement's walls and floors.
- The rot has spread to the floor joists and other exposed timber.
- Cracked and sagging floors.
- The collapse of the basement ceiling.
When any of these issues are ignored for too long, it can lead to costly foundation repairs. This is why it's crucial to reduce the likelihood of water damage and moisture invasion in the first place.
Warning Indicators That Your Basement May Have a Moisture Issue
These are some of the early warning signs of water damage that you should look out for:
- Fractures in the wall.
- The paint is starting to peel.
- Pieces of crumbled concrete.
- Floors that are sinking or bowing.
- Damaged or collapsed roof.
- Discolouration in shades of brown and rust
- Rotten wood.
- Damaged flooring.
- Smells like mould and must
- Mould or mildew growth that can be seen
- A rise in the population of unwanted creatures like insects and rodents (often attracted by excess moisture)
- Overly expensive utility bills
- Symptoms of asthma and allergies, especially if they are more severe than normal
The basement absolutely needs regular use of a dehumidifier to keep it dry.
Basement Waterproofing Methods
Although foundation repair and flood damage recovery are best left to professionals, you may do a number of waterproofing chores on your own to keep water out of the basement and lessen the likelihood of moisture seeping in. Put these basement waterproofing ideas to action and your home will continue to be a dry, cosy haven no matter what the weather throws at you.
Waterproofing can protect furniture and other things from water damage and reduce musty odours by preventing the growth of mould and dry rot. Flooding and standing water are two of the most prevalent types of water damage, but both may be mitigated with proper waterproofing.
Purchase a Dehumidifier
If your basement waterproofing efforts are focused on lowering humidity and condensation, a home dehumidifier unit could be the answer to your musty, wet, subterranean humidity and condensation problems. By reducing the humidity in the air, dehumidifiers extend the life of building materials like drywall, carpet, and upholstery and protect them from damage.
Dehumidifiers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the vast majority are designed to be plugged into conventional wall outlets and include removable catch basins for easy cleaning. The vast majority of them can be installed with tubes that lead directly to a sink or floor drain, eliminating the need for manual emptying.
Select Carpeting That Is Waterproof
Carpeted floors can take a beating and still look good, making them a good choice if your basement has water control issues. Lucky for you, there are things you can do to protect them against water damage caused by leaks and puddles. If your basement has ever flooded or has condensation issues, and if you're in the market for new flooring, waterproof carpeting may be a smart option.
In addition, you can create a buffer between the carpet and the floor of your basement by putting water-resistant carpet pads.
Regular carpet cleaning is necessary to avoid mould growth even if your basement rarely experiences standing water. The spaces under your furniture are particularly in need of this attention.
If you want to dry out a damp carpet fully, it is recommended that you utilise fans and dehumidifiers. Furthermore, the carpet needs to be steam cleaned as soon as possible to sanitise it and prevent the development of musty odours. It may be necessary to throw out the carpet entirely if the mildew smell has lingered for a long time and cleaning is no longer an option.
Seal the Walls and the Floor With a Waterproofing Agent
It is possible for water to enter a structure through fractures in a concrete or brick wall. Even if you have no idea what you're doing when it comes to sealing basement walls, all it takes is a little hydraulic concrete and some masonry waterproofing paint to get the job done. Don't worry if you know how to seal basement walls.
Peeling paint is a warning sign that there may be a leak lurking beneath the surface. It is vital to clean the basement walls carefully with a wire brush to remove any deposits that may still be there before attempting to waterproof the surface. Make sure a thick coat of waterproof sealer has been applied and given ample time to dry before you try to repaint.
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Avoid Getting Water on Wooden Surfaces
Dry rot can occur on wooden surfaces and buildings if water or an excessive quantity of moisture remains in touch with them for a lengthy period of time, especially support beams and floorboards.
Dry rot can be avoided if any conditions that might lead to an accumulation of excess moisture, such as leaking pipes in close proximity to the wood, are removed. As a preventative measure against dry rot, wood should be kept away from the soil around the foundation.
If dry rot has taken over a section of your basement, you may get rid of the mould by using a fungicide, which can be found at any hardware or home improvement store. These chemicals can be harmful to both children and pets if not used properly; read the labels carefully and follow them.
Try to Find Outdoor Problems
Although issues like mould growth, peeling paint, and dry rot can manifest inside, they are often exacerbated by outside causes. While you are down there checking for leaks in the basement, you should also inspect your gutters and downspouts. This is because if either of these parts develops a leak, the resulting downpour will be channelled straight towards your house's foundation.
Ask the Experts
If severe rains are making it difficult for you to prevent the basement from leaking or flooding on a regular basis, there may be a variety of variables beyond your control. It is highly advised that you seek the advice or service of an experienced professional, as the solutions to these basement waterproofing concerns involve professional training and equipment.
Controlling the Damage Over the Long Term
Waterproofing provides the owner with peace of mind in addition to the obvious benefits of preventing damage and reducing the need for costly repairs. Homeowners can take additional measures to better prepare themselves for the possibility of unanticipated water damage in addition to the repair and preventative efforts that have been mentioned in this article.
If the water table on your property is at or near the level of your basement, you may want to instal a sump pump. You can use this to divert water away from the house and prevent a flood in the basement. Rearranging the space so that expensive possessions are elevated off the floor is a good option if you are still worried about the prospect of flooding.
How to Waterproof a Basement in Detail
To properly waterproof a basement, you'll need to dig down to the base of the foundation from the outside. We'll have to dig around the full edge of the cellar to accomplish this. A properly waterproofed basement depends on the application of the right substance over the walls.
To prevent water from pooling in the protected area, drain tiles, gravel or crushed stone drains, perforated pipe, or other approved systems or materials must be installed at or below the area.
Verify the Presence of Cracks
Now that the digging is done, you should inspect the wall for any openings that could let water in and fix them. If you find these areas of weakness, you can seal the walls using hydraulic cement to prevent further water damage. Due to its chemical qualities, hydraulic cement expands as it dries to fill up cracks and spaces, making leaks less likely.
One application of cement-based sealer should be slathered on each external wall. Cement-based sealants are not only easy to apply, but also flexible in their surface application, being suitable for both concrete and masonry. When this type of sealer dries, it will prevent water from penetrating the concrete and will also harden to block off any pores. This approach is used to fix any little cracks that couldn't be filled with hydraulic cement in the previous step.
The Use of a Membrane
Install a water-resistant membrane. The membrane can be sprayed on or troweled on in a thick layer to prevent water from seeping in through the foundation wall. It is constructed of an asphalt-modified polyurethane substance. Excellent waterproofing capabilities are a hallmark of elastomeric membranes, which are manufactured from modified asphalt.
One of the greatest benefits offered by elastomeric membranes is their flexibility and mobility in response to the formation of new cracks. Instead of using a damp-proofer, which is more prone to failure, choose a product that actually stops water from getting in.
Establish Drainage Mat
One should lay down a drainage mat with dimples cut into it. The material chosen must be capable of creating air spaces between the wall and itself, directing moisture towards the drain. The drainage mat must be cut to the same depth as the base of the structure. In addition, it can reduce the lateral load on the structure's underpinnings.
You can use a French drain or a weeping tile to solve this problem. The pipe, which may have a diameter of 10 centimetres, must be set up at the footing's base in order to drain the water that collects below the basement floor. The installation of cleanouts that are easily accessible is a best practise for servicing and upkeep.
Cover the backfill with gravel to finish putting in your French drain. If the gravel is going to be covered by soil, it needs to be 45 centimetres above grade, but if it's going to be filled with cement, it needs to be 10 centimetres above grade.
A List of No- No’s
If you're looking to waterproof your basement, don't do any of these things:
- Never resort to tar application. Tar, when allowed to dry out, will become extremely brittle and shatter.
- Waterproofing your basement walls with plastic is a bad idea. Water will seep through the plastic-like substance and cause it to peel.
- Limestone should not be used as backfill. Limestone has the potential to clog up any and all drainage systems, reducing their drainage capacity. Replace the sand with gravel instead.
What Advantages Does It Give Your Home if You Waterproof the Basement?
Waterproofing your basement is a great way to lessen the likelihood that moisture problems may emerge. When performed by a trained professional, this method of waterproofing can have many positive effects on your home.
- Reduces the likelihood that water damage from leaking pipes may spread.
- It will be much easier to fix the water damage if it can't spread.
- Allows you to make the most of your basement, which, if finished, can significantly enhance the amount of usable space in your home.
- Your valuables, carpeting, flooring, and foundation need not suffer the ill effects of dampness.
- Costly repairs and restoration are often unnecessary after severe storms.
- Prevents the spread of mould and mildew, two allergens that can cause serious health problems.
- The improvement will raise your home's resale price.
- Guarantees the safety and security of your house and family's financial investment.
Methods of Waterproofing the Interior
Concrete waterproofing coatings are cement-like in substance and are often quite thick; once dry, they make a permanent connection to masonry and concrete walls. Use a thick brush with Tampico bristles to apply the coating. Tampico is a product of nature. Finally, before you call it a day, give the wall a polished look by swirling the paintbrush.
If you want to use a concrete waterproof coating over an existing paint job, you should first read the label. Between A$45 and A$60 gets you a 19-liter bucket of dry mix that can treat an area of 9.3 square metres.
In addition, walls should not be painted or sealed before using silicate-based concrete sealers, which are also known as densifiers. The sealants are allowed to seep deep into the concrete or brick, where they react chemically with the material's constituents to create a waterproof barrier.
These penetrating sealers won't flake off or peel, and you may paint right over them (but check the label first). Using a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer to apply a silicate-based sealer is a straightforward DIY technique. Between A$65 and A$75 gets you 4 litres of paint, which can paint up to 19 square metres. remember to use a minimum of two coats.
Acrylic, which is also used to make waterproofing paint, is the most popular choice for painting walls. Brushing, rolling, or spraying it on requires significantly more force because 4 litres covers only 7 square metres instead of the usual 28 square metres that 4 litres of ordinary paint covers.
Waterproof paint can be used in a DIY setting without being frowned upon. It can be used as a primer before painting, and once it dries it can be painted over (4L for A$55).
Use of plastic sheets or panels as wall waterproofing is only recommended in conjunction with interior basement drainage systems. They don't stop water from getting through the wall, but they do keep it from destroying everything in the basement.
Water that makes its way through the wall will flow down the plastic and into the subfloor drainage system. A sump pump will drain the water from your basement. The full price of the system is somewhere in the range of A$4600 and A$7500 for a 6m x 6m basement room.
WARNING: None of these will work if the cracks and crevices in your home are not properly sealed. Therefore, use masonry-specific polyurethane caulk (A$8 for a 300ml container) to seal any gaps or fractures wider than 3mm. Larger cracks can be repaired using the epoxy filler.
We have a huge range of waterproofing services Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions that offers stress-free services for any water problem you got!
Assured Exterior Waterproofing, Your Best Bet
The best way to ensure that the walls of your basement stay dry is to use an outside waterproofing solution that covers everything. Also, it's the most expensive choice, costing anywhere from A$23,000 to A$45,000.
If you want to keep water out of your home, you'll need to dig down to the entire level of the foundation walls, apply a waterproof coating or membrane, and then set up drainage panels.
The panels will aid water in descending to an outside French drain set at the foot of your foundation. At this level, the water will be diverted away from your home's foundation by gravity or a sump pump and will flow either to another area of your property or to the street.
Waterproofing your basement is a crucial step in mitigating the risk of water damage in other parts of your home. In the event that, despite your best DIY efforts, your basement does become an indoor swimming pool, you will need a plan of action to ensure the safety of your valuables and the people you care about.
If your basement ever floods, you should definitely call a professional, but it doesn't hurt to know what to do and what not to do in the meantime.
FAQs About Waterproofing Basement
The length of time waterproofing lasts depends on a few different factors including the amount of waterproofing product used, climate, and the severity of the initial damage. With all the different constituents, there's no set date, but most professionals will warranty it for about ten years.
The exterior waterproofing process includes excavation of soil surrounding your home and repairing the leaks using a powerful sealant. Interior basement waterproofing systems are considered better and more effective in preventing wet basements.
Causes of basement leaks
During periods of heavy or persistent rain, the soil can become saturated, creating hydrostatic pressure (or water pressure) that can push moisture and water through your basement walls and floor. The looser soil around your foundation tends to absorb more water.
Be sure to apply the epoxy to a cool basement floor, which will help it to adhere to the surface. Use a long-handled roller to apply the epoxy in a thin coat. A second coat may be necessary, but be sure to allow 24 hours before applying it. Wait until the epoxy has fully dried before installing a new floor.
Basements and garages - the typical rooms with concrete floors - also suffer from poor air circulation, giving the moisture nowhere to go once it seeps through the floor. Sealing the concrete can help eliminate the dampness on your floor.