One of the most problematic areas in a home is the basement. Basements are prone to water leaks and moisture buildup, which can result in the dreaded basement flooding that all homeowners wish to avoid. A leaky, damp, or wet basement can also lead to more severe problems like an unstable foundation, mould, or insect infestation.
It’s better to avoid these issues before they ever have a chance to develop. One of the most effective means of preventing water damage to your basement is through basement waterproofing. Professional basement waterproofing contractors determine the cause of the leak, clean the area, and waterproof it to ensure that it stays dry at all times.
When it comes to basements, there is no single fix-all solution – the basement waterproofing method needs to depend on the type and severity of the damage. The source of the water damage, whether external or internal, also plays a major role in determining the type of waterproofing method to use.
Basement waterproofing involves techniques and materials used to prevent water from penetrating the basement of a structure. Waterproofing a basement that is below ground level can require the application of sealant materials, the installation of drains and sump pumps, and more. The spaces of basements are particularly prone to wetness and moisture development. Water in the soil causes hydrostatic pressure to be exerted underneath basement floors and walls. This hydrostatic pressure can force water through cracks, which can cause major structural damage as well as mould, decay, and other moisture-related problems. Major issues for this are Improper Soil and Drainage Systems, Poorly Installed Maintained Gutters, Improper Slope, Hydrostatic Pressure and Condensation, etc. Preventing all these is the aim of installing basement waterproofing.
Basement waterproofing can be a confusing (and expensive) process. But if you’re dealing with leaky foundation walls or water welling up from the floor, finding an effective means of managing these problems could save you a lot in the long run. Here’s a quick rundown of your options for keeping downstairs dry.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer the best range waterproofing services to rectify your water issues.
Different types of basement waterproofing methods
In poured concrete foundations, cracks and pipe penetrations are the most common entry points for seepage. These openings can be sealed from the interior. Epoxies, which are strong adhesives, or urethanes can be pressure injected into the openings, thus penetrating the foundation through to the exterior and cutting off the path of the seepage. Interior sealers are good for preventing high atmospheric humidity inside the basement from absorbing into the porous masonry and causing spalling. Interior sealants are designed to ensure that the atmospheric humidity level in the basement stays low. Using interior sealants to waterproof your basement prevents moisture from being absorbed by the basement walls and floors. It can also help prevent moisture from spilling to other parts of the house.
Interior water drainage
A drainage system can help avoid water buildup in your basement, moving the water from the footers of the house foundation and out below the basement floor. A common system for draining water that has penetrated a basement involves creating a channel around the perimeter of the basement alongside the foundation footers. A French drain, PVC pipe, or a patented drainage system is installed in the newly-made channel. The installed drain is covered with new cement. According to Rick Jacobs of Absolute Waterproofing Solutions, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company, states like Michigan have a lot of ground clay, which will absorb and hold water, resulting in the flexing in basement foundation walls that can cause cracking and subsequent leaks.
Exterior basement waterproofing
The exterior basement waterproofing method is designed to prevent water from causing any major structural damage to the building, using polymers and membranes to coat the exterior basement walls. Polymer-based products last for the lifetime of the building and are not affected by soil pH. Polymer-based waterproofing materials can be sprayed directly onto a wall, are very fast curing, and are semi-flexible, allowing for some movement of the substrate.
Interior basement waterproofing
Interior basement waterproofing using coatings is effective where condensation is the main source of wetness. It is also effective if the problem has minor dampness. Installing a backwater valve is one of the most effective measures to save your basement. Installing a drainage system is the most complex solution for interior waterproofing. Several approaches and materials can be used. One proper solution is a French drain with a sump pump installation, rubber walls, water weeping tiles, and a drainage membrane. That system allows water to escape without damaging the walls effortlessly.
Foundation crack injections
Foundation crack injections are used when poured concrete foundations crack either from a settlement or the expansion and contraction of the concrete. Epoxy crack injections are typically used for structural purposes while hydrophobic or hydrophilic polyurethane injections are used to seal cracks to prevent penetration of moisture or water. Injection sealing of the crack cavity will address the problem and can be done from the inside with minimal disruption. Our approach involves drilling a series of holes every 6 – 8″ intervals along the run of the crack. Each access hole is 3/8″ in diameter, set perpendicular to the run of the crack and angled at 45 degrees so that the drilled hole crosses the crack at the approximate centre of the wall being treated thus ensuring the most effective distribution of sealant.
Look For Obvious Solutions
The cause of a wet or damp basement can be minor, readily apparent, and easily corrected. Here are some probable causes and possible solutions:
Problem: The source of water in the basement can not be identified.
Solution: To determine whether the water is seeping in from the outside or condensing inside, tape a twelve-inch square of aluminium foil to a wall that is prone to dampness, sealing all four sides as airtight as possible. In a day or two, if the side of the foil that was against the wall is wet, the problem is seepage. If the outside is wet, it’s condensation.
Problem: Lawns that are flat or slope toward the house permit surface water (rain and melting snow) to drain down against basement walls. Water enters through cracks or other openings in the walls and causes wet spots on the walls or standing water on the floor.
- Slope the ground away from the outside foundation (about one inch per foot).
- Extend the slope for at least ten feet.
- Seed it with good lawn grass.
Sodding is a common practice and prevents the washing away of newly graded areas during heavy rains.
Where a large area of land slopes toward the house, surface drainage should be intercepted and redirected some distance from the house. Dig a shallow, half-round drainage ditch or depression designed to route the water around the house—Sod the ditch or plant grass in it. If even a shallow ditch is objectionable, drainage tiles, with one or more catch basins at low spots, may be installed.
Problem: Defective, clogged, or nonexistent gutters and downspouts allow roof water to form puddles, or wet soil near or against basement walls, and enter through cracks or openings in the masonry.
Solution: Install gutters and downspouts wherever needed. Keep them free of debris. Where leaves and twigs from nearby trees may collect in a gutter, install a basket-shaped wire strainer over the downspout outlet or place screening across the length of the gutter. Repair gutters and downspouts as soon as the need appears. To prevent the concentration of water at the point of discharge, use a concrete gutter or splash block to carry the water away at a slope of one inch per foot. Also, consider extending downspouts from rain gutters away from the outside foundation.
Roof water can also be piped underground to a storm drain, dry well, or surface outlet fifteen feet or more from the house.
Problem: Dense shrubbery and other plantings around the basement walls prevent good ventilation.
Solution: Trim heavy growths of shrubbery so that soil gets more sunlight and dries quicker. When digging up the plantings, remove any pieces of masonry, mortar, or other material buried near the house after the basement was excavated.
Problem: Unprotected basement window wells act like cisterns during heavy storms, permitting water to seep in around window frames and below windows.
Solution: Windows or parts of windows below-grade should be protected by metal or masonry window wells, with bottoms consisting of gravel to permit good drainage. Clear plastic bubbles are available to cover the entire window well like an awning.
Problem: Atmospheric moisture produces condensation (“sweating”) on cool surfaces in the basement, particularly walls, floors, and cold water pipes.
Solution: Insulate the water pipes. Promote good ventilation–sunlight and free movement of air can quickly dry out a basement. Ventilation should be regulated according to the weather conditions. During hot, humid weather or long rainy spells, windows should be closed because the outside air will probably contain more moisture than the basement air. Heat the basement during the winter. During hot weather, use air conditioning to cool and dehumidify the air.
Problem: Leaky plumbing or other sources of moisture–such as clothes hung to dry on basement lines–increase humidity in the air, causing condensation.
Solution: Repair plumbing promptly, open windows or dry clothes in an automatic dryer vented outdoors. If the problem persists, experiment with using a large-capacity dehumidifier to eliminate condensation. Try borrowing one from a friend or neighbour before investing in what may turn out to be the wrong remedy.
Looking for the best waterproofing company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Concentrate On The Source Of Persistent Problems
If every apparent, logical way of eliminating wetness fails to produce a dry basement, do not waste time or money on random potential solutions. Finding the cause of the problem is essential to its cure. The hardest type of water problem to correct is one created by faulty construction practices at the time the house was built. Proper drainage is a crucial consideration in selecting the site for a new house. This includes not only the drainage of surface water but also drainage of any subsurface or groundwater that may already be present, or that may accumulate over some time and be blocked from its normal course of flow by the new construction.
If the subsurface or groundwater level is close to the underside of the basement floor slab, the water rises through the slab by capillary action, producing dampness. Suppose the subsurface or the groundwater level is higher than the basement floor. In that case, water leaks in through the walls and floor or enters by capillary action, causing standing water in the basement and, at times, dampness in the rooms above. Under ideal conditions, a house should be situated so that even during rainy seasons the subsurface or the groundwater level is at least ten feet below the finished grade–well below the average basement floor.
In some cases, it is impossible to eliminate dampness from a basement whose construction did not take into consideration the basic principles of good drainage. Only after soil borings have been done can anyone knowledgeably predict which, if any, course of action has a chance for success.
Tips To Remember
After selecting a contractor to do the work:
- Ask for a written contract in accordance with the estimate.
- Read this contract carefully before you sign it.
- Make sure you understand its contents. If you have a question, ask an attorney to review the contract for you.
The contract should include the following:
- The contractor’s name, address, telephone number.
- A full description of the work to be done and a list of the materials to be used.
- A definite date on which work will start and the length of time for completion.
- A provision that no change in plans or specifications may be made without the homeowner’s written approval.
- A requirement that the contractor will obtain any necessary permits or licenses to assure the homeowner that building codes will not be violated.
- Details of payment — the down payment, monthly payments, number of payments, the total finance costs, and annual percentage rate. The annual percentage rate is your key to comparing costs for the lowest rate.
- A statement that the contractor is responsible for insuring his employees against possible injury on the job.
- A warranty or guarantee with all conditions spelled out. For example, if what the contractor provides doesn’t solve the water problem, what is the company obligated to do and what are the alternatives?
- The contractor’s signature and local or state licensing number, if licensing is required.
If you plan to finance the work and the contract terms could give the contractor a lien, mortgage on other security interest on your home, or if a door-to-door salesperson solicits you, make sure the contract contains a provision allowing you to cancel within three business days after signing it without penalty.
When signing the contract, make sure that all blanks are filled in, and that it contains everything the contractor promised. Do not rely on oral guarantees.
Make sure you have a copy of the written contract, signed by both parties, should you have trouble with the contractor later.
If and when the contractor requests your signature on a completion certificate, inspect the job carefully to see that the work has been done satisfactorily, before signing.
Even if the job is finished, do not sign the completion certificate if you have a valid complaint about the work. It is not unreasonable, for basement waterproofing work, to delay signing until after heavy rains have come, or a specified period of time has elapsed.
Choose A Waterproofing Contractor Carefully
A properly applied waterproof barrier may prevent the water from seeping through the wall, but allow it to seep deeper into the ground until it finally comes through around the footer or basement floor. Thus, a knowledgeable and competent contractor must evaluate the problem.
Deal with a waterproofing company that has a good reputation in the community–one that has been in business in the same area for several years, and depends on the satisfaction of its customers. Find out if the company is bonded, licensed and certified (where applicable). Also, find out if the company trains its workforce through apprenticeships or other training programs.
Beware of salespersons or contractors who ask for large payments in advance. Reliable contractors generally do not require more than minimal downpayment.
Obtain written estimates from at least three contractors. Compare the cost of the work to be done, the quality of materials to be used, and the cost of financing the work. Insist that each estimate include the cost of materials and labour and a statement of exactly what the contractor will do and how long the work will take.
Check each contractor’s reliability with the local Better Business Bureau, previous customers, and friends who have dealt with the same problem.
We have a huge range of waterproofing services Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions that offers stress-free services for any water problem you got!
How to choose a basement waterproofing method for your home?
There are many things you need to consider when it comes to basement waterproofing. Cost is a major factor for many homeowners since this process comes with a price tag. Some people opt for interior sealant as a temporary solution until they have the budget for a better basement waterproofing solution.
However, the price is not the only thing you need to consider when deciding on which basement waterproofing method to use – you also need to consider the quality and durability of your chosen method. Professional basement waterproofing companies advise consumers to choose a permanent solution since it will be much more cost-effective in the long run. Here at Basement Systems, Inc., we recommend installing an interior drainage system in combination with sump pumps and a basement dehumidifier for long-term waterproofing.
Before doing anything else, make sure to consult with a certified basement waterproofing company and have your basement thoroughly assessed. It also doesn’t hurt to research basement waterproofing in order to make an informed decision, so don’t hesitate to check out the rest of our site!