Foundation Waterproofing

What is the best foundation waterproofing?

Among the worst things that can happen to a residential or commercial building, one is a foundation problem. Foundations are the most important parts of a building, literally what the house is built on and what keeps the building standing. Having to fix a foundation issue means going through a very expensive and overwhelming intervention.

In most cases, water is the most dangerous source of foundations problems. There are two main reasons behind that: wet foundation soil can lose strength and mould issues can arise, making underground interior spaces unpleasant for the residents.

Foundations are made of reinforced concrete, which is not waterproof and also it comes with cracks. Water is mostly kept out but vapour and moisture can still penetrate. That is enough to create potential huge issues. This is why, when dealing with concrete foundation waterproofing, the main goal is to keep the water away from concrete foundations.

One of the worst phone calls you can get as a builder is the one from a client calling to say he has water in the basement. We do everything we can before backfilling a foundation to avoid getting this call. Of course, an effective foundation waterproofing system costs more up-front. But compared with having to return to the site, excavate the entire foundation, and fix the problem, the up-front cost is a bargain. Add in the loss of reputation and all the hard feelings you’re going to have with the client, and the cost of doing it right from the beginning is negligible.

Foundation waterproofing is the process of preventing water intrusion, from subtle water seepage to flooding when the ground is over-saturated. There are several approaches and products for waterproofing a foundation and strong proponents of one method over another. Like many home repair jobs, foundation water problems typically can’t be solved with a single product or treatment.

As experts in waterproofing and moisture control, Basement Systems’ contractors specialize in designing waterproofing systems to fit the individual needs of a home.

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

Concrete Foundation Waterproofing

Foundation Waterproofing

Dampproofing

Dampproofing is often mistakenly referred to as a foundation waterproofing method. When a home is being built, a waterproof coating is often applied to the foundation to keep out soil moisture. This approach does not prevent water from entering the basement through gaps, cracks, and holes during construction. Effective basement waterproofing should keep out both moisture and water.

Dampproofing is a coating that’s usually asphalt-based and is either sprayed on or brushed on to the outside of the foundation walls. In many states, building codes require dampproofing. Waterproof coatings have several drawbacks, including an inability to seal large cracks or holes and the risk for damage caused by backfill that’s coarse or improperly installed.

Waterproofing paints and primers

Waterproofing paint is a common do-it-yourself waterproofing choice. Most waterproofing paint is a thicker version of acrylic paint that you would use to paint the walls in any other room in your home.

Applying waterproofing paint to the inside of your basement walls won’t stop water seepage through cracks or porous concrete. Bubbles can eventually form under the paint and cause it to peel off the wall. The paint can also trap condensation inside the foundation wall, contributing to bigger, more expensive problems.

Waterproofing paint is often regarded as a cosmetic fix and doesn’t work at all if the source of the water problem isn’t addressed.

Exterior drainage systems

Exterior foundation waterproofing involves digging down to the foundation footer to install or replace drainage pipes, commonly known as a French drain system. Sometimes a waterproof membrane is applied to the outside of the foundation wall to prevent water infiltration.

Exterior foundation waterproofing is more expensive than other methods due to the excavation. Another downside is the disruption to landscaping, porches and driveways. French drains can also be crushed during the backfill process and often clog with silt and plant roots, even when installed correctly.

Interior drainage systems

A system designed around interior drainage is the least disruptive method of foundation waterproofing. An interior waterproofing system effectively addresses the forces of hydrostatic pressure, which is the pressure of groundwater forcing its way through the basement walls.

The interior perimeter of the concrete floor is jackhammered and drainage piping is installed, routing water that enters the basement to a sump pump system that actively removes the water. A backup battery-operated sump pump is often recommended to prevent flooding of the basement during a power outage.

Steps to concrete foundation waterproofing

No one will disagree if we say that it is absolutely worth investing time and money in doing a great concrete foundations waterproofing since the project design, instead of having to return to the site, excavate it and fix the problem. It is critical doing it right the first time. For that purpose, it is crucial to remember that the waterproofing barrier is part of a bigger and comprehensive system to prevent water penetration.

Some of the essential components, in addition to proper wall construction, of a waterproofing system are:

  • Installation of a drainage system: grade level and underground;
  • Installation/Application of the waterproofing barrier.

Drainage: on Grade and Below Grade

This deals with the drainage pipes to move the water away from the bottom of the foundations and the ground surface treatment to direct surface water away.

It goes without saying that before implementing any concrete foundation waterproofing jobs, drainage must be implemented. In fact, there is no waterproofing system that will work without proper drainage, to the point that a manufacturer of waterproofing products will not guarantee his products if there is inadequate or no drainage at all. The drainage has to be done at 2 levels: on grade and below grade. In particular the ground at the top of the foundation walls is the first line of defense against a wet interior space underground.

Thanks to many years of experience working in contact with waterproofing contractors, we have some suggestions of actions to implement water drainage at the ground level:

  • Use a gutter and downspout system to keep the water that comes off the roof from accumulating near the foundations;
  • Use compact backfill next to the foundation walls;
  • Sloping should be done so the water goes away from the house;
  • Keep in mind that, even well graded surfaces can change with time so the ground around the house may need to be checked from time to time.

Installation of the waterproofing barrier

The next step consists in the application of the waterproofing barrier to the foundation walls. Before doing that, we have to inspect the surface of the walls and repair cracks bigger than ¼” or 6mm with an anti-shrinkage mortar. In addition to that, for the success of the waterproofing product, it is fundamental to have clean and dry walls. Eliminate dirt, loose or weak material and any kind of substances that could prevent the waterproof system to work. There are several systems that can be selected to waterproof foundations such as bitumen modified felts, cementitious coating systems, elastomeric systems and more.

Safety when waterproofing foundations

As in any kind of job, safety must always be at the center of our attention. Even more when the nature of the intervention includes the presence of some elements that may harm the people involved. When waterproofing foundations, there are different factors to consider:

  • Flammable materials;
  • Respiration hazard;
  • Skin injuries;
  • Injection hazard;
  • Eye Injuries.

As a matter of fact, several waterproofing materials are solvent- based which means that they need to be far from any ignition source. Also, because of that it is extremely dangerous if those products enter in direct contact with the users’ skin or are breathed in by the water proofers.

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

Why Winkler Scudo System could be the best solution

Winkler Scudo System is a water-based trowel-grade waterproofing product made of special highly elastic resins and additives, resistant to piercing. Its main features are:

  • Highly adhesive;
  • Easy and fast to apply with a trowel;
  • Ready to use;
  • No primers needed;
  • No backfill protection;
  • Environmentally friendly;
  • High recycled material content;
  • Manufactured in Italy in a Zero Environmental Impact Production Plant (100% Renewable Energy);
  • Water- based;
  • No toxic fumes;
  • Increased safety.

What causes basement moisture?

To best understand how to keep your basements dry, we need to have a thorough understanding of what causes moisture to occur in basements in the first place. Unfortunately for homeowners, water has a knack for finding its way into our homes. Due to the unique nature and construction of basements, these spaces are particularly prone to wetness. The points below highlight some of the primary causes of basement moisture:

Improper Soil and Drainage Systems

If rain and groundwater cannot drain away properly it can make its way into your basement. Improper soil and poor drainage systems are one of the most common causes of basement wetness. If water isn’t directed away from the home, it will accumulate around the foundation, where it will try to find a way inside.

Poorly Installed and Maintained Gutters

Gutters are intended to direct rainwater away from your foundation. If they are improperly installed or too clogged to function, water will drain around your foundation, rather than away from it.

Improper Slope

The ground around your foundation should slope away from your home, not towards it. If the slope is wrong, water will accumulate around your foundation, rather than running away from it.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure occurs when water accumulates around your foundation. As gravity pushes down on that water, it will try to escape, in an effort to relieve that pressure. The water will force its way through any cracks in your basement walls and floors. In fact the pressure can get so strong, that it will cause cracks.

Cracks in Your Basement

Cracks in your basement walls, floors, and around windows or doors provide the perfect avenue through which water can flow. Water will always follow the path of least resistance and these cracks make it easy for water to come inside.

Condensation

Basements are notoriously damp places. When condensation occurs, it can bring mildew, mold, and potential damage along with it.

Black Goo Doesn’t Cut It

In the old days, the go-to foundation waterproofing was an asphalt-based, black, nasty goo. That material is a byproduct of oil refining and is actually not considered “waterproofing” but only “dampproofing.” Asphalt goo can’t block bulk water that builds up against a foundation; it can only prevent the moisture from damp soil from seeping into concrete. As soon as that moisture accumulates and saturates the soil, it builds hydrostatic pressure that can drive the water right through asphalt dampproofing.

Effective foundation waterproofing is more than just one product; it’s a system with three critical components: a membrane to protect the concrete; a drainage mat to relieve hydrostatic pressure and allow water to drain down, instead of in; and a French drain at the footing level to carry water to a daylight drain or to a sump pump.

First Line of Defense

In the order of building, the first component in the system is a true waterproofing material applied to the surface of the foundation walls. This can be a liquid-applied coating or a peel-and-stick membrane.

Liquid-applied membrane. 

Newer-generation liquid-applied materials that use SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) are specifically designed for waterproofing concrete. They function as true waterproofing because they are completely insoluble in water and can resist hydrostatic pressure (although we do want to limit this pressure, as I’ll explain further on). The material is spray-applied as a liquid, so it goes on as a continuous, monolithic membrane. At critical areas—transitions between the footer and the foundation wall, inside corners, or pipe penetrations—a liquid material perfectly conforms to surface variations without a lot of fancy origami.

Peel-and-stick membranes 

offer an excellent waterproofing alternative. For best results, I start with a 40-mil-thick membrane applied to the horizontal ledge of the footing and up the wall for about a foot to protect that critical footing joint. The vertical leg of this cold-joint barrier should be overlapped by a 40-mil-thick peel-and-stick product that’s about 3 feet wide. We typically run the membrane vertically. Most peel-and-stick products made to be applied over concrete require a primer. Once the primer is rolled on, we pull the backing off the membrane to apply it, creating an adhesive-to-adhesive bond that holds tenaciously.

Over the waterproofing membrane, we add an insulation layer. Here in Austin, we need only one inch of foam; in northern regions you’d need more, of course. We’ve had good luck with plastic stab anchors for installing the insulation. The anchors have a peel-and-stick adhesive that bonds to the surface of the wall membrane. With these in place, all we have to do is push the insulation on to hold it in place. We can use the same anchors to install the drainage mat. Most important is that we end up with no penetrations through the waterproofing membrane.

Drain Down

After applying a waterproofing to the foundation, a lot of builders think the job is done and move directly to backfilling. But by doing so, you are allowing water to back up directly against the membrane, where it might find an imperfection and create a leak.

The ideal way to solve this is to put a drain board over the membrane. The primary purpose of this drain board is to provide an air gap so that water running towards the foundation hits that gap and flows down to the footing drains. Think of the gap as a pressure relief valve. If there is an open gap, water pressure can’t easily build up against the foundation.

Secondarily, the drain board protects the waterproofing membrane against rocks or road base or whatever you are using as a backfill material.

Drain Out

Any foundation waterproofing system that protects the foundation from water and relieves hydrostatic pressure needs a third critical component: a way to drain out. We always install a traditional French drain system—a standard that Americans have been using for generations on houses. This consists of a drain pipe that is run in a bed of rock. We typically use 4-inch Schedule 40. We have found that Schedule 20 can collapse (and the corrugated black pipe seems essentially worthless), so it’s worth going with the thicker-walled PVC pipe. The holes are pre drilled and always face downward. The perimeter pipe is covered with a coarse gravel or septic rock that must be separated from the surrounding soil with filter fabric to prevent soil from clogging the rock

In many of the houses that I build, we run a second French drain around the inside of the footing as well. The inside drainage and the outside drainage are connected by short sections of Schedule 40 every 8 to 10 feet that run crosswise through the footing. This provides a nice failsafe: If one section of the drain fails, water can bypass to the interior or exterior path and still get out.

On a hilly site, it is usually easy to run the perimeter drain to daylight, but in most cases we run it to a sump pump. Sump pumps tend to fail during heavy rains from working overtime, however, or stop when the power goes out. Because that is not when you want to be without a working sump pump, we always include a secondary pump wired into the system with a battery backup.

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

Which Method is Right for You?

As we mentioned earlier, each home is different. Thus the best waterproofing method for your home may be different than of your neighbor. There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to keeping your basement. While each situation is different, the best policy is always prevention rather than repair. Taking steps to waterproof your basement before water is present is sure to yield the best results. Water damage can cause major problems, resulting in costly repairs and lots of headaches.

While it is often tempting to save money now by ignoring the problem, waiting to address your basement waterproofing can lead to much bigger bills in the future. Basement waterproofing methods can vary greatly, so be sure to do your research and find out what method is the most appropriate for your unique situation.

Your home is your biggest investment. It is important to take the necessary steps to protect it. Don’t wait until you have a problem to something about. Taking preventative measures can keep your basement dry and your pockets full. Reach out to our experienced team at Triad Basement Waterproofing to learn more about keeping your basement dry this winter.

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