Basement Waterproofing

How to Waterproof Basement Walls and Floors

By Mark J. Donovan

When planning to finish your basement it is very important to consider basement waterproofing prior to any construction. If waterproofing is not done your finished basement may become at risk for mold and water damage.

Installing gutters on the outside of the house, and an outside ground topology that slopes away from the foundation will help, but it is probably not enough. The reason for this is that it is the level of the hydrostatic pressure that really determines how susceptible your basement is for water leaks and dampness.

Hydrostatic pressure increases proportionally with the amount of rainfall.

The higher the hydrostatic pressure, the more water in the ground. This pressure effectively pushes water down and around the foundation. The water then seeps into the foundation walls causing dampness in the basement. If the walls actually have cracks, the water can literally seep through causing puddles inside the basement. The water can also seep in between the foundation walls and footing if the hydrostatic pressure is high enough.

The best way to waterproof your basement is by relieving this hydrostatic pressure. The most dramatic way is to dig down and around the foundation and put in sand, gravel and pipes that will quickly drain the water away from the house, thus alleviating the pressure.

There are other methods that are less severe and costly, such as waterproof basement sealers that can be painted on the inside foundation walls and floor, or the installation of sump pumps and dehumidifiers, but these solutions do not really relieve the hydrostatic pressure.

Instead they just work to offset the moisture that penetrates the foundation walls and floor due to the hydrostatic pressure.

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