3 Types of Basement Waterproofing Systems Explained

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A Basement waterproofing system prevents water from leaking into the basement and damaging the foundation and wood. Basement waterproofing systems are needed whenever a basement, cellar, or other room is built at, or below ground level. They are particularly important in areas where it is likely that groundwater will raise the water table at some point in the near future.

Without proper a basement waterproofing system, your basement can become cracked, and water pressure can result in serious damage to walls, as well as the growth of mold and wood rot. Building the right kind of waterproofing system depends very much upon the environment in which the house is built.

Interior Sealant

 wet basement floor and walls

Using interior sealants as a substitute for basement waterproofing is a temporary measure, to be used during winter months to prevent snow and frost from raising the water table.

These sealants are often found in chemical spray form and can be directly applied to walls and floors. Interior sealants can also prevent humidity and condensation from forming within the basement. They can be absorbed by the wood and porous building materials, causing cracks in masonry, damage to concrete, and wood rot. Masonry is also protected against spalling.

The most common use of these sealants is to prevent humidity inside the house from affecting the walls of the basement. For more secure measures against groundwater, you will need to have either an exterior sealant or a drainage system.

Exterior Sealant

Exterior basement waterproofing systems stop groundwater from reaching the basement walls as well as prevent mold and other damage which can occur in wet basement areas.

Waterproofing an exterior is the recognized IBC method to prevent damage caused by water. Exterior sealants were once only asphalt-based damp proofing, but now the most common kind of exterior basement waterproofing systems use a polymer base. This kind of material will last for the life of the building.

Other exterior sealants will probably erode in 20 years. You will not usually have to add anything to an exterior sealant, which should be applied during the construction of the house, particularly in areas where flooding, heavy rain, or hurricanes are likely to occur.

Water Drainage

sump pump

Drainage can be used to mitigate basement water and is often considered to be another form of basement waterproofing. Water drainage functions by drawing water away from the foundation, and forcing it into a drain, or through a pump system. Pump kits are available which can be installed in DIY form, or by professional plumbers.

These types of basement waterproofing systems often need to be run on an isolated electric system in case of a power shortage, especially during periods of storms. Sump pumps should be placed in a pit and sealed with a lid in order to keep the water away from the electricity. Doing so also prevents humidity in the pump from entering the basement, and it ensures that poisonous gas won’t seep into the house.