Basement Waterproofing: Basement Membranes Explained

moldy basement wall

The primary criteria for evaluating a basement waterproofing method should be its ability to insulate the basement against all forms of moisture seepage. The chosen waterproofing method should also contribute to the basement’s durability. A waterproofing material should help the basement surface survive foundation distress and landscaping challenges, such as infusion of pressurized gases in sunken soil zones.

Waterproofing your basement is not demanding, but it requires attention to detail and knowledge about common waterproofing applications. Basement membranes have been regarded as an effective solution for every basement-waterproofing requirement.

Basement membranes have a long life cycle and no reactions with moisture. That makes them more effective than external waterproofing coatings which corrode and peel when they are exposed to sustained moisture seepage. It offers years of undemanding waterproofing with negligible need for repair.

1. Emulsion (Bituminous) Waterproofing Membrane

These membranes are the most conventional. Bituminous waterproofing membrane is also known as a petroleum-based waterproofing system. It uses asphalt, which is commonly used in roofing applications. Also called asphaltic waterproofing, membranes are applied in the form of an emulsion. Asphalt is highly resistant to moisture seepage, but its insulation properties can be compromised under severe and continuous water penetration.

Emulsion applications often need reinforcing applications such as fiberglass webbing waterproofing. That raises the overall cost of an emulsion-based waterproofing project. The most recent among bituminous waterproofing systems for basements is the use of rubberized asphalt. It is difficult to apply.

Emulsion waterproofing membranes are sold in a highly viscous, packaged form. The appearance is that of a dense, sticky liquid that can be easily applied to concrete surfaces to form an insulating layer. They need to systematically applied, using a roller and a trowel.

Some emulsion-based waterproofing membranes have been introduced in an easy-to-apply, spray packaging. Most bitumen-based emulsions have one common criticism, which is that they eventually dry and allow moisture to enter the space.

2. Liquid Foundation Waterproofing Membrane

rain on a window

The most common waterproofing membranes in residential spaces is liquid waterproofing membrane. Liquid membranes are much easier to apply compared to emulsion membranes. They also provide a smoother finished surface and don’t dry, even in extremely hot and dry conditions.

Liquid waterproofing membranes are also the most affordable. They are recommended for waterproofing hard-to-reach places such as under surfaces, curved spots, and angled nooks. The liquid membrane spreads over a greater surface area, providing more coverage per application. Liquid waterproofing membrane is easy to apply. It is the most effective form of basement waterproofing.

3. Elastomeric Waterproofing Membrane

These are the most recent introduction among innovative basement waterproofing membranes. Elastomeric membranes are the most durable of all waterproofing membranes. The membrane is essentially a derivative of urethane or polyurethane.

These synthetic membranes are regarded as a one-time application; they last for decades, which is why retailers call them lifetime waterproofing solutions. Elastomeric waterproofing is commonly referred to as polyurethane basement waterproofing. Elastomeric membranes are impermeable to water, chemical vapors, and subterranean gases. They are also more expensive than the basement membranes discussed above.

Their application is very simple. The waterproofing material is coated using a paintbrush. No additional reinforcing material is needed; however, elastomeric coating in domestic spaces is recommended only if the basement has already undergone substantial damage due to moisture seepage. Homeowners who have experienced allergic reactions from mold and mildew in the basement should consider elastomeric waterproofing.