Making sure your foundation is waterproof will save you money because a waterproof basement foundation will require costly repairs wrought by water damage, erosion, or corrosion of the walls. Here are some ways to go about making sure your basement foundation is waterproof.
Concrete Must Be Cured
Make sure that the walls of the concrete foundation are fully cured before treating it with any waterproofing surface material such as specialty paints or asphalt. You'll end up wasting your money if you apply the treatment too soon since the material will either peel or improperly adhere, thus allowing leaks in the future.
All form ties must be removed and the holes from the ties must be filled with non-shrink grout or hydraulic cement before applying a waterproof treatment. Clean concrete will help treatments adhere and backfill with soil only after treatment has dried and the foundation is waterproof.
Build a Gutter System
Make sure water is diverted away from the foundation walls to keep your basement dry. That can be done cost-effectively by simply screwing flexible extensions to all gutter downspouts so that the water is diverted away from the house. Save yourself some more money by investing in a rain barrel to collect the diverted water to use for watering plants, washing vehicles, and wiping down patio furniture.
Use Plants to Divert Water
Plants and shrubs will not waterproof a foundation, but they are a cost-effective way to keep your basement dry and to avoid straining the waterproof treatment which you've placed on the concrete.
Plant flowers, bushes, and shrubs several feet away from the foundation wall to reduce standing water. The plants will absorb any standing water that accumulates naturally from rainfall. Big trees should not be used since the roots could cause cracks in the foundation wall. Large trees should be at least 20 feet away from the foundation.
Increase the effectiveness of any previous waterproofing treatments on an older basement by spraying the outside wall of the foundation with a urethane sealant. Buy the sealant and a pump sprayer from any home improvement store. Saturate the walls and allow the sealant to completely dry over a period of 48 hours.
Protect Window Wells
Window wells can cause water to pool and seep around window frames, eventually allowing it to enter your basement. Protecting these wells will not make the foundation waterproof the same way as applied treatments, but doing so is a cost-effective way to reduce the chances of water getting into your basement or sitting against the concrete foundation. Make sure window wells have properly set up bottoms with gravel for drainage, or buy clear plastic bubbles to cover the whole window well so that no water enters.
Exterior Injection of Waterproofing Treatments
Another way to make sure a foundation is waterproof is to inject sodium bentonite, which is sold under a variety of brand names, between the soil and the concrete wall. As it dries, it turns into a slurry material that plugs any cracks in the exterior of the basement foundation which might allow water to seep into the basement. This method typically needs to be performed by a professional. It can be expensive, but it's more cost-effective than completely evacuating all soil from around the foundation to access the wall and fix any holes.