A basement leak can be very a very distressing thing to behold. Basements used to be a place where a lot of us packrats stored a bunch of our favorite junk. Basements these days, however, are seeing more and more usefulness as a spare room. No matter what the intended purpose of your particular basement might be, you'll want to make sure that it's free from any plumbing leaks. Fixing a leaky basement is actually very easy, as long as you have the right mentality, skill-set, tools, and materials. The following steps will teach you how to fix a basement leak yourself.
Finding the Leak
The first thing that you have to do is look for and locate the source of the leak. A leak can be a result of either a broken pipe or water getting inside the brickwork of your home through absorption or through the infiltration of water vapor. Identify the source of the leak and then you are prepared to rectify the problem.
If the leak isn't instantly noticeable, then you may need to use a damp meter, o a thermal imaging camera in order to track it down. Examine your property from the outside for slates that have moved and cracks in the wall. Also look for places where botanicals or soil make direct contact with the outside of the basement walls, and for overhanging foliage as well.
These are some of the leading indicators of the means by which moisture might have penetrated your basement walls and even the floor. Humidity levels in the basement are another telltale sign, especially in hotter climates. This is due to warmer moist air tending to be drawn to the cooler air typically found in basements.
Locating the Crack
If the leak is caused by a crack in the wall, then you will need to find it and repair it as soon as you possibly can. Finding cracks in a basement wall is generally very easy, although it might be easier to spot the problem from the outside than it is from the inside.
Preparing the Crack
Use a metal scraper to remove any loose material from inside the crack. A stiff wire brush can then be used to thoroughly clean the crack so that the cement can stick properly to it when it's applied. If you fail to clean out the crack sufficiently then the cement won't be able to properly attach to the surface and is likely to fall away or separate in those places.
Filling the Crack
The crack then needs to be filled with hydraulic cement. Make sure that it is packed into the crack fully so that it fills all of the nooks, cracks, and crannies inside the crack and that the new cement adheres to it 100 percent. Use the scraper again to make sure that the cement is level with the wall.
Wait until the cement is dry before you attempt to apply the caulking. It's always best to use silicone caulk because it allows the wall to flex slightly without cracking during the drying process.
Dry-lock sealant paint can be applied to the wall to resolve the problem. First, wet the wall; most of these paints need a wet surface to work properly. They prevent water from penetrating the wall. Although this step is optional, it will work very well at protecting your wall from dampness and moisture.
There are various other professional options available to homeowners and home handymen alike. A professional contractor normally uses an injection of either epoxy or polyurethane. The material is injected directly into the crack, providing solid protection because it fills the entire crack quite efficiently. Polyurethane is often used because it is waterproof.
Once the wall has been repaired, you can decorate the basement knowing that the problem is solved and that you probably won't have to deal with the same problem there ever again.