The waterproofing of the basement involves various techniques that prevent the water from penetrating the basement of a building. It is crucial because it protects the structural integrity of the building. It is not considered to be an expense. Rather, it is a valuable addition to the property, which shows in the long run. Moisture in a building leads to issues like mold, mild dew, dust mites, unhealthy air, and not only this, but it also affects the energy efficiency of the building. Even if the basement is not waterproofed at construction time, if you come across such issues, then immediately take action, which is discussed in the later section of this blog.
Factors causing Moisture in Basement
Some factors exist in the building, but if they are not dealt with properly, then they can cause moisture in the basement. These also help in identifying the time you properly need maintenance:
1. Poorly Installed and Maintained Gutters:
Gutters are the most common area for entry of anything, whether it is water or creepy crawlies. Even if these are efficiently installed, they should be regularly inspected to avoid any sort of clog or blockage in the drainage pipes. The clog in gutters leads to the accumulation of water around the basement, leading to water damage.
2. Hydrostatic Pressure:
Water seepage is the most common problem, which is caused by hydrostatic pressure. The surrounding soil or poor drainage system causes this pressure, which ultimately damages the basement of the building. Water seepage also comes through cracks in the wall, solid concrete, or foundation.
3. Improper Soil and Drainage System:
While constructing any building, the type of soil according to that area should be inspected because the clayey soil retains water and enhances the chances of its accumulation around the foundation. It will result in water seepage and potential health hazards. Inadequate soil also leads to this issue; if the soil around the foundation is not sloped away, then it will accumulate around it.
4. Cracks in the Basement:
Another factor that allows moisture to seep into your basement is crack. The cracks can be of many types and can happen for numerous reasons, but the point to be considered here is that it will ultimately affect the basement, compromising the value of your property.
The process of condensation makes water droplets, and this happens when warm, humid air encounters cooler surfaces. It becomes a matter of concern for basements that do not have an adequate ventilation system.
Common Techniques for Basement Waterproofing
Basement Waterproofing is no longer a new concept because now everybody takes it from an investment perspective instead of an expense. All the factors and causes discussed earlier can be overcome using the following techniques:
1. Exterior Waterproofing
Starting from the external structure of the building. Excavation and waterproof coatings method is used to excavate the soil around the foundation. Afterward, the walls are sealed with waterproof coatings to form a barrier. The exterior system also includes a drainage system (French drain) to redirect water away and minimize the risks of leakage.
2. Interior Sealants
These sealants can be applied to the interior side of walls and floors to provide an extra layer of coverage. However, these sealants complement more with interior drainage systems, including sump pumps. It is more useful in areas with frequent rainfall as it collects the water and pumps it out, leaving the basement dry and moisture-free.
3. Foundation Crack Injections
Cracked walls ruin the overall appearance of the house. No matter how much expensive furniture is kept there, it gets overshadowed by the walls. Polyurethane or epoxy injections fill and seal the gaps and prevent water infiltration. This technique is helpful for already existing leaks.
4. Window Well Installation
The only way of waterproofing the window area of the basement is to install a window well around it. It will not only enhance the aesthetics of that area but will also provide a barrier against water and soil. These are also helpful in deterring debris and soil accumulation around the window.
5. Foundation Waterproofing Membranes
Sheet and liquid membranes are used to waterproof the foundation of the building. Sheet membranes are applied to the exterior foundation walls, whereas liquid membranes are sprayed or brushed onto the interior side of the foundation walls. These form a seamless waterproof layer and can be used in conjunction with other methods.
6. Grading and Landscape Management
The fundamental preventive measure is proper grading, which means the ground around your home slopes should be away from the foundation as it will help prevent the accumulation of water. Here, landscaping strategies play a vital role as well, which means that strategically placed vegetation and features can aid in water diversion.
7. Crawl Space Encapsulation
If your house has crawl space, then it is equally important to waterproof it by installing vapor barriers. This whole process of sealing the space with vapor barriers is called encapsulation. The barrier is made up of heavy-duty polyethylene, keeping the basement clean and dry.
8. Gutter and Downspout Maintenance
The gutters should be inspected and maintained regularly to avoid any sort of clog or blockage. Mostly, the blockage disturbs the flow of water, which then makes its way to the house instead of going away. Similarly, the downspouts also need regular maintenance. It is also suggested that these should be extended away from the foundation to channel water farther away from the house.
Basement waterproofing is no longer a choice now, and investing in it not only safeguards your house against water but also enhances the aesthetics of your property. The best way to waterproof your basement is to use a combination of techniques according to the needs of your property and the weather conditions of that area. Another important aspect to be identified earlier is vulnerability to any catastrophe, as it will require extensive protection. Installation of interior and exterior sealers is not enough; rather, their proper maintenance is required at regular intervals. Timely maintenance helps resolve issues in the initial stages and minimizes the expense of heavy repair.