Your basement is built to hold many things, but water isn’t one of them. Water seepage into the basement can cause huge problems for homeowners.
A small puddle or a tiny trickle may seem like no big deal, but such signs can be alarming. Water in your basement can stimulate mold growth, damage stored items, and impair the pillars of your foundation.
All of this can slim down the market value of your property. In the US, water damage claims are surging. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to avoid water damage in your basement.
Seepage Problems That Require Interior Basement Waterproofing
Before you get to work, it’s good to have an idea of how the water has gotten (or can get) into your basement. There are a few reasons why basement seepage occurs, and water can seep into your basement from several sources. The water almost always starts out in the ground that surrounds the foundation of the basement—no matter how it enters it.
You can rest assured that there is water in the ground around and underneath your basement. The level of the groundwater mostly depends on the geographic location of your home. In times of heavy rain and floods, the level of groundwater rises.
The more groundwater around your basement, the bigger the chances it will enter your basement. Leaky or poorly maintained gutters, an inefficient draining system, hydrostatic pressure, and cracks in floors and walls can cause the groundwater to enter your basement.
Of all of the above, wall cracks are the most common source of water in the basement. When the foundation sinks or settles, wall cracks can occur. The lateral pressure from oversaturated soil surrounding the basement can also lead to cracks.
Groundwater itself can cause wall cracks as well. Moreover, more serious problems with the foundation can lead to vertical, nonstructural wall cracks that are less than a one-eight inch in width.
Redirect Water Away From the Foundation
Waterproofing your basement walls may be futile if the issue lies elsewhere. When there’s water in your basement, land grading is important. If the ground is sloped toward your foundation, it can spell danger. During heavy rainfall and floods, runoff water can leach into your basement.
To elude the entry of incoming water, you need to grade your yard. Re-grading may be key to keeping your basement dry. You can reshape the landscape by creating mounds of soil.
You also need to clean your gutters and make sure they are not damaged. Sometimes, the best solution is to replace them altogether. It may be a good idea to expand your downspouts as well.
Prep the Walls
Basically, DIY basement wall waterproofing is a painting project. First, you need to get a masonry waterproofer. You should be able to find it in your local hardware store. While you are there, be sure to get a concrete patcher as well. You’ll need it later.
Before you start applying it, you need to make sure the walls are clean. This will help ensure the best adhesion. To remove dust, dirt, and loose and broken mortar, clean the walls with a wire brush. Pay special attention to the cracks.
Water seepage can draw salt deposits (efflorescence) to the surface of the walls. These deposits can prevent the waterproofer from adhering to the wall. If you can see white, powdery spots on your basement walls, wash them with a solution of muriatic acid.
You need to apply the waterproofer over bare masonry only. If there is old paint on the walls, be sure to remove it. You can scrape it, water-brush it, or sand-blast it. If there is mold or mildew, use a bleach solution to kill it.
Fill Holes and Cracks With Concrete Patch
You can patch smaller cracks on the walls with a trowel and a concrete repair product. Be sure to check the floor-to-wall joints as well. Concrete floors usually shrink when they cure. This can create gaps where water can seep from.
Use the concrete patcher to fill all the gaps between the walls and the floor. Before you start painting, you need to let everything dry completely.
Apply the Waterproofer
Waterproofers typically contain solid material. When you start using the paint roller, chances are it will splatter all over you. Be sure to wear old clothes and goggles. As for the painting process, simply stick to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Use a stiff bristle brush to apply the first coat of the waterproofer. Be sure to work it thoroughly into the pores of the walls. To ensure adequate waterproofing, you will need to apply two coats. Let the first coat dry and then apply the second coat in 3’ sections using a roller.
Turn to the Professionals
Waterproofers are excellent products that have helped many homeowners, but they are still not miracle workers. A waterproofer can protect your home from seepage, but it won’t stop a full-on flood.
If groundwater and floods are a serious threat to your home, one way to avoid flood damage is to hire an experienced water damage restoration crew. To help prevent flood damage, they can pinpoint and deal with structural issues in your foundation.
Water in the basement can be nasty, but there are a few things you can do to prevent it. The sooner you get to it, the easier it will be to maintain a dry, mold-free basement. A bit of DIY work may be all you need to fully waterproof your basement.
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both
thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.