Basements are adaptable spaces that can be customised to meet your specific requirements. This additional space offer flexibility in expanding the usable living space of a house. Since it is located below ground level it is susceptible to various risk factors which affect its condition and functionality. However, a damp, malodorous, or flooded basement can be inconvenient, pose health risks, and damage valuable belongings. To ensure a dry and functional basement, proper waterproofing and regular maintenance are essential.
If you know your basement requires waterproofing, don’t hesitate to fix the issues. While waterproofing your basement, follow these do’s and dont’s.
1. The Do’s of Basement Waterproofing.
a) Do: Locate Leaks and Fix Them
Locating and fixing leaks is a crucial step in basement waterproofing. Once you’ve identified signs of water infiltration, try to determine the source of the leaks. Water can enter the basement through cracks in the walls or floor, gaps around windows or doors, or poorly sealed utility penetrations. If you find any cracks in the basement walls or floor, fill them with epoxy, specialized crack injection products or hydraulic cement. In some cases, poor grading, inadequate drainage, or improper downspout placement can cause leaks in the basement.
b) Do: Ensure Proper Grading and Drainage
The ground around your home should slope away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling near the basement walls. If you notice areas where the ground is sloping towards the foundation or there are depressions that collect water, it’s important to correct the grading. Ensure that your downspouts effectively direct water away from the foundation. A French drain can be an effective solution for managing excess groundwater and preventing it from seeping into the basement. Regularly inspect and clean your gutters to maintain their functionality. By addressing proper grading and drainage, you can effectively manage water around your foundation and minimize the risk of basement water infiltration.
c) Do: Install a Sump Pump
A sump pump is a device designed to remove water that accumulates in a sump pit, which is a specially constructed pit or basin located on the basement floor. When the water level in the pit rises to a certain point, the pump automatically activates pumping the water away from the foundation and preventing basement flooding. If you experience water seepage, or high water table levels, or live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, installing a sump pump can be a proactive measure to protect your basement from water damage.
d) Do: Apply Waterproofing Coatings
Applying waterproofing coatings is an effective method of protecting basement walls and floors from water infiltration. There are various waterproofing coatings available, including cementitious coatings, waterproofing membranes, and epoxy sealants. Select a product that is suitable for your specific needs and the type of surface you will be coating. Consider factors such as the level of water resistance required, application method, and compatibility with the existing materials.
e) Do: Install a Vapour Barrier
A vapour barrier, also known as a moisture barrier or vapour retarder, is a material designed to restrict the transmission of moisture vapour through the basement walls or floor. It helps prevent moisture from entering the basement, reducing the risk of condensation, mould growth, and damage to building materials. Common options include plastic sheeting, polyethylene membranes, or specialized vapour barrier products. By installing a vapour barrier you can contribute to the overall durability and comfort of the basement space.
2. The Don’ts of Basement Waterproofing.
a. Don’t Ignore Signs of Moisture or Leaks.
Any signs of moisture, water stains, or musty odours in your basement should not be ignored. These can be indications of existing or potential water problems. Addressing them promptly can help prevent further damage and costly repairs in the future.
b. Don’t Neglect Gutters and Downspouts.
Clogged or malfunctioning gutters and downspouts can contribute to basement water issues. Ensure they are clear of debris and properly direct water away from the foundation. Regularly clean and maintain gutters to prevent water overflow.
c. Don’t Skip Proper Ventilation.
Adequate ventilation is essential for preventing excess moisture and reducing the risk of mould and mildew growth. Ensure there is proper airflow in your basement by installing vents or exhaust fans if needed.
d. Don’t Rely Solely on Interior Waterproofing.
While interior waterproofing measures can be effective, they should not be the only line of defence. Exterior waterproofing is equally important. It involves techniques such as grading, foundation drainage systems, and exterior waterproof coatings.
e. Don’t Rush the Process.
Basement waterproofing is not a task to be rushed. Take the time to properly identify problem areas, plan the necessary repairs or installations, and follow the recommended procedures. Cutting corners or rushing the process can result in ineffective waterproofing and potential problems down the line.
Basement waterproofing is a proactive investment that provides long-term benefits and peace of mind. Keep these simple tips in mind in order to create a more moisture-resistant environment, reduce the risk of dampness and mould, and maintain the overall durability and comfort of the basement space.