There are many different opinions on the best way to waterproof a basement. Some “experts” insist that the only way to keep water from coming into the basement is to install a waterproof membrane against the exterior of the foundation. Others are convinced that water leakage into the basement can be stopped by using expensive waterproofing paint to coat the interior surface of foundation walls.
At Basement Systems, we’ve been waterproofing basements for over 25 years. Our network of over 300 basement waterproofing contractors (spread throughout the U.S. Canada and the United Kingdom) continuously develops, tests and refines techniques and products designed to solve tough waterproofing problems. We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t What we know for sure is that single solutions like waterproof paints or membranes never work perfectly. Instead of hoping to defeat water pressure, it’s much smarter to control it and even utilize it. The 3-step strategy explained below will work more effectively than any “single” solution for waterproofing a basement.
Three steps to a dry basement
Control water outside the house. Overflowing gutters and downspouts that dump roof runoff close to the foundation can increase hydrostatic pressure against your foundation walls. This not only increases the likelihood of leaks; it also increases the volume of water that will leak into your basement. To avoid this situation, make sure your gutters stay clear and operational. Use downspout extensions where necessary to deposit water away from foundation walls. If your house is built into a hillside, consider installing swales or French drains to move water around the uphill side of the house. The exterior of your foundation should be coated with a damp-proofing treatment (typically a dark, asphalt-based coating). This treatment doesn’t stop leaks, but it does limit the amount of soil moisture that seeps through your foundation walls.
Install a perimeter drain and sump pump system inside the basement. Like the water that presses against the hull of a boat, the water outside your foundation “wants” to leak inside because it’s under pressure. Instead trying to defeat water pressure, we harness its force, using a patented drain and sump pump system. We install our patented WaterGuard® drainage system around the basement perimeter, and connect this drain line to a sump pit. Water that leaks through the walls as well as water that pushes up at the floor/wall joint (a common leakage area) never reaches the basement floor because it’s captured by the WaterGuard drain. The drain line brings the water to a sump pit, where a sump pump comes on automatically to discharge the water to the exterior.
The AAA waterproofing experts are normally pretty good at explaining how a pro basement waterproofing principles can give you a dry basement and keep it odor free.
Install a dehumidifier to dry and filter basement air. The final step may not be necessary if you don’t want your “new” dry basement to be just as clean and comfortable as your upstairs living space. But a SaniDry® dehumidifier will make it that way. This ENERGY STAR® appliance will easily outperform standard dehumidifiers found at appliance stores and home centers. The SaniDry dehumidifier includes a super-fine air filter to clean basement air as it dehumidifies.