Basement waterproofing requires careful planning and execution to ensure proper moisture control. Skipping key steps or choosing subpar materials often leads to system failures, continued wet walls, and flooding. Always follow appropriate guidelines to maximize investment and achieve a drier, healthier basement.
Waterproofing a basement adequately protects your home and adds usable space. Avoid common mistakes by following these essential basement waterproofing dos and don’ts, and learn the essentials to make your project successful.
- Do: Prep The Area Thoroughly
Taking time upfront to prep basement surfaces properly prevents issues later on and improves waterproofing results. Begin by thoroughly cleaning walls to remove efflorescence, salt deposits, loose material, or dust. Pressure wash or mechanically grind surfaces as needed. Oils and debris inhibit proper bonding.
Next, fill any larger cracks and holes with hydraulic cement filler to smooth and level the surface. This provides a sound foundation for coatings and sealants to adhere tightly without pulling away later.
Finally, patch more minor cracks in the concrete thoroughly. Proper prep work allows your waterproofing solutions to perform optimally.
- Do: Control All Interior Moisture Sources
In addition to sealing basement walls, it also manages other sources of moisture within the basement space. Carefully seal any cracks noticed around windows, pipes, wiring cutouts, or the sill plate area. Apply caulk, foam, or cement filler as appropriate for a permanent seal.
Ensure downspouts and gutters properly collect and direct roof runoff away from the foundation exterior. Add downspout extensions if needed. Grade and slope soil, gravel, and landscaping features to encourage drainage away from the home’s perimeter.
Run dehumidifiers as well to maintain indoor relative humidity below 55 percent actively. Open basement windows when possible to improve air circulation and ventilation. Controlling all potential sources of moisture leads to a complete and successful waterproofing solution.
- Don’t: Hire The Cheapest Contractor
The lowest bid may seem appealing, but quality basement waterproofing Toronto work matters more than rock-bottom pricing. Only licensed contractors with documented experience.
It’s crucial to perform extensive due diligence when choosing a waterproofing company to ensure they meet the following requirements: appropriate local licensing, bonding, and insurance coverage, a minimum of five years of experience in waterproofing projects, etc.
- Do: Upgrade Both Interior And Exterior Drainage
For optimal protection, improve drainage systems both inside and outside your home. Interior drainage features like sump pumps actively gather and pump away collected groundwater before it damages basement floors and walls.
Exterior drainage improves site grading plus installs perforated piping around the outside of foundation walls to redirect rain and groundwater away from your home. Enhancing external rain runoff control through downspout extensions and landscaping also keeps the soil adjoining the home drier.
Interior and exterior drainage systems working hand-in-hand provide a multi-layer defense that ensures moisture is evacuated from your basement..
- Don’t: Skimp On Dehumidification
Enduring moisture in basement air inevitably causes waterproofing failures and promotes mold growth. An adequate dehumidification capacity is essential for a dry, healthy interior space.
For large basements, install a whole-house dehumidifier integrated with the home’s HVAC system to regulate humidity levels throughout. In especially damp basements, multiple smaller dehumidifiers can provide zoned humidity control.
- Do: Utilize Both Interior And Exterior Waterproofing
Using both interior and exterior waterproofing techniques enhances basement moisture protection. Internal sealants, paints, and barriers keep water out of finished basement living spaces. Exterior sealants stop moisture from entering foundation walls in the first place.
Epoxy-based paint coatings are among the interior waterproofing options that successfully prevent moisture problems. These paint coatings are renowned for their capacity to deeply seal porous concrete while providing exceptional durability and moisture protection.
Injectable chemical sealants are also beneficial because they permanently bond with concrete, preventing water penetration at joints and cracks.
- Don’t Neglect Routine Maintenance
Ongoing maintenance keeps a basement waterproofing system working at peak performance for years. Annually inspect the system and all components after significant storms. Check sump pumps, drainage pipes, exterior drains, and interior seals.
Test sump pumps monthly by filling the basin and confirming proper activation. Remove any debris from sump pits, and lubricate floats annually. Reapply any cracked or worn seam sealants to maintain a watertight barrier. Repair any new concrete cracks immediately before they widen.