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Step-by-step guide to waterproofing a basement

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waterproofing  a basement can present a major challenge especially in areas experiencing regular floods.

Rising water tables combined with rising property prices and the need to make use of existing space have also led to an increased demand for reliable tanking systems for basements and other underground structures, many of which were not originally designed to resist water infiltration.

Dampness can be a particularly persistent problem on the internal walls of concrete and brickwork basements. and a reliable repair and protection system is therefore  required to provide a fully waterproof tanking solution.

Why Basements Start Leaking Water

Heavy rains or melting snow have been proven to temporarily raise the groundwater level. Moreover, the rain gutters and downspouts often get plugged up with debris. A wet foundation wall could also be a factor, especially if the soil around is clay. This will encourage water buildup around the house’s foundation.

Some of the older houses are prone to settling cracks. These cracks that develop due to stressed concrete will then start leaking. The leaking is further encouraged owing to the disintegration of exterior waterproofing.

It is also important to note that exterior waterproofing does not last. This is mainly due to the fact that no waterproofing material has ‘elastic’ properties that will enable it to weather the frequent contraction and expansion of the concrete as the house settles. Eventually, almost all waterproofing coatings will either break down or separate

As a homeowner with basement leakage issues, the best remedy is to stop the water migration by internally sealing the pores. This is in addition to and to deactivate alkalis in concrete surface to protect the concrete and any waterproofing coating against “alkali attack”? Here is a step-by-step guide to basement waterproofing:

Guide to basement waterproofing

STEP 1: Remove any paints, sealers, tile adhesive, efflorescence, and oils from the concrete.

STEP 2: Shop-vac the surface of the concrete removing loose or crumbling concrete, mortar, dust, and dirt.

STEP 3: Use a sealant on the concrete walls and floor against moisture. This can be done in stages, depending on the amount of stuff lying in the basement.

STEP 4: Make any repairs to foundation cracks, floor cracks, gaps, control joints, floor-to-wall joints, etc.

Alternatively, you can use other methods of basement waterproofing to achieve the same purpose. For instance, installing a sump pump for cases of high water tables.

The sump pump will help drain water from the gravel bed underneath the floor. However, it is important to have at least one backup sump pump.

Read Also:The complete guide to waterproofing your bathroom floor

You could also have interior drainage gutters fitted in. These are glued around the perimeter of the basement floor to collect water seeping through the foundation walls and to take it to a sump pump basin.

Similarly, exterior footing drains can also serve the same purpose, although they are quite costly.

On the other hand, a waterproofing contractor could advise you to go for the installation of an interior French drain. Unfortunately, this method does not work very well if the gravel bed has buildup and does little for seepage through basement walls.

Furthermore, it tends to leaves a gap at the floor-to-wall joint to allow water seeping through the walls to flow down to the French drain; causing inflow of moisture-laden gas from the soil. This, in turn, increases humidity as well as harmful radon gas levels in the basement. And that is how waterproofing a basement is done.

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