How to Waterproof Your Basement

Olympic Hopefuls Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick
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Your basement is the perfect location for an entertainment den, extra guest room or supplementary storage. But without the proper waterproofing, the only thing in your basement will be mold, unsightly cracking and possible flooding. Fortunately, preventing unwanted moisture isn’t difficult. Use this guide to keep your basement free of pesky leaks.

Fill Cracks With a Hydraulic Cement

Cracks in your basement walls and floors are a common source of unwanted moisture. In addition to causing leaks, cracks can also weaken the structural integrity of your foundation. Hydraulic cement is the best way to waterproof small cracks and prevent eventual structural damage. Add water to the cement mix and pour it into the cracks. The mixture should set up immediately and create a waterproof seal. Hydraulic cement is only effective in small cracks. Large or severe cracking will require professional help.

Check Your Home’s Exterior

Many moisture-related basement issues originate outside of your home. Begin by inspecting your home’s grading. Be sure that the soil near the base of your home gently slopes away from your foundation. Poor grading will allow water to pool and leak into your basement. It’s also important to inspect your gutters. Clogged or damaged gutters will overflow near the base of your home and cause unwanted basement moisture. Improperly placed downspouts can also saturate your basement. Be sure your downspouts are long enough to keep water from pooling near your house. Extensions are effective and affordable ways to optimize your downspouts.

Apply a Concrete Sealer

Concrete sealers are simple ways to waterproof your basement walls and flooring. Sealers, while effective, are only appropriate for small amounts of moisture. Sizeable cracks and large leaks will require the help of a professional. You can apply your sealer using paint brushes and rollers. It’s important to read the instructions before administering your sealer. Certain brands require specific conditions in order to maximize their effectiveness.

Install a French Drain

French drains are a system of pipes that move excess water away from your basement and home’s exterior. Perimeter drains are a great way to eliminate leaks, but they will require construction. French drain installation involves trenching your basement floor, pouring cement and installing a sump pump. It’s best to hire a professional to tackle this job unless you have the necessary experience.

Never Hesitate to Hire a Professional

Waterproofing your basement isn’t always a DIY project. Call a pro if you’re unsure or encounter unforeseen problems. Waterproofing professionals have the skills and knowledge necessary to install a variety of moisture-eliminating solutions. Your pro will also recognize hidden or potential problems with your basement. Overlooking signs of serious water damage can lead to problems like foundation failure and flooding