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Waterproofing Basement Walls From Inside

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If you have a basement or are planning new construction including a basement, chances are good you are already thinking about basement waterproofing.

Perhaps you are wondering if waterproofing basement walls from inside can protect your new basement from moisture and leaks later on.

Or maybe your question is about whether waterproofing basement walls from inside could be a potential fix for leaks or dampness in your existing basement.

Read on to learn the answers to these and other basement waterproofing questions!

Hydrostatic Pressure: What It Is & How It Causes Leaks

If you had to take a guess, how much do you think a single cubic inch of rainwater weighs as it presses against your basement walls?

According to range scientists, one cubic inch of rainwater can weigh 60 pounds or more as it presses against your basement walls. This is called “hydrostatic pressure” and it is a major cause for basement leaks.

With continual hydrostatic pressure from sprinkler runoff, storm water, underground springs or even your local water table, your walls will be hard-pressed to keep that water out forever.

What happens when there is more than one cubic inch of water in the soil surrounding your basement walls?

Imagine hundreds or even thousands of pounds of water pressing against your basement structure. How long will the integrity of the walls and floors, seams and joints withstand this kind of force?

Wrap It To Protect It: How Waterproofing Works

When you are about to head outside and see that it has started to rain, what do you do before you leave? If you are like many, you probably grab an umbrella or, better yet, a raincoat!

With the right accessories, you can stay dry even while standing in pouring water. This is the same basic concept that helped invent today’s basement waterproofing treatments.

There are two basic methods for waterproofing a basement: exterior and interior.

Exterior waterproofing is really only financially feasible when you are waterproofing a new basement-in-progress as part of a preventative measure or when you only need to treat a single wall that has been noticeably impacted from the outside by something like a tree root.

Otherwise, the cost to excavate fully around your basement walls, apply the treatment and restore the soil and landscaping is typically prohibitive.

Waterproofing basement walls from inside is the first-choice treatment for homeowners who need to address an issue with seepage, standing water or moisture in an existing basement structure.

Different Types of Inside Basement Waterproofing

The type of inside basement waterproofing treatment you choose will depend on what type of water problem you are facing.

Some issues can be fully resolved by simply applying the basement waterproofing treatment to seal your basement interior and prevent further moisture from entering.

However, some issues need preparatory repair treatments before the waterproofing treatment can be applied.

Once larger cracks or leaks have formed, this two-phase approach to inside basement waterproofing is necessary to both preserve the structural integrity of your basement and prevent further moisture from entering.

How to Know Your Basement Needs Waterproofing

Your basement has its own way to communicate with you that something is wrong. These warning signs are each indications you may need to consider waterproofing basement walls from inside.

Humidity and dampness

Humid basement air and damp walls let you know that somehow, somewhere, moisture is seeping into your basement.

A dehumidifier can offer a band-aid solution, but the only sure way to prevent mould and mildew from forming is to seal up micro-fissures and cracks with an inside waterproofing treatment.

Sump pump running

When your sump pump never seems to fully shut off, this can be a sign that water is continually seeping into your basement from somewhere.

Water may be entering from walls or flooring. In these types of situations, often basement waterproofing is combined with the installation of a backup sump pump for peace of mind.

Strange odours

Do you dread going down into your basement because it always smells...off? Musty, damp, grassy—these are some ways homeowners describe the unmistakable aroma of “dirty gym socks” that often arises once mould and mildew has begun to form.

Mould and mildew of any strain can be particularly concerning because spores can colonize in micro-fissures where no human eye can ever detect them. Over time as the colony grows, you may begin to see discolouration on the interior walls, but odour is definitely going to be your first warning sign.

Once mould has formed, it will be necessary to get an evaluation for remediation work before it is safe to proceed with interior basement waterproofing.

White powder on walls

Efflorescence is the technical term for the white powdery residue that remains once water has evaporated. The white powder is from the salt present in the water.

Seeing efflorescence anywhere inside your basement is a clear indication that water has been there. This residue must be cleaned off before your basement can be waterproofed.

Obvious leaks or standing water

The sign most likely to trigger outright alarm in homeowners is the sight of water leaking into or pooling on the floor.

Here, the first order of business is always to seal the leak before proceeding to seal the basement with inside waterproofing.

Inside Basement Waterproofing Solutions

The science of structural waterproofing has come a long way over the last decade. Today, we have so many treatments for waterproofing basement walls from inside.

Crack and fissure repair, drainage and downspout upgrades, mould-repellent insulation, sump system backups, well and window drains, damp-proofing and both exterior and interior waterproofing can give you present-day peace of mind and enhance the potential resale value of your home in the future!

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