Schedule Maintenance Free Estimate

4 Main Types of Basement Waterproofing and What You Need to Know About Each

exterior basement waterproofing

If you own a home with a basement, the thought of potential water damage may not keep you up nights, but it has likely crossed your mind, say, during winter thaw or torrential rains, or if you live close to a body of water that tends to flood.

The unsettling truth is, nearly 98 percent of basements throughout North America are likely to be impacted by moisture at some point.

In this article, learn about the four main types of basement waterproofing and when to use each if your basement takes on damp or water.

What Causes a Basement to Take on Water?

A basement may take on water for a number of reasons, only some of which are under your control.

Here is a list of the most common reasons that basements may take on damp or water, so you can think through the best way to protect your investment.


Severe weather such as the type we have been seeing more frequently in Ontario in recent years can sometimes trigger power outages.

If your sump system doesn’t have battery backup, it may fail and your basement may flood, especially if the weather brings with it heavy rains.

Sump pump failure

Speaking of which, sump pumps, like all appliances, only last so long. Installing a backup system can extend the useful life of your sump.

Burst pipes

Frozen pipes are a known hazard especially in winter. But underground pipes can give way at any time of year due to tree roots, rust and other causes.

Rising water table

Sometimes the water table in your region begins to rise and this may bring water into your basement.

Hydrostatic soil pressure

Water content in the surrounding soil can create pressure against your basement walls and floor. This water is seeking an exit and may find its way inside your basement through fissures and micro-cracks that can widen over time.


The entire ecosystem of a basement space is always going to be different from that of your home above ground level.

Because moisture levels tend to be consistently higher, this causes the humidity to rise. Sometimes this causes mould and mildew damage to stored items or furnishings.

Inadequate drainage

Window wells and drains are typically installed during the process of building a new basement space. However, over time these important features may become broken or blocked.

In the same way, shifting soils may cause grading around your above-ground home to shift.

If there are no gutters or the gutters become clogged or blocked, or if downspouts aren’t well-placed to route water away from the home, all of this can create water that has nowhere else to go but down into your basement.

Wall or floor cracks

Concrete is the building material of choice for basements today. Whether poured fresh or stacked from pre-existing bricks, concrete tends to be naturally porous, which means you can absolutely expect some micro-cracks and fissures as your basement settles.

But over time, such initially small cracks can widen, especially with consistent hydrostatic pressure as water keeps threading through the cracks. These cracks can then turn into major leaks under some of the other conditions mentioned here.

4 Main Types of Basement Waterproofing

There are four main types of basement waterproofing.

Each comes with its own pros and cons as well as recommended times for use.

If you have an existing basement, focus your attention on the last three types of affordable basement waterproofing.

1. Exterior excavation

Because exterior excavation basement waterproofing is so invasive and cost-prohibitive, it typically makes sense to take this approach only during new construction.

This method involves installing an exterior drain around the outer basement perimeter and often applying paint-like sealant around the outside walls as well.

If you are planning a new build or if yours is currently underway, talk with your contractor about the feasibility of exterior waterproofing.

2. Interior subfloor drain

Installing an interior subfloor drain is a relatively simple proposition compared with exterior excavation and can be done with a new or existing basement space.

Here, the term “subfloor” indicates the drain is installed underneath the floor of your basement.

The drainage system runs along the walls and can be set up to collect runoff from window wells and walls along with exterior floor moisture, which is then sent to the sump pump for removal.

3. Interior baseboard system

The interior baseboard system is easy to implement inside your basement whether the space is unfinished or finished.

It doesn’t require any jackhammering or other invasive methods. The drainage system is installed inside along the floor so water is collected and sent to the sump pump for removal.

4. Negative-side sealant

Negative-side sealant is a type of paint-like cement coating that can be applied to your basement walls and floor in a similar way to how paint is typically applied.

The sealant literally seals out moisture from the inside. The best time to use negative-side sealant is before you finish your basement space, although it can be done at any time with only minimal disruption to existing furnishings.

Get in Touch

Do you need guidance for affordable basement waterproofing to protect your investment? We can help!

Our free, no-obligation EasyQuote system is designed for maximum peace of mind and minimal stress. One of our polite, prompt and highly trained service technicians will meet you at your home to evaluate your basement, talk through options and provide you with a quote. It really is that easy!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

Login to post comments.