The Do’s and Don’ts of Waterproofing Your Basement

Having a damp basement on your hands causes a multitude of issues. From mold and mildew to rotted wood and structural damage, keeping your basement dry is essential to the health of your home. 

While most builders attempt to waterproof basements during construction, water still seeps into basements through cracks and crevices. Depending on the climate, damp soil can also cause excess moisture to seep into your basement, causing the air and walls to feel damp. If your area is prone to flooding, the basement floor is usually the first to take on water. 

No matter your situation, waterproofing your basement is the best way to prevent excess moisture and can be done in a variety of ways. However, it is always best to do extensive research before waterproofing your basement. Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts for keeping your basement dry. 

DO Invest in a Dehumidifier 

While a dehumidifier is not the best long-term solution to a wet basement, it does help keep excess moisture out. They are particularly helpful during rainy days, as water is more likely to seep in through surrounding soil, window sills and cracks in the walls. 

Dehumidifiers work by pulling moisture out of the air, keeping the room dry. Dehumidifiers also help cut down on mold and mildew growth. If anyone in your household suffers from severe allergies or asthma, dehumidifiers will help keep their symptoms at bay. 

DO Push Water Away From Your Home

Water can get into your home in a multitude of ways. Keep as much water away from your home as possible. You can do this by keeping gardens and flowerbeds falling away from your foundation, especially if you live in an area with poor soil drainage.

Regularly check your gutters for clogs and damage to ensure proper drainage. This step is especially crucial if your home is on a downward slope. Inspect any basement windows and doorways for cracks, holes and insect damage. Check your basement floor and walls for cracks regularly. Even in newer homes, cracks and holes tend to form as the house settles. 

DON’T Attempt to Waterproof Your Basement With Standing Water

When repairing cracks or holes in your basement where water is seeping through, ensure any standing water is removed before you start on repairs. If you find that water has collected after a big storm, remove it immediately to prevent further damage and reduce your risk of electric shock. 

It may also be hard to pinpoint the source of the leak with standing water present. Standing water can be removed with a wet-dry vacuum in most cases. If the flooding is severe, you will have to call a company to remove the water for you. After all standing water is removed, you can easily determine the source of the leak and start repairs. 

DO Use Hydraulic Cement for Leaks

Cracks and holes in basement walls or floors are common. These can happen as the house settles or can be a result from poor construction. The older the home is, the more likely it is to have cracks in the walls or floor. 

Hydraulic cement is one of the easiest ways to fill in cracks. It is mixed with additives that allow it to expand quickly to easily fill cracks. Hydraulic cement usually sets within two to three minutes and provides a waterproof seal. 

DO Consider an Interior Drainage System

An interior drainage system works to push water away from the basement walls and out through the foundation. It works similarly to any other drainage system and is installed just inside your basement walls. Although addressing a problem from the outside is the preferred method, it is not always feasible. In some cases, with older homes, it is just not an option. It is usually installed under the floor along the wall. The walls are covered with paneling to trap the moisture and water coming in. While this method is effective, we always prefer to address any issues from the exterior when possible.

DO Contact the Experts for Waterproofing Your Basement

When it comes to waterproofing your basement, contact the experts to avoid any further damage to your home. With over 70 years of experience, our masonry professionals at Ray Arnold Masonry and General Contracting are ready to help you keep your basement dry and free of damage. Contact us today for a free quote or visit our website to learn more about our masonry services.