How to waterproof a basement.
Being a seasoned project director and foundation repair expert, I highly advise that most owners do no attempt to carry out complicated basement waterproofing construction on their home. The key explanation would be the potential for disastrous consequences pertaining to the structural stability of the house.
Accurate basement waterproofing entails specific procedures and a complete awareness of load distributions to your residence.
There are many over the shelf products advertising some type of basement waterproofing remedy. Nearly all of them are sealants for your walls, some are latex based others concrete supported. Please know that these products function as a Band-Aid and in most cases do not halt the powerful force that water places on your foundation walls and flooring. To avoid wasting time, energy and money, I highly suggest not using any of these well-known products.
There are two ways to resolve your basement waterproofing issues. The first one calls for an expensive undertaking of digging a trench around your complete foundation, placing a special material on the outside walls, forming a barrier, and constructing a network of drains at the bottom of your foundation around the whole perimeter of your home, to catch the water, divert to a pump, and remove it away from the foundation.
In future reports I will describe in detail what an exterior waterproofing project entails. But, some things to contemplate will be, will you be able to go under the driveway and any concrete walkways or patios. The price for such a undertaking is prohibitive to the worth of your property.
During my 20+ years of residential remodeling, the most cost effective technique for waterproofing a basement continues to be constructing an interior waterproofing system.
Now, I will explain what I believe to be the best procedures to eliminate basement foundation water problems.
How to waterproof a basement.
1. It definitely imperative to check your gutters and downspouts to ensure water is being removed from the area around your foundation. The typical house has over 2400 square feet of roofing, and when it rains there is considerable amounts of rainwater being captured.
2. Have an excavation business survey your land to determine which way the ground slopes and if it is in the direction of your house. It is possible using accurate excavating, that they may redirect water from the foundation. This technique isn’t as accepted in comparison with others, but I have seen decent success with specific situations. Only a competent excavating company can conclude if they can be of assistance. The slope of your surrounding property does not always contribute to the cause.
3. Basement waterproofing systems. There are many companies offering internal basement waterproofing systems. If you need help deciphering which one is best to your circumstances, please don’t hesitate to email me for some systems that are far superior to others based on the circumstances.
The following is a superior system that I recommend, as well as what to expect from a construction standpoint for the homeowner.
Please be advised that the following is not a do it yourself basement waterproofing project.
A competent basement waterproofing company will start with an outdoor survey of the property to see if your problem is from the exterior slope, and or just your gutter and drainage system.
Once that is established, you can be assured that fixing your basement water problems will likely be more complex.
What to expect from your construction.
To begin with, the waterproofing company will arrive with substantial manpower, for what they are going to do, is take away large amounts of concrete, dirt and debris from the lowest level of your home. Using a unique electric cement impulse hammer, they will begin to cut the basement floor an area of twelve to sixteen inches away from the foundation walls. They will cut a line around the perimeter leaving structural spacers of concrete that will act as supporting members to your walls, without the spacers you’d be in strict violation of building codes. When the perimeter is cut, workers will begin to manually remove heavy pieces of cut concrete. After the concrete is taken out of the basement in buckets, they will begin to dig a trench to the precise space, ensuring one of the most important factors, which is not to undermine your basement footers.
Subject to the size of your basement, workers will begin to cut out sump pump wells, you might require more than one, though for the typical basement two is recommended.
Once the trench is dug, workers will begin to carry down, in buckets, the correct size of stone to fill the trench, usually this is the number 4 stone, but it does depend upon your individual requirements. They will fill the trench with stone and begin laying a unique pipe with perforations to capture water which is traveling between the cove area, and under your foundation, causing water to seep indoors.
This pipe will travel the perimeter of your basement and be tunneled under the structural spacers that were not cut out. Other areas that usually cannot be cut will be under any heating and cooling system, water tanks, oil tanks, or structural beams.
This pipe will lead to the sump pit which has a special container and a unique underwater pump, sometimes named a Zoeller pump. There are many categories of pumps and water level detection systems which will activate the pumps in the event of water penetration. As a rule it is strongly recommended that part of your basement trench system goes one direction and the other goes the opposite direction. If you have installed sump pits with pumps you’ll have a closed system with outstanding backup. Depending on the pump it is not uncommon for a system to be able to remove 20,000 gallons of water per hour. While on the subject, I also suggest installing a battery backup system, though this will likely add to the expense, if a large weather event happens, and electrical power is lost, your basement waterproofing system will still be operational.
After the pipe is installed they will fill the trench with additional stone and then lay a heavy gauge plastic cover over the trench, on top of the stone, that extends approximately 4 inches up the foundation wall. Once installed workers will begin mixing concrete and start filling the trench cavity to return your basement floor as normal.
An additional technique I would recommend, would be drilling holes every foot on your foundation walls, never at the top but at the suggested level down. These holes are filled with plastic plugs that are fitted with perforated outlets and are referred to as convection ports. These ports permit air to pass through your foundation walls helping with pressure, the buildup of water, and any mold or mildew problems which are existing.
Added recommendations are to have 2 exit pipes for each independent sump pump in case of an internal pump malfunction or blockage within the exit pipe on the outside.
So to sum things up, do it yourself basement waterproofing most likely is not a feasible project for the typical homeowner.