Water intrusion in basements is a huge mess. It not only affects your home’s foundation but also your happiness. Quick action is crucial to tackle this issue. So in this blog, we will explore various methods of waterproofing your basement. But before we delve into specific solutions, it is crucial to understand the unique challenges posed by different types of foundations or structures. The three most common types of foundations are stone, cinderblock, and concrete, in chronological order. We will provide a concise overview of each to help you determine the best solution for your home. Now, let’s hop on the blog right away!
Basement Waterproofing Explained The Basement Gurus’ Way
How Water Ends Up in Basements?
In places with heavy rainfall, the soil is often full of moisture. This leads to water intrusion. When the ground gets soaked, the water presses on your basement walls and floors. This pressure, called hydrostatic pressure, depends on how much water is in the ground and how heavy it is. Your basement walls are strong enough to hold up the house, but they are not designed to handle this water pressure. When water builds up around and below your basement, it finds the easiest path inside – through cracks, joints, or weak spots in the foundation. That’s how water sneaks in and causes you worry.
What is Basement Waterproofing?
Now that we have got a handle on how water gets into basements, let’s dive into the solution:
According to Wikipedia, “waterproofing is the process of making an object or structure waterproof or water-resistant so that it remains relatively unaffected by water or resisting the ingress of water under specified conditions. Such items may be used in wet environments or underwater to specified depths.”
Why Waterproof Your Basement? (A Financial Perspective)
A Valuable Investment
Think of basement waterproofing as an investment rather than just another expense. By keeping your basement dry, you are safeguarding and increasing the long-term value of your home. A waterproofed basement is an asset that pays off over time.
Protection of Home Value
Studies have shown that basement water issues can drag down your home’s worth to a great extent. In some cases, it can slash your property’s value by up to 25% or more. Basement waterproofing helps maintain your home’s equity and value.
Sensible Financial Choice
Skipping basement waterproofing can be an expensive mistake. The boost in home value from a waterproofed basement often outweighs the initial waterproofing costs. It is a wise financial move that yields substantial returns down the road.
Boosting Home Value with a Finished Basement
To top it off, a finished basement can make a big difference in your home’s value. According to Consumer Reports, a finished basement can boost your home’s worth very much. Remodeling Magazine (August 2003) even says that the money invested in finishing a basement can give you an average return of 119%. This means that basement waterproofing not only protects your home’s value but also opens the door to a great return on investment.
Basement Waterproofing for Different Foundation Types
Your home’s foundation plays a big role in whether water gets into your basement or not. Let’s look at a couple of foundation types and what you need to know:
Stone foundations, the primary choice in the 1800s and early 1900s, are composed of massive field stones held together with mortar. Although inherently robust, they are vulnerable to moisture-related issues. While stone foundations are generally structurally sound, the main challenge arises from the deterioration of the mortar between the stones. This decay allows moisture and water to infiltrate between the stones. Contractors often attempt to remedy this issue by applying a layer of concrete, known as ‘parging,’ over the stone walls. Unfortunately, this solution often falls short because it doesn’t address the underlying moisture problem. The result can be concrete decay, cracking, and eventual detachment. To combat this, a wire mesh is installed but this also does not work for long.
What Needs to be Done?
Identifying Moisture Problems
To resolve these moisture-related concerns, a comprehensive inspection of the foundation from both the interior and exterior is essential. Look for gaps in the stone where the mortar has disintegrated. These gaps must be filled from both sides.
Addressing Extensive Damage
In cases of severe damage caused by water or other factors, such as tree roots penetrating the foundation, a two-step approach is necessary. Begin with sealing the affected areas using parging and an exterior tar membrane.
Exterior Waterproofing Solutions
Consider implementing an exterior waterproofing system. This typically involves a 4-inch high-density polyethylene pipe with proper pitch, filled with crushed stone and a mud guard. This system diverts water away from the foundation’s exterior.
Interior Moisture Management
Addressing the interior is just as critical as dealing with the exterior. Utilize a vapor barrier with a recommended ply strength of at least 7 mils. This barrier is installed from the joists down and is ideally integrated into a sub-level French drain system.
The Role of French Drains
The interior French drain system should connect to a sump pit, which should be adequately sized, typically at least 22 inches by 24 inches.
After addressing the interior, proceed with the installation of wire mesh and a two-layer concrete application. The initial layer, known as the ‘scratch coat,’ must dry for less than 24 hours before applying the second layer, the ‘finish coat,’ which should ideally be a white stucco finish sponge coat.
Proper Concrete Curing
Following concrete installation, it is essential to mist the concrete for a period of 30 to 90 days, with at least one misting per day, to ensure the concrete cures properly.
Cinderblock foundations began to appear as early as the 1920s, gaining popularity in the 1950s and 60s. These foundations come with their unique challenges, primarily due to their hollow interior and porous concrete structure. One significant problem with cinderblock foundations is their inherent lack of structural integrity and their tendency to allow moisture infiltration. Among the foundations discussed, cinderblock walls are at the highest risk of structural collapse, primarily due to the hollow nature of the blocks.
What Needs to be Done?
Waterproofing Cinderblock Foundations
Cinderblock foundations can be waterproofed effectively with careful attention and the right techniques. Depending on the level of foundation damage, waterproofing may be required both from the exterior and interior. Additionally, structural repairs might be necessary.
A Better Approach: Wall Pins
Earlier, carbon fiber straps used to be installed for structural integrity but they fail if not properly installed. So we recommend a method known as Wall Pins. This technique involves installing rebar and concrete within the hollow cores of the cinderblocks at intervals of approximately 2.5 feet. It is crucial to consult with an engineer or a licensed waterproofing company experienced in this process before taking it on.
Crack Types in Cinderblock Foundations
Cinderblock foundations can exhibit various types of cracks, with the two most common being step cracks and horizontal cracks. These cracks can pose a risk of structural collapse if left unattended. Horizontal cracks and step cracks are often triggered by water pressure and poor construction. In many cases, the frost line freezing and water expansion are key culprits, leading to increased pressure within the walls.
Footer Concerns in Cinderblock Foundations
Notably, cinderblock foundations do not always include a footer beneath the blocks. This omission can be detrimental to the foundation’s stability and may necessitate alternative waterproofing solutions. Options include a box ledge waterproofing system or installing a footer during the waterproofing process.
Concrete basement foundations are a prevalent and modern construction method used to provide support and structural integrity to buildings. Their use is mandated in many building projects. They are the foundation of choice for many residential and commercial structures due to their durability, strength, and various advantages.
What Needs to be Done?
Importance of Timing and Contractor Selection
The timing of the foundation pour is a critical consideration. It is advisable to avoid pouring concrete foundations in cold temperatures, as this can affect the curing process. Proper curing often requires over 90 days for optimal strength. The thickness of the concrete wall is also a vital factor, with thicker walls generally being more robust.
Common Leakage Points
While concrete foundations are generally sturdy, they can still develop leaks, typically in two areas: the cover joint, where the wall meets the floor, and through settlement cracks. We will focus on settlement cracks in this discussion.
Understanding Settlement Cracks
Settlement cracks can occur anywhere in the foundation but are more prevalent in corners, especially near windows, as these areas are structurally weaker. To repair these cracks correctly, excavation from the exterior is necessary.
Exterior Repair of Settlement Cracks
Repairing settlement cracks involves the following steps:
- Excavate the crack to the footing.
- Clean and wash the wall in the affected area.
- V-groove the crack to enhance porosity.
- Install A-B epoxy throughout the crack.
- Apply hydraulic cement over the epoxy once it has dried.
- Place a 2-inch foam board in front of the crack.
- Consider adding another membrane over the foam for added protection.
Interior Repair of Settlement Cracks
For comprehensive protection, it is wise to seal the interior crack as well, tying it into the footer. This interior crack repair process includes:
- V-grooving the crack again.
- Installing epoxy crack injection.
- Applying hydraulic cement over the crack.
- Utilizing a Fiberglass Reinforcement Panel to connect to the footer level below ground.
Consideration for a French Drain System
In some cases, the installation of a French drain system may be necessary to address drainage and moisture-related concerns effectively. That’s why we have also discussed French drain and its installation in the next topic.
The Origins of French Drains
What is a French Drain?
A French drain is a type of underground drainage system designed to manage excess water and prevent it from flooding specific areas, such as basements or yards.
Where did French Drains Come From?
The history of French drains goes back to the early 19th century. The earliest versions were quite basic. They were ditches sloping from high ground to low areas, filled with gravel to help water flow.
The idea of French drains began in America, but it was Henry Flagg French (1813–1885), a lawyer and Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary from Massachusetts, who not only described these drainage systems but also popularized them in his work Farm Drainage in 1859. Over time, specialized drain tiles with perforations (pipes with holes) were developed, making these drains more effective in managing water.
Fast forward to the 1942 flood in Washington, D.C., and the concept of French drains got a modern makeover by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who were inspired by Henry French’s ideas. This shaped the French drain systems we use today.
French Drain Installation for Basement Waterproofing
Now, let’s get into how French drains are installed to keep your basement dry:
Drainage Holes Formation
It all starts with making holes in the blocks touching your basement floor. These holes are placed to let excess water flow out. They are set up in a way that allows water to flow into the drain system.
Mira Drain Attachment
Mira drain, a special drainage fabric, gets attached over these holes. This fabric acts like a filter, connecting the holes to the drainage system under the floor. It keeps out dirt and debris while letting water through.
With the floor prepped, it is time to dig a trench where the mud guard goes. The mud guard is a key part of the French drain system, stopping soil and debris from clogging the pipe. It connects to the sump pit, ensuring water flows in a smooth manner.
Once the trench is ready, the next step is laying down the pipe. This pipe sits on top of the mud guard and serves as the main route for moving water from the holes in the blocks to the sump pit. This is a critical part of the process because it directs water away from your foundation.
Sump Pit and Pump
In the ground, you install a sump pit. This pit collects extra water and has a pump that sends that water out of your basement. A big pipe in the sump pit connects to the French drain. It is like a secret path water follows to reach the sump pit. Inside the pit, there is also a smaller pipe with a bobber. When the water level gets to a certain point, the bobber triggers the pump, turning it on. The pump’s job is to remove the collected water and move it away from your home.
To make the drainage system even better, crushed stones are spread over the trench. These stones act like a natural filter, stopping mud and debris from getting into the pipe. Instead, they let water flow into the sump pit.
Parging & Roughcasting
With the French drain system in place, you finish up by covering the walls and floor. The walls involve parging and roughcasting in which a vapor barrier is put to keep moisture out. Then, you add wire mesh and concrete. At last, you apply a finishing coat called a sponge coat to complete the process. The floor also gets concretized at the end.
Exterior Basement Waterproofing
To keep water from sneaking in, you also need to work on the outside of your foundation. In general, this means adding a layer of concrete and sealing it with tar. You also dig a trench around the foundation where the French drain is set up to steer water away from your home. This gets covered with crushed stones, just like we do inside for interior basement waterproofing.
Why Choose Basement Gurus for Basement Waterproofing?
With over 30 years of waterproofing experience and a commitment to excellence, we have earned our reputation as the go-to choice for basement waterproofing. Here are our strong points:
Over $2 Million in Protection for Your Home (All Workers Trained and Background Checked!)
We take your home’s safety with seriousness. We invest a lot in protection and make sure all our workers are background-checked. When you choose Basement Gurus, you are selecting a company that treats your home as its own.
5-star Rating Online & A+ BBB Rating
Our track record says it all. We hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we have been making our customers happy for over 30 years. Our 5-star Google reviews and A rating on Angie’s List (now Angi) show our strong commitment to customer satisfaction.
Thumbtack Top Pro & Elite Service Provider
Basement Gurus’ top-notch service has been recognized by Thumbtack as a Top Pro for 2020-2021, a recognition only achieved by 4% of professionals. We have also earned the Elite Service Provider status on Home Advisor, boasting an impressive 4.9 rating, which highlights our dedication to quality service.
24-Hour On-Call Service Department
Emergencies can happen at any time, and Basement Gurus is ready to help. With our 24-hour on-call service, we send a technician to your location within 8 business hours or less. Our commitment to a quick response sets us apart.
Basement Gurus vs. Other Basement Waterproofing Companies
We stand out in several ways:
- Guaranteed Fast Service
- Professional & Trained Technicians
- Large Community Company
- Top-quality Pipes
Other waterproofing companies may not offer the same level of service. Some rely on answering services, have sub-contractors, or may disappear when the weather clears. It is important to choose a company that prioritizes your home’s safety, like Basement Gurus.
Additional Benefits of Choosing Basement Gurus
Superior System for Superior Results
Our superior system at the footer level outperforms traditional floor and cove systems.
Negative Air Machine
We prioritize your health with air quality protection during the job with our negative air machine.
We ensure dust and debris removal for a cleaner work environment through our electric tools.
We are COVID-safe, and EAA-registered and certified for your safety.
Deliberate Water Testing
We pump hundreds of gallons of water into your basement to test our system’s effectiveness.
A Comprehensive Range of Additional Services
- Threshold Drain for Doorways
- Clean Outs Offered at Customer’s Request
- Exterior ABT Drain for Driveways
- Oil Tank Wraps
- Ceiling Encapsulation
- Crack Repair Services
- Mold, Mildew, Bacteria, and Fungus Solutions
Satisfaction and Our Workmanship
Basement Gurus is all about being open and keeping you satisfied. That’s why we offer the following guarantees:
Lifetime Money-Back Guarantee
If we can’t stop water from getting into your basement or it becomes a problem in the future, we will refund the cost of our services.
Lifetime Transferable Warranty
All our installed products and materials come with lifetime manufacturer warranties, so you are covered if any equipment fails.
Reach us for your basement waterproofing needs. Don’t settle for less; choose the basement waterproofing experts who treat your home like their own.
In a nutshell, understanding and dealing with basement waterproofing is necessary to protect your home’s foundation and boost its long-term value. By grasping how water gets into your basement, the importance of basement waterproofing, and the evolution of effective solutions like French drains, you can make informed decisions about protecting your investment. Basement Gurus, with its wealth of experience, outstanding reputation, and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction, stands as a reliable choice for the integrity of your basement. We offer a comprehensive range of services, backed by lifetime guarantees, to provide you with a secure and dry living space. Reach out to us now and take the proactive step towards a resilient and waterproof basement.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and please stay tuned for more such blogs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is basement waterproofing needed?
Basement waterproofing is necessary because it protects your home from flooding, mold, and water damage, preserving its value and making the space safe and usable. It is a valuable investment that increases your property’s worth and prevents a possible 25% or more decrease in home value due to basement water problems. Waterproofing maintains your home’s equity and provides a wise long-term financial solution.
What is the purpose of basement waterproofing?
Basement waterproofing is a process aimed at making the basement resistant to water and moisture. It involves various techniques and materials to prevent water from seeping into the basement, such as sealing cracks, adding drainage systems, and applying special coatings or membranes. This protection not only prevents flooding but also safeguards against mold damage, giving you a dry, usable, and secure space.
How does water come inside basements?
Water comes inside due to factors like heavy rainfall and hydrostatic pressure. In areas with high moisture in the soil, it is easy for water to seep in. When the ground becomes soaked in water, it results in hydrostatic pressure on basement walls and floors, and then water finds its way into the basement through cracks, joints, or the foundation’s spongy parts.
What are the key challenges associated with waterproofing stone foundations, and how can they be addressed effectively?
The primary challenge with waterproofing stone foundations is the deterioration of mortar, allowing water infiltration. To address this, conduct a comprehensive inspection to identify gaps and fill them from both interior and exterior sides. Exterior waterproofing systems can also help divert water away from the foundation.
Why are cinderblock foundations more susceptible to moisture infiltration, and what methods can be used to waterproof them?
Cinderblock foundations are vulnerable to moisture due to their hollow nature. To waterproof them, consider a method known as Wall Pins, involving rebar and concrete within the hollow cores. It is important to consult with experts for this process.
What are the common leakage points in concrete foundations, and what are the recommended repair techniques for settlement cracks?
Common leakage points in concrete foundations include the cover joint and settlement cracks. Settlement cracks can be repaired by excavating from the exterior and using methods like epoxy injection, hydraulic cement, and, in some cases, the installation of a French drain system.
How do French drains work, and why are they important for basement waterproofing?
French drains are underground drainage systems designed to manage excess water and prevent flooding in areas like basements. They consist of well-placed holes in the foundation walls, a drainage fabric (Mira drain) to filter out debris, a trench with a mud guard, a pipe to transport water to a sump pit, and crushed stones to aid drainage. French drains are important for directing water away from your home’s foundation and preventing potential damage.
Why do I choose Basement Gurus for basement waterproofing?
Basement Gurus stands out as the best choice for basement waterproofing due to over 30 years of waterproofing experience, a commitment to excellence, and a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction. We invest in protection for your home, provide 24-hour on-call service, have high ratings online, and offer a range of additional services to address various needs, including mold solutions, crack repair, and more. The best part is that we also offer guarantees like a lifetime money-back guarantee and transferable warranties for your assurance. So contact us now and get the desired results!