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How to Waterproof a Basement

A simple patch-the-crack technique to get away with the water leakage in your basement is not enough. Unless you want to redo that step every single time? I know you don’t!


The answer to your water problems is to simply waterproof your basement. It will save the basement foundation from further damage, prevent water infiltration, and prolong the life of your house.

There are two main methods to avoid any water leakage in that area, and that is interior and exterior basement waterproofing. Which one is the best option? Well, it depends on your house construction and preference. First, let’s differentiate those two.

Interior Basement Waterproofing

Sump Pumps

Installing sump pumps is essential to prevent basement flooding. If your basement has water leakage, install a sump pump and a basin. Several homeowners have a network of reserve sump pumps for instances that the circuit breaker trips or the primary pump have defected. If the power goes out, a third pump will be activated as a result of the increase in the water level.

Make sure to examine if your sump pump’s discharge line has a check valve or backflow. After the pump has ceased working, the water in the pipe will not flow back into the sump pit if you have sump valves installed.

Interior Foundation Coating

Waterproofing coatings are applied by rolling or brushing on any form of masonry walls. These substances are normally white or neutral in color, although they can also be colored to match your interior design. The application process is simple and usually fast depending on the size of the project.

Most waterproofing coatings dry in less than four hours so you can add additional layers once the previous layer has dried. For leaking walls, waterproof coatings might be your last resort to regulate the moisture content on the basement foundation.

Repairing Cracks and Holes

Almost all basement leaks are caused by either cracks or holes in the walls. To seal the affected areas, here are the things you must do:

  1. Clean the holes and remove any debris.
  2. Mix the mortar with sand and water.
  3. Put the mixed mortar cement into the cracks and holes.
  4. Apply a waterproofing coating once the cement has dried.

Cementitious Waterproof Method

Cementitious waterproofing is a great option to explore if your basement is wet inside due to moisture seeping through the walls. It’s one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of moisture in your basement.

This procedure can also be used to dry out other wet spots in the house. The cementitious waterproofing substance is hard yet flexible since it is not exposed to the outside atmosphere or UV rays. There will be no contraction or expansion that will happen on your basement foundation once you applied this waterproofing option.

Sealing the Foundation Walls

An asphalt-based compound is brushed, coated, and even sometimes poured onto the exterior concrete foundation as a form of damp-proofing where all joints are overlapped to avoid water leakage.

A sprayed-on product that is equivalent to the thickness of the solid components is used in some waterproofing systems. To obtain the desired thickness, the substance is a liquid-rubber elastomeric coating that must be applied several times.

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

The best way to eliminate any water issues is to stop them from coming inside your house foundation by barricading the exterior house and lot, although it might cost more than interior basement waterproofing methods.

Gutters and Downspouts Modification

Gutter guards are essential to prevent water from leaking through your foundation. While gutters and downspouts protect your property from rainwater infiltration. Rainwater might accumulate around your foundation if your gutters are blocked and overflowing. So, make sure to get rid of any winter trash and leaves and install leaf guards.

Attach a slanted leader to each gutter and channel water for at least 10 feet away from the foundation. Downspouts, on the other hand, can direct their flow into a collective basin, either above ground or beneath

Dry Well

The runoff water must be directed to a dry well, which is an in-ground perforated tank that collects water and allows it to soak into the ground, via a solid drainage pipe. Small drainage issues can be solved using high-impact plastic dry wells, which are simple to use and very effective.

Larger precast concrete dry wells can manage higher amounts of water but it would require the use of machinery during installation. To keep dirt out of the pipe, cover it with landscape material and fill the trench with stones, allowing water to seep through the soil and into the piping system.

Punctured Pipe System

In homes without gutters, water splashing against the foundation is a regular occurrence. In this case, a collection system should be installed at the roof’s drop line. Put a punctured pipe angled toward a dry well or an outlet pipe in a V-shaped trench in the soil and top it with thick plastic.

Slope Grading

It’s also a good idea to regrade the area around your house. Remove any vegetation and carefully build up the soil to properly slope your lot. Start 10 feet away from your house, and slope at least five inches downhill at an incline of at least 14 inches per foot. Gradually rake in the ground until the lot’s perimeter has the highest grade.

Surface Drainage System

A lot with a high sand or silt content benefits from surface drainage. In most cases, the surface system consists of swales, which are shallow open trenches that connect to one or more dry wells that drain into a large drainage trench excavated in the lot’s lowest side. The most efficient approach to absorb and carry away excess water on the ground’s surface is to use open trenches.

French Drainage System

Several French drains convey water from poorly drained regions to a deep runoff trench dug in the house’s lowest corner, which is connected to collection pipes and a deep runoff trench dug in the yard’s lowest corner. The bases of hills, along retaining walls, or any other area where water tends to collect are good areas to install French drains.

How Much Does It Cost to Waterproof a Basement?

Here is a table based on the average minimum cost to waterproof a basement. Note that these data vary on your location, house construction, and preferences.

MethodEstimated Minimum Cost
Slope grading50
Downspouts modification$20
Gutter extension$15/foot
French drain installation$22/foot
Interior basement waterproofing180

Now that you learned the different ways to waterproof a basement. Now, it’s time to choose any of these methods that will work the best for you.

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