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Basement Waterproofing: Exploring Your Options

by Kashif Raza on May 21, 2015

Every homeowner who has a basement should be aware of basement waterproofing options.  Why?  Every basement, whether in a new house or an old one, is susceptible to flooding.  By their very nature, basements are subject to the flow of water caused by heavy rainfall or melting snow. Additionally, flooding can occur from inside the house as a result of things like burst or leaky pipes.  Whatever the cause, water in the basement can wreak havoc on your home, both in terms of causing structural damage and in fostering the growth of dangerous mold and mildew in the basement.  That can cause serious health issues for your family. 

Here’s the good news:  There are lots of options when it comes to protecting your basement from water damage.  It’s always best to fortify your basement against water leaks before a flood strikes instead of trying to incorporate waterproofing into your post-flood recovery methods, but realistically that’s not always possible. 

When it comes time to waterproof your basement, there are three basic methods you can use:  internal sealants, interior water drainage methods and external waterproofing procedures.  Each method brings with it benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to get informed before hiring a contractor to waterproof your basement. 

Interior Sealants

Although not strictly a waterproof material, basement sealants are a great stop-gap measure that you can use until you can permanently address the issue with one of the other methods.  Sealants are designed to reduce the amount of humidity in the air in your basement.  In doing so, the sealant keeps the humidity (moisture) from being absorbed from the air into the walls and floors of the basement and eventually leaching to other areas of the house.

Water Drainage

Interior water drainage isn’t technically a waterproofing method either.  Instead, it is a method of dealing with basement moisture by redirecting water from the basement out through the foundation and out through the basement floor.  Sump pumps are inherently designed to do this, so if you have one in your house you can remove excess water yourself.  If you are going to do this, however, it’s always wise to have a backup drainage method in case of power outage or malfunction of the pump itself.

Exterior Waterproofing

This is one of the other ways to truly waterproof your basement.  It is recognized in the building industry as the best way to truly ensure that water is not allowed to seep into your basement and cause water damage.  Through exterior waterproofing, a sheet or membrane of plastic or vinyl is used to waterproof the walls.  These materials are very strong and long-lasting, which is one of the reasons this method of waterproofing is so preferred in the industry.

It is absolutely imperative that you ensure your home’s basement is fortified against floods and other forms of water damage.  Otherwise, you could end up having not only structural problems in your home but also the growth of dangerous mold spores, which can become airborne and cause respiratory and skin problems for your family members.  Contact a reputable waterproofing contractor today to further explore your options for waterproofing your basement.

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