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How to Waterproof Your Basement Walls 

Preventive measures are key to protecting your home’s health and safety. This means starting with reliability from the ground up or even below ground in your basement.

It’s time to act when you notice wall cracks and leaks, among other damage. Part of the solution involves waterproofing basement walls, but this isn’t something you can DIY.

Here are steps that you can take to waterproof your basement walls and how partnering with Indiana Foundation Service ensures lasting repair and protection.  

The Dos and Don’ts of Basement Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing can be a complex undertaking, which is why do-it-yourself installation is not the answer. In this section, we highlight other projects we don’t recommend, as well as actions we do encourage. Let’s start with the list of “don’ts” first:

Don’ts

Don’t Just Use Waterproofing Paint 

Waterproofing paint is marketed as a simple solution for basement wall leakage. This may make sense to the untrained eye, but what you may find after applying the paint is it has the opposite effect on your basement. Waterproof paint won’t actually stop the source of the leak, but instead cover it up and insulate it between the wall and the thick layer of paint. You may notice bubbling behind the paint, or the paint sweating after a certain period of time. If you want to effectively waterproof your basement, targeting the issue at the source is your best course of action. 

Don’t Just Caulk or Fill Cracks 

Hairline cracks, or cracks that are roughly less than .003 inches in width, can be easily concealed without a real concern for the structure of your home. But when cracks grow to be wider than that, you’re dealing with a structural issue that can’t be fixed with epoxy. While it’s widely marketed that sealing these cracks is the quickest fix, the cracks eventually reappear as your home continues to settle or as the soil around your home continues to inflict hydrostatic pressure.  

Don’t Ignore Window Well Leaks 

Window well leaks can be an alarming issue in your basement that progress over time. During cold winters and spring snowmelt, a fully functioning window well and egress window are essential. While it may seem common or natural for these leaks to occur, you need to take action as soon as you can.

DO

Remove Mold and Water Before Waterproofing

Mold is an airborne substance that can spread rapidly in the right conditions. When it’s allowed to intensify in your basement, it can have negative effects on environmental factors like the sight and smell of the space. It can also impact your health, and you may notice increased allergy symptoms or difficulty breathing.  

Before beginning the waterproofing process, pump water out and then have the mold removed by a remediation specialist. This allows for a clean slate and ensures that waterproofing solutions aren’t applied atop wet walls or mold.  

Waterproof Before You Finish Your Basement 

It’s understandable to feel eager to finish your basement so you can turn it into the game room or extra living space of your dreams. However, without any structural or water management solutions applied beforehand, your hard work may be at the mercy of Mother Nature and the soil around your basement.  

The potential issues you could face are wet and moldy carpet, leaking from your walls or cove joints, and other mold growth.  

Hire a Waterproofing Expert 

While it’s tempting to DIY your basement waterproofing solutions, what you may find in stores and online tutorials are mostly temporary solutions. Since online resources aren’t in your home with you, they may not be able to help you accurately diagnose your basement’s true issues. You may run into a similar issue if you decide to hire a general contractor who may not be privy to basement-specific issues.  

With a specialized basement and foundation company like Indiana Foundation Service, you can trust that your basement issues will be properly diagnosed. Even if you aren’t dealing with any basement leakage, a basement specialist assesses the space and provides a customized solution for you. 

What Professionals Can Do for Your Basement Walls  

When you go with professional basement repair, you’re making the choice that your basement will thank you for years to come. Solutions such as vapor barriers, interior drainage systems, and more, all work to stop the root cause of your basement wall cracks and leaks instead of just covering them up. By targeting your home’s structural problems, and implementing permanent water management, you can trust that your basement will last for life.  

  • Wall Vapor Barriers: At Indiana Foundation Service, we provide only the best quality products. This includes our wall vapor barrier that outperforms popular alternatives. At its thickest point, it’s 12-mil. This solution works to seal your basement and aids in tamping down excess moisture and even temperatures. 
  • Wall Braces: When you’re dealing with wall cracks, there’s a real structural issue at hand, set into motion by heavy soil and water-filled walls. Our wall braces give your foundation walls the extra support they need to actively hold up the rest of your living space. They also can potentially straighten cracking and bowing basement walls.
  • Interior Drainage: Our innovative BasementGutter™ system is a clog-free interior drain that intercepts basement leaks. It’s a drain that’s settled in an interior frame filled with drainage stones. This type of drainage system is extremely popular because of how simple it is for companies like ours to help you maintain. 
  • Sump Pumps: A sump pump works with your interior drainage system and redirects water collected by the drains far away from your basement. This comes in handy during heavy rainstorms when you will need it the most. A battery-powered backup sump pump is also vital, as severe thunderstorms or heavy snowstorms can cut out your power right when you need a sump pump the most. 
  • Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers are vital to a healthy environment in your basement. They not only aid in regulating safe humidity levels but also create cleaner air for you and your family.  

What YOU Can Do to Aid Basement Waterproofing  

While waterproofing basement walls and your basement as a whole are tasks best left to professionals, there are some other measures you can implement around your home to prevent damage.

flowers

1. Strategically Planting Flowerbeds 

Planting too close means you’ll have to water the soil right on top of your basement almost daily. This isn’t good practice for maintaining a decently dry basement, as the water will swell, then apply hydrostatic pressure on your basement walls. Placing flower beds further away from your home can ensure that you are still maintaining a beautiful garden, but not at the expense of your home.  

man checking gutters

2. Manage Your Gutters 

Your gutters are the first line against water infiltrating your basement. Without gutters or with broken gutters, water pools around your foundation and trails into your basement. This perpetuates puddling, leakage, and other nasty problems in your basement. While they’re an indirect protector, they’re still vital to the health of your whole basement.  

downspout dumping water next to foundation

3. Ensure Correct Yard Grading 

Positive yard grading is when your home is built on the highest point in your property’s landscape. If it’s built at a lower point, then water will drain down toward the foundation one way or another. When this happens, your basement is more susceptible to leakage. It’s recommended to have your yard graded at least at a two to five percent slope. If this isn’t a possibility for you, you can use catch basins to collect rainwater and drain it away from your foundation and basement.  

Indiana Foundation Service is Your Partner in Basement Waterproofing

Your basement, your decision. Your home, your greatest asset. No company understands that more than Indiana Foundation Service. That’s why when it comes to waterproofing your basement walls, we are transparent with you every step of the way. From providing a completely free inspection of your basement walls and home to offering you a free and no-pressure quote for services, we’ll be walking step by step with you through the entire process.  

Discover the possibilities that will add safety and comfort to your basement, today.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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