8 Tips to Waterproofing a Basement 8 Tips to Waterproofing a Basement

Waterproofing a basement can be a daunting task. You can help your chances of success by addressing some of the frequent underlying causes of a damp basement. Below are some tips to follow:

1. Find the Cause

If you’re not sure whether the cause of a wet basement is external or internal, there is a simple way to find out. Take a roll of aluminum foil from your kitchen, cut out a square about 12 inches in size, then choose an exterior basement wall that is showing dampness. Attach the aluminum to the wall using duct tape around the edges. Leave for a couple of days. When removing the aluminum, if the side against the wall is wet, then your basement is suffering from water seepage from outside. If the inner-facing side of the aluminum is wet then your basement suffers from condensation.

2. Insulate Water Pipes

If your basement suffers from condensation, cool surfaces will be a source for attracting moisture. When waterproofing a basement, insulate water pipes and ensure good ventilation to create good air flow. In the summer time, use air conditioning as a dehumidifier. In winter, turn on heating to help dry the room.

3. Remove Plants

If your basement suffers from seepage problems, thick shrubbery or other large plants gathered around the walls can make the problem worse by not allowing sunlight and air to reach the walls. The solution is to thin out or remove such plants to allow circulation of air to provide ventilation and sunlight to dry the walls.

4. Clean Roof Rain Gutters

Waterproofing a basement does not only involve working below. Remember to always have roof rain gutters cleared at least once a year. Downspouts from gutters should not be allowed to cause water to collect around the basement walls. If this is a problem, consider extending the downspout outlet to several feet away from the walls.

5. Get Rid of Mold

If you need to get rid of mold or mildew before waterproofing a basement, try this technique. Fill a garden sprayer with a gallon of water and mix in ¾ cup of bleach. Before using the spray, you should prepare by donning old clothing, putting on goggles and if possible, use a mouth and nose mask. Spray the affected area with the mix. To remove the mildew, you will need to wipe it off with a rag or use a scrubbing brush.

6. Keep Doors Closed

After waterproofing a basement, keep the doors and windows of your basement closed whenever possible. You may be tempted to allow outside air to flow through, but humid conditions in summer will increase condensation, and rainfall in winter will introduce further dampness.

7. Use Waterproof Paint

Painting the basement walls with specialized paint can help reduce problems of exterior water seepage. You should choose waterproofing paint rather than water-repellent paint. Water-repellent paint is for exterior use and will only temporarily repel rainwater. Waterproofing paint is designed to prevent hydrostatic seepage of water under pressure. It can be used on both exterior and interior walls.

8. Check for Holes

Look outside the basement area for holes or channels in the ground. These can become water traps, which encourage water to seep down and into your basement walls. Take action by filling in these holes firmly with soil.  Make sure that rain water will flow away from the walls. If necessary, fill holes with concrete or cement.

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