Basement Waterproofing Sealer Explained

concrete floor

Routine basement waterproofing is recommended for securing the basement against moisture. Structural damage to the basement from moisture seepage and related problems like mold development are the most common basement-maintenance issues.

Waterproofing sealers are also called masonry sealers. They are commonly available at hardware supply stores. Read the following to understand waterproofing sealers.

Understanding Waterproofing Sealer Requirement

Concrete is naturally porous to a certain extent because microscopic pores are present throughout the concrete surface. These pores absorb water through a slow but sustained process called capillary action.

Sometimes, a white layer forms on damaged basement surfaces. These lime deposits are formed due to reactions among the mineral content of the concrete mix and the moisture.

Water seepage via capillary action is hard-to-detect without professional help. Even basement walls with exterior waterproofing treatments are vulnerable to these damaging chemical reactions.

Concrete has a pH over 9, making it highly alkaline in nature. When moisture seeps for a sustained period of time, the dissolved alkalis stimulate chemical reactions that eat into the concrete surface. That can be understood as chemical weathering of the concrete surface.

Waterproof coatings, applied when painting the walls, cannot withstand this reaction and start peeling-away. Waterproofing sealers neutralize the alkalinity. Thus, using an effective waterproofing sealer is the only way to safeguard your basement.

Waterproofing Sealer Basics

All waterproofing sealers are a synthetic mixes that can bind across a wide range of materials. Once dry, the sealer forms an insulating layer that is impermeable and withstands harsh weather conditions. Usually, the sealer is retailed in plastic cans.

The packaged instructions include the ideal manner of applying the sealer. Most sealers need to be applied in multiple coatings. The entire process is slow and required patience.

A fresh coating is applied only when the earlier one has dried. Waterproofing sealers have a density that is similar to wall paints; therefore, they can be easily applied using a paintbrush or a paint roller.

Some masonry sealers are expensive because they dry-out and form a smooth layer that resembles the surface of the surrounding walls. The resulting surface is also easier to paint.

Waterproofing sealers are equally effective for waterproofing new and old basements. They can be applied to the 5 main types of surfaces encountered when repairing a basement, which are concrete blocks, poured concrete, cinder blocks, block walls, and freshly-poured mortar mix.

Spray-on application sealers are also available. They are much more expensive than conventional sealers, and they don’t provide the satisfaction of applying a sealer in evenly-spread coatings. Spray-on sealers are effective for coating hard-to-reach places and for waterproofing areas you might not want to handle manually, such as mold spots.

Understanding Curing Sealer Use

Basement waterproofing sealers are often referred to as curing sealers. A curing sealer is almost identical to a conventional sealer, but it is suited for a particular type of waterproofing.

Newly-installed concrete slabs in the basement suffer from a short-term problem that can compromise their structural integrity due to continuous evaporation from the pores in the wet concrete-mix. This form of water evaporation can often last up to a few days.

Continuous evaporation of water creates a stress against the walls of the pores, stretching them permanently. This enlargement of the pores makes them susceptible to absorbing more moisture in the future, which is why curing (waterproofing) of freshly-poured concrete in the basement is vital.

The waterproofing sealer binds to the pores, slowing the evaporation. Once plugged with the sealer, the pores cannot expand beyond a minimal extent. Curing sealers are better than cheaper basement sealers like wax-based once, since they don’t harm the finished appearance of the concrete layer.