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How to Waterproof Your Basement

March 8, 2023

If your basement has suffered water damage, you are not alone.  Statistics show 98% of basements will experience some sort of water damage.  Household water damage costs up to $20 billion annually, and 14.6 million homes are at risk of flooding.  Here’s how to waterproof your basement from the outside.

How Water Enters Basements

There are several  ways water can seep into your basement and cause a mess. Here are a few of them to look out for.

Foundation Leaks

Wall cracks are the most common source of seepage in basements with a poured concrete foundation.  They are usually caused by stress, settling or shrinkage during the concrete’s curing process.  Most cracks are hairline ones and are relatively easy to fix.

Floor Seepage

Seepage from the floor happens often, especially during heavy downpours.  Water gets in through cracks in the basement floor and the cove joint.  Sealing the cracks isn’t recommended.  You are best off having an interior drain tile system installed.   It drains the water that has collected beneath the floor and directs it to a sump pump.

Sump Pump Issues

Sump pumps don’t always work as they should.  If you suspect problems, contact a professional for an inspection.

Water in Window Wells

If there’s too much water in the window well, it can easily leak through the window frame and into your basement.  Leaves and other debris can easily clog the drain, allowing water to build up.  As soon as the weather conditions allow, remove the water from the well.  This can be done with a wet/dry vacuum or a pump. You might want to consider buying a custom window well cover. 

Uneven Grading

If your home isn’t properly graded, water can easily seep into your basement.  Make sure the ground is sloped away from your home. If you live on flat land, make sure the grading doesn’t extend above the top of the foundation.  If it does, water can access your basement through cracks in the mortar.

Waterproofing Essentials

Before you start doing a waterproofing project in your basement, there are some basic steps you can take to make the job easier.

Clean the area you will be waterproofing. Remove any existing coatings on surfaces. Many waterproofing products won’t work unless they are applied directly to the foundation.  Plug holes and large cracks with hydraulic cement. Seal smaller cracks with filler. Use caulk to seal openings in doors, windows, and window wells. Once you are done sealing, put a waterproof coating on your basement surfaces.

Protect Your Basement

There’s no doubt that water can wreak havoc if it gets into your basement. Here are some tips that will help keep the water away.

Maintain the foundation by sealing up any cracks. Gutters that have proper downspouts and extensions will steer water away from your home’s foundation.  Make sure they are free of debris.  Locate downspouts at least six feet away from your home to stop water from collecting.  Install a sump pump to get water out of your basement. Control condensation by insulating pipes and walls.  Reduce the humidity level with a dehumidifier.

Let Us Clean Up the Mess

When it comes to home disasters,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.


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