Should I Put Waterproofing Paint on My Basement Walls?

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Whether to put waterproofing paint on basement walls is a question that many homeowners may have to ask. The basement can be extra living space or a place to store out-of-season or out-of-use items, if it can remain dry. Basements often are not included in the overall taxable square footage of the house for this very reason. Nowadays, homeowners are looking for ways to maximize their property's usage, and this turns their attention to the potential that the basement has to offer.

Basement.
Basement. (Image: Tomas Skopal/iStock/Getty Images)

The Basement is the Foundation

If you suspect that water or moisture is a potential problem for your basement, then yes, you should use waterproofing paint on your basement walls. The waterproofing paint is made from an oil base, which means that water will not readily break it down.

Many of the outer walls of the basement are a part of the house's foundation. These are constructed of concrete, brick or wood. Waterproofing the walls and posts in your basement will make a watertight seal over these surfaces. The waterproofing paint will penetrate this porous concrete and wood material and then expand as it dries to form a solid surface. Interior walls in the basement may also be waterproofed to seal these walls from water damage, as well.

Walls of basement.
Walls of basement. (Image: Maciej Niemczyk/iStock/Getty Images)

Waterproofing Paint Benefits

Water in its various forms flows or condenses in the direction of gravity. That means that even in a dry environment, the moisture may travel downward to the basement. Waterproof paint will act as a general barrier to any type of moisture, whether it is seeping in through the exterior bricks or coming from the pipes.

Paint and roller.
Paint and roller. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

How to Check for Moisture

There are several signs of moisture in the basement that may make waterproofing paint an absolute necessity for your basement. Check for dampness at the lower half of the walls and look for any mold or mildew around the basement. There may even be a musty smell if these are present.

Moisture will also loosen adhesives so check for peeling paint and loose linoleum floor tiles. Moisture will cause wood and drywall to rot or become discolored. Water is corrosive, so you may notice rust on metal fixtures in the basement.

Peeling paint close up.
Peeling paint close up. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

What It Does Not Fix

Waterproofing paint does not correct the causes of moisture in the basement. If there is a section of the basement that is constantly moist or wet, then check for its underlying cause. Perhaps water is collecting along the side of the house from a broken gutter drain, or maybe the ground is not graded properly to drain away from the house.

If the moisture is coming from inside the home, check the pipes and plumbing for leaks, cracked pipes or faulty equipment, such as the hot water heater, the boiler and the washer. For major moisture problems, hire a professional to do the job right. This way, your moisture problem will be corrected for the long term.

Basement.
Basement. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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