DIY Basement Waterproofing Systems

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There are many basement waterproofing systems that can be implemented to prevent water from entering your basement. Some of them are simple, and some are more complicated, but all of them, either in conjunction or separately, will help keep your basement dry. If you are planning on installing your own waterproofing system, then you should know about the materials and techniques available for a successful project completion.

Systems for Fixing Cracks

  • Fix any cracks in the basement with a hydraulic cement or an epoxy basement patch. Mix the hydraulic cement thin--to the consistency of pancake batter--so that it will pour into any cracks. For walls, use epoxy cement patch, which comes in a tube about the size of toothpaste. The hydraulic cement will expand as it sets and seal any cracks completely.

Drainage Systems

  • Install 8- or 10-inch perforated pipe (french drain) along the footers of the basement wall, and cover it with gravel to prevent any buildup of water.

    Install rain gutters on the overhangs of the house. Add gutter extension pipe to the ends of the gutter and channel the water away from the basement walls. You may bury the pipe into a flower bed. Dig the flower bed down about 24 inches, fill the hole with 6 inches of gravel, lay the pipe into the gravel, cover the pipe with 6 inches of gravel and then finish with dirt sloped away from the foundation; this will ensure proper drainage of the roof water.

Sealing Systems

  • Coat the outside of the basement wall with a roll-on tar, and then cover with 1-inch rigid insulation--also called blue board--which will stick to the tar. This will prevent water infiltration and moisture buildup. Make sure that the tar covers the wall and the joint between the wall and the footer.

    Use Dry-Loc, a white paint sealer, to paint onto the interior walls of the basement. This won't stop the water from coming into the wall, but it will slow it from coming into the basement interior.

Pumping Systems

  • Add a sump pump for areas prone to water. A sump pump is a cheaper way to remove water from your basement without removing and replacing your entire basement. It won't stop the water, but it will help keep your basement dry.

References

  • Construction Waterproofing Handbook; Michael T. Kubal; 2008
  • Structural Engineer's Pocket Book; Fiona Cobb; 2004
  • Foundations and Concrete Work; Fine Homebuilding; 2003
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