5 Elements of a Basement Waterproofing Solution
Do you have a basement that leaks every time it rains? Water in the basement can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and cause damage to any valuables you have stored in your basement. An effective basement waterproofing solution is the answer to your wet basement nightmares.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple...
No two basement waterproofing problems are exactly the same. There are many different ways that water could be getting into your basement. And there are different methods for keeping the water out. So how do you choose the right waterproofing solution and contractor when making this crucial investment in your home?
What is the most effective way to waterproof a basement?
We've put together a summary of the main elements of an effective basement waterproofing system and the features to look for when choosing the right solution for your home's needs.
First, we've included an infographic summarizing everything you need to know.
Waterproofing Solutions Every Homeowner Needs to Keep Their Basement Dry
- Drainage System
- Sump Pump
- Basement Windows
- Gutters & Downspouts
- Interior vs Exterior Drainage Systems
1. Drainage System
When choosing a drainage system for the basement, look for these features:
- Patented or proven interior drainage
- Non-clogging design
- Integrated with a sump pump
- Transferable warranty
2. Sump Pump
You want to ensure that your sump pump is going to work and be able to keep up, especially during heavy rain. An effective sump pump should have the following features:
- Cast-iron body
- Can pump 1/2" diameter solids
- Mechanical float switch (more reliable)
- Alarm system and battery backup option
- Non-clogging discharge lines
- Airtight lid to prevent evaporation
Not all dehumidifiers are created equal. When it comes to controlling the humidity level in the basement, you need a unit that's designed specifically for high-moisture areas. Some features to look for when choosing a basement dehumidifier include:
- Automatic shut-off
- High capacity
- Air filtering to protect against allergens and mold spores
4. Basement Windows
No basement windows are completely waterproof. But there are ways to prevent water from leaking into the basement through the windows while letting more light in.
- Watertight windows
- Light-maximizing window wells
- Window well covers to keep out rainwater and debris
5. Gutters & Downspouts
A dry basement starts outside the home. Proper drainage around the foundation is necessary. There are a few simple solutions to make sure rainwater doesn't end up inside the basement:
- Clean, working gutters
- Downspout extensions that can channel rainwater at least 3 feet away from the foundation
6. Interior versus Exterior Drainage Systems
Basements get wet. Groundwater seeps in through porous concrete walls and floors. Rain leaks through rusty windows. Water vapor condenses on pipes and appliances. Plumbing leaks happen. Dark or white stains on walls are sometimes the only signs of moisture issues.
The goal of modern basement waterproofing is to keep the basement dry by addressing sources of water intrusion. There are two major approaches to water management: interior drainage and exterior drainage. Below are the major pros and cons of each basement waterproofing method.
- Addresses all sources of water intrusion
- Installation is less expensive, faster and safer
- No disruption to landscape and plantings
- Doesn't address clogged gutters and poorly graded yards to the extent these contribute to the water issue
- It's always a good idea to address these issues to minimize water intrusion
- Stops water from entering the basement
- Best for new construction
- Installation is more expensive, takes longer
- Risks with digging 8-foot trenches around foundation
- Excavation disrupts yard, plantings, walkways
- Limited protection: does not address water vapor coming through walls, interior condensation, plumbing leaks
- Clogging risk from soils, roots
The bottom line: An effective basement waterproofing solution is one that is customized to the specific issues of the home.