Waterproofing Your Basement: Dos and Don’ts

A lot of people try to waterproof their basements on their own. While you certainly can do a few things on your own, it’s a good idea to also have Boston waterproofers available to call when you need it done right! 

Most DIY waterproofing solutions are designed to be short-term temporary fixes. They might tide you over for a little bit. Once you get that DIY solution in place, you should start planning for professional waterproofing as a long-term solution. 

If you decide to go ahead and waterproof on your own, check out these simple Dos and Don’ts to help you out along the way. 

Why Waterproof a Basement? 

Basements are built underneath homes, making them below-ground. The ground at those levels is heavily saturated. It’s a storage place for water. The ground around your basement holds plenty of water and it’s up to you to try to keep it out! 

When you notice little signs like water on the walls or around the window and doors, this is a sign that you need to take action. Other signs might include puddles around the basement or flooding when it rains. 

You don’t want to promote water or even humidity in the basement. Sometimes, simple actions like dehumidifiers and even proper pumping or drainage can make a significant difference. 

Waterproofing a basement will help to keep the water out. The goal is to prevent water from finding its way inside, or at least to significantly reduce the moisture. Basements don’t have to be dank, moist areas. 

Things to Do When Waterproofing

There are several great things you can do when you want to waterproof the basement. There are also things to avoid. We will cover those things to avoid here shortly, but let’s start with some things you can and should do. 

Determine the Source of Moisture

The best place to start is to figure out where moisture is coming from. Are there cracks in the walls or perhaps around windows and other frames? Are you noticing beads of moisture or even puddles in specific areas? 

Knowing where the moisture is coming from will give you a better direction of what you can do to waterproof that space. 

The basement typically tattles on itself. In most cases, it will be pretty clear where the water is coming from, and then you can act accordingly. If the water seems to be from humidity, there are things you can do for that as well. 

Fill in Cracks

You should plan to fill cracks, whether they are in the walls or in the basement floors. Hydraulic cement is a product that most Boston waterproofers will recommend. There are other similar materials you can use to fill in cracks. Check with a local professional and see what they recommend or if they have a product available. 

A crack doesn’t necessarily mean someone did something wrong with building the basement. Over time, foundations settle and move, and this can lead to cracks in the concrete. 

The best thing you can do is find the appropriate material and fill in and then seal those cracks. Just follow the instructions for the filler that you use. It’s typically not too difficult to accomplish. 

Waterproof Coatings

A waterproof coating application can be helpful for DIY waterproofing solutions. This is not a perfect solution, and keep in mind it is short-term. However, using a waterproof sealant could help in your basement. 

These sealants are painted onto the walls or the floors of your basement. They are designed to seal material by filling in the porous holes. They can even be found in paint form. You will apply the sealant using a roller or similar tool. You just need to be sure to apply a thick layer to seep into the porous materials effectively. 

Things to Avoid When Waterproofing

Now let’s talk about the don’ts. These are almost just as important as the dos. In fact, if you ignore some of these things, you will find that your efforts elsewhere could easily fail. 

Don’t Overlook Drainage

Your water problems could just be the result of improper drainage in the basement. You can accommodate drainage with things like indoor French drain systems or a sump pump. 

If the basement can’t effectively drain the water away from the home, the water is just going to keep invading your space. 

You will need a professional Boston waterproofer to help with drainage needs, but we can help you make the best choice for your basement. 

Don’t Seal Over Paint

One of the most common mistakes that people make when they add a sealant to their basement is they just apply it to the surface without following the required steps first. If you have paint, coatings, or anything else on that surface, it has to be removed first. 

Those sealants and coatings need a bare surface to really absorb into the pores and efficiently coat the surface to help waterproof the area. Part of the process to apply them is to remove any coatings or paint that’s already there and thoroughly clean the area. 

Don’t Work in Standing Water

When you’re ready to waterproof, you need to make sure there isn’t water already hanging around. This is for safety purposes. It’s important that you remove any water before you start working to avoid hazards while you work. 

Don’t Forget Windows!

When you’re looking for the source of water, you probably are more focused on things like cracks and maybe your drainage system. One of the most common culprits for water in the basement is actually the window wells. 

If you have windows or a window well, be sure to inspect it thoroughly. In this case, you should look for signs of seeping water into that space. 

You can seal around the windows, but you might also need to consider that there is improper drainage causing water to settle in the window well when it shouldn’t. This fix might be as simple as making sure there are drains and gutters to move water away, but you might also need to seal around the window as well. 

Success with Waterproofing

If you’re looking for a simple and immediate fix, you should be able to use these dos and don’ts to help get you covered. Remember that your DIY waterproofing solutions are meant to help keep water out for short periods of time. 

Long-term solutions and more complicated needs should be handled by a professional waterproofing company. They have the knowledge and the equipment to adequately waterproof your basement for the long haul.  

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