Five Approaches for Waterproofing Your Basement

Approach 1: Install Proper Gutters and Downspouts and Correct Grading

Many basement water issues can be resolved by correcting the grading of the land around your home. In doing this, you will be rerouting the runoff to go away from your foundation. By adding extenders to your home gutters and downspouts, you will further the distance that the water ends from your home. This step should always be performed before any below ground remedies are implemented since this could resolve your water issues.

Approach 2: Exterior Drainage System

The most costly, but also the most effective water control approach is to install an exterior drainage waterproofing system. The team will dig around your entire home and rebuild it. This is very similar to building the foundation of a new home. This will involve the disruption of any obstacles that may interfere with the digging and building process. Normally, insulation is installed at the same time as digging.

A type of free-draining sand will be used in the backfill process. Additionally, drain tile is installed either beside or on top of the home’s footings. There should be a minimum of 12 inches of coarse aggregate placed around the tile. If you are looking to save a few dollars and hauling in sand or rock to use as backfill, you can install a drainage mat. It is placed against the foundation and then you can backfill with any soil of your choosing. The last required element of this solution is installing a drainage system that can pump the water to the exterior of the home. This needs to be airtight with a childproof cover on it.

Approach 3: Interior Drainage Channel above the Concrete Slab

When you have water entering the basement, it is the most common practice to install a drainage channel at the base of the wall and the slab floor. This will collect the water and drain it into a sump pump. Installation of this type of system is recommended for homes that have cracks in the concrete walls of the basement. It will not solve the water issues in homes with masonry walls. This is due to the water still being trapped in the cores of the blocks at the floor level.  Because the water is only drained to the top of the slab, this can be a problem.

This system does not eliminate all of the water from the space, and in time will promote the growth of mold and mildew and a musty odor will be present. This is the result of groundwater not being drained from under the slab, only on top.

Approach 4: Interior Drainage Channel within the Slab Edge

Installing a drainage channel at the base of the wall on top of the footings is yet another solution. This requires the team to remove and replace concrete on the edge of the slab. This installation is recommended for those with block walls due to the water being completely drained from the cores of the masonry blocks.

A drainage channel is attached to a drain pipe that is connected to the sump pump. A hole will be drilled at the base of every block to enable the drainage. It is also necessary to cap the blocks on the top side and install a water-vapor retardant to block any further water from getting into your basement walls.

Approach 5: Interior Drainage System Beneath the Slab

Installing a perforated drain pipe inside the perimeter of the footings is the most effective solution to your basement water problems. This install also involves removing and replacing concrete at the edge of the slab. By installing this waterproofing system, you are allowing the water to drain at a lower level.

As with the exterior system, the drainage pipe connects to a sump pump. An absolute must to making this system work correctly is the installation of dimpled plastic sheeting that is placed at the base of the wall and beneath the edge of the slab. The sheeting is similar to an egg crate and allows the free drainage of the water into a drainage pipe. It is a less expensive solution than some of the more specialized channel systems. It is recommended that this system is used in combination with an active soil gas management system that is connected to a sump pump and perimeter drain pipe.