Basic waterproofing for basements - InterNACHI

Posted January 03, 2018

Concerns about water damage

Basements are typically the area of ​​a structure which is at greatest risk for water damage because they are located below grade and surrounded by land. The land releases the water it has absorbed during the rain or when the snow melts, and the water can be drained in the basement by leaks and cracks. Water can even migrate through solid concrete walls via capillary absorption, which is a phenomenon through which the liquid rises spontaneously in a narrow space, such as a thin tube, or via porous materials. Wet basements can cause problems that include chipping, toxic mold contamination, building rot, foundation crumbling, and termite damage. Even indoor air quality can be affected if the naturally occurring gases released by the earth are being transmitted to the basement.

Properly waterproofing a basement will reduce the risk of damage caused by moisture or water. Owners will want to be aware of what they can do to keep their basements dry and safe from damage. Inspectors can also benefit from being aware of those basic strategies to prevent leaks and flooding.

Prevent water ingress by diverting it away from the foundation.

Preventing water from entering the basement by ensuring that it is diverted away from the foundation is of prime interest. Poor roof drainage and surface liquid residue due to gutter defects and improper site classification may be the most common cause of wet basements. Addressing those issues will go a long way toward ensuring that the water does not dare the basement.

Fix all cracks and holes.

If leaks or leaks are occurring inside the basement, it is more likely that water and moisture are entering through cracks and small holes. Cracks or holes can be the result of many things. A lack of professional skill during the original construction may be making itself apparent in the form of cracks or holes. The water pressure from the outside may be accumulating, forcing the water through the walls. The house could have been accommodated, causing cracks in the floor or walls. Fixing all cracks and small holes will help prevent leaks and flooding.

Apply the sodium silicate sealant to the walls and floor.

Once all the liquid residue has been meticulously diverted away from the foundation, and all cracks and holes have been fixed and no leak is occurring, a waterproof sealant can be applied as a final measure.

Sodium silicate is a water-based mixture that will even penetrate the substrate by up to 4 inches (10.16cm). Concrete, concrete block and masonry have lime as a natural component of their composition, which reacts with sodium silicate to produce a solid, crystalline structure, which fills all cracks, holes and microscopic pores of the substrate. No steam or water gas will be able to penetrate via capillary absorption because concrete and masonry have already become harder and denser with sodium silicate.

Diverting water away from foundations so it does not build up outside walls and basement floors is a key element in preventing flooding and water damage. In addition, ensuring that any water that is near the outside of the basement can not get in through holes or cracks is important, and sealing with a waterproof compound will also help prevent steam or water gas from penetrating. By following those procedures, the risk of water-related problems in basement interiors can be greatly reduced by protecting the building from damage such as foundation rot, mold growth, and chipping, as well as improving quality of the indoor air by blocking the transmission of the earth's gases outside.