It only makes logical sense, to somebody who hasn’t done or at least seen exterior waterproofing work done, that in some cases sealing the basement off from the exterior would actually be the best way to keep water from accumulating on the interior. Of course, modern techniques have evolved to successfully waterproof a basement within on the interior. However, there are still some benefits to protecting the basement from the exterior, especially porches. Here are just a few benefits you might not have thought of.
Porches are almost always located against the wall. This means that when a foundation wall (also called the exterior wall of your home) is cracked or has weak spots in it, then water can accumulate between the interior and exterior walls of your home. Even if you don’t have an interior leak or perhaps just a few spots here and there, water can still get behind the drywall on the interior. This can result in mold or mildew developing in your house and/or make the condition of your home look much worse than it really is. Basement waterproofing prevents this by creating a barrier that keeps the soil in between the interior of the house and the exterior wall dry.
Basement waterproofing also has another benefit: it stops the basement walls from becoming useless. If water is able to get behind the drywall on the interior walls of your home, then your basement is unusable. You can’t put in storage in the basement, you can’t entertain in it, and you certainly can’t use it as a family recreation room or a place to go for weekends. The cost of fixing the basement and all the damage it causes to the interior of your home far outweigh the cost of purchasing a home with leaky interior drain tile.
Now that we’ve defined basement waterproofing, let’s discuss what types of waterproofing systems are available. Most systems consist of two elements. One is an interior drainage system that captures and diverts excess water away from your home. The other element is a waterproof membrane applied to the interior foundation wall. These systems are very effective at keeping groundwater from penetrating your foundation wall and penetrating the interior of your home through the soil.
Exterior Drain Tile As a basement waterproofing system, exterior drain tile is a very effective method of keeping groundwater and surface water from penetrating the interior of your home and damaging your foundation wall. This type of system consists of a thick plastic membrane that collects water from the ground and diverts it away from your home. There are several benefits to this type of system. One of the primary benefits is that it is very effective at keeping soil from moving towards your home, which decreases the risk of foundation damage. Another benefit is that this type of system can save you a significant amount of money on excavating your foundation wall.
Exterior Ventilation System A basement waterproofing membrane is only effective if it is properly installed and if it is properly maintained on a yearly basis. In order for this type of system to be most effective, it must be connected to a vapor barrier in order to prevent moisture from the soil from entering your home through the walls and into the home through the vents. In order for the vapor barrier to be effective, it must be poured directly on top of the soil surrounding the foundation wall. The exterior waterproofing membrane is then connected to the concrete foundation wall. When done correctly, the waterproofing membrane will be able to keep groundwater and surface water from penetrating your home and causing water damage.
Exterior Drain Tile If you have a basement waterproofing system in place but are noticing excess groundwater and surface water from penetrating your home, an exterior waterproofing membrane might be needed. An exterior waterproofing membrane can be used along with an external crack sealant or crack zipper (see below) to prevent excess groundwater and seepage from reaching your basement. To install an exterior waterproofing membrane, the home owner should excavate around the foundation wall and secure the soil with steel headers and concrete footers. A series of holes will need to be drilled into the soil. After the soil is excavated, it should be leveled and then filled with either loose gravel or a silt wad. After the gravel is in place, a waterproofing membrane should be installed.
Basement Crack Treatment Most basements will suffer from a variety of cracks, including those that occur around window frames, doors and windows. These cracks present an immediate threat of water seepage into the home, and may also be responsible for structural damage and other problems. This is especially true if the home has a cracked foundation wall and slab. A crack treatment system is recommended when a home owner detects that water is reaching into their basement.