A Wet Basement? The Need For Foundation Waterproofing
It is common among homeowners to assume that a wet basement is always the result of a leak in their foundation; consequently, many homeowners expect that their foundation needs to be waterproofed. While resolving wet basement issues usually involves foundation waterproofing, this is not always the case. It is important to be aware that there are other sources of basement leaks that must be ruled out before committing to the expenditure of a considerable amount of money on foundation waterproofing.
The Cost of Foundation Waterproofing
Ultimately, the extent to which waterproofing is required has the greatest impact on the cost of foundation waterproofing. Therefore, it is extremely important to properly determine how much basement waterproofing is actually required before entering into a contract for foundation waterproofing services. In a finished basement, the use of diagnostic equipment is mandatory for properly assessing which area(s) of the foundation require waterproofing. Without diagnostic tools, one can only guess at how much of the foundation needs to be waterproofed.
Approaches to Foundation Waterproofing
Once it has been proven that a foundation needs to be waterproofed, and the extent of required waterproofing is clear, a decision needs to be made concerning the foundation waterproofing method to use. Truly professional waterproofing contractors will offer interior and exterior basement waterproofing repair options for the majority of basement leaks. Note that there are interior and exterior waterproofing options for all foundation types. A waterproofing contractor with integrity will recommend the best basement waterproofing solution without regards to their profit margin. Waterproofing contractors that propose external waterproofing exclusively are to be avoided.
Foundation Waterproofing Methods
It is beyond the scope of this post to go into exhaustive detail about all the available waterproofing methods on the market; click on this hyperlink for detail on basement waterproofing methods.
Exterior Foundation Waterproofing
In almost every instance, a wet basement can be prevented by excavating some or all of your foundation and waterproofing the basement walls on the exterior. This waterproofing method is the traditional method for waterproofing foundations; coincidentally, it is also the most expensive. As a result, interior waterproofing alternatives have been developed. In general, the cost of exterior waterproofing is two to three times the cost of interior waterproofing methods. Every foundation type can be waterproofed from the exterior (assuming that it is the foundation wall that is at the root of the basement leak).
Interior Foundation Waterproofing
Aside from the cost savings associated with interior foundation waterproofing methods, one of the main advantages of internal waterproofing techniques is the absence of destructive excavation. If you have concrete walkways and patios, or large and relatively new decks, it is likely that you will be reluctant to have them removed and/or destroyed in order to excavate your foundation. For these reasons, many foundation waterproofing repairs today are conducted from inside your basement.
There are several interior foundation waterproofing methods; however, the chosen method must be appropriate to the nature of the problem. In a poured concrete foundation, it is possible to pressure inject cracks and other basement leak sources; this is not the case for concrete block / cinder block and stone foundations. For block foundations there is but one available internal foundation waterproofing repair method: interior weeping tile or internal perimeter drain system installation.
Clearly foundation waterproofing is not as straightforward as some would have you believe as there is quite a bit of science behind the methods and technologies used. To evaluate whether or not you are dealing with the best waterproofing contractor for your foundation waterproofing we recommend that you consult the contractor’s website to assess the degree of professionalism of the company.