Waterproofing a basement is a scary proposition for just about anyone because of the fear that it will cost a fortune. In fact, many homeowners with active basement leaks don’t bother to call waterproofing companies because they’re afraid of the huge price tag. We’ve met countless people that have waited many years before dealing with basement leaks because of the high anticipated cost. When you are budget conscious you look for inexpensive basement waterproofing because you want the cheapest solution for your problem.
The most expensive way to waterproof a basement
Basement wateproofing and repairing leaks in a basement is usually expensive only if you excavate around your foundation to waterproof the basement walls. Now, you may have been told by seemingly credible waterproofing contractors that to fix a basement leak properly you have to excavate and waterproof your foundation; however, this is the subject of much debate within the industry. Check out this post that compares exterior and interior waterproofing methods. In fact, there are situations where you don’t have to waterproof your basement at all when it leaks.
The cheapest way to waterproof a basement
When you do have to waterproof your basement, in almost every situation, it is possible to waterproof your basement from inside your home and avoid the high cost and destructiveness of exterior excavation. In fact, waterproofing methods conducted without excavation are usually several $1000s less and just as effective.
Of course, the type (and cost) of basement waterproofing is determined by the specific situation that exists. Some foundation problems require major repairs (and excavation); but the vast majority, ultimately, are easily and inexpensively fixed.
Most of the time it will be far cheaper to deal witha a wet basement by fixing it from the inside rather than digging on the outside.
So, how do you waterproof your basement when you’re on a tight budget?
Waterproofing your basement when you can’t afford it
When you don’t have funds available to spend on waterproofing your basement, or if you absolutely refuse to spend money, you need to take action on your own. Probably the best way to waterproof a basement is to keep water away from the foundation. This will reduce the water pressure (hydrostatic pressure) against the foundation walls and decrease the likelihood of developing a leak in the basement.
The main source of water against a foundation comes from downspouts; after all, the roof of your home is a large area over which water is collected. It is imperative that downspouts discharge rain water as far from the foundation as possible; the recommended distance is 8 to 10 feet. Many basement leaks are also caused by overflowing eavestroughs which saturate the soil next to your foundation, usually due to clogging from leaves, needles, etc. Eavestroughs need to be regularly cleaned in order to direct water where you want it to go.
If your foundation is not exposed to much water it probably won’t leak, so make sure you keep ground and rain water as far from your foundation as possible.
Two low cost ways of dealing with your wet basement
If you have a poured concrete foundation (the norm for homes built since 1980) you can repair most leaks in the basement by injecting them, usually by a process called polyurethane injection. One of the most common sources of water seepage is a hairline crack in the foundation wall. These cracks are inexpensively repaired by injecting / sealing them with expanding polyurethane that fills the crack and seals it all the way through the foundation wall to the outside soil.
If you have a concrete block or cinderblock foundation, injection is not a viable repair option. The cheapest way to waterproof this foundation type is usually by installing an interior perimeter drain system.
Curious about what your foundation repair will actually cost? Check out our post on the cost of basement waterproofing.