Are you a homeowner with a wet basement?
Many homeowners research wet basement solutions on the web in order to educate themselves on how to deal with a wet basement and the available basement waterproofing methods. This research is useful for understanding how basements are waterproofed, the various techniques available, and the advantages and disadvantages of each of the wet basement repair solutions. The information gathered is also very useful when selecting a waterproofing contractor and evaluating their proposed wet basement repair solution for your particular situation.
When reviewing the different wet basement solutions it is important to realize that while most basement leaks are attributable to a leaking foundation, other leaks are the result of drain backups and causes entirely unrelated to the foundation. Consequently, it is critical that the cause of a wet basement be positively identified before contemplating any wet basement solution, as your basement may not be leaking at all.
Without positively identifying why your basement is wet, evaluating wet basement solutions is pointless because it is not possible to ascertain that the repair solution will ultimately resolve the problem. It follows that diagnosing the cause of a wet basement must be the first step undertaken and is crucial to resolving wet basement problems properly and most economically.
For a comprehensive examination of the numerous sources of basement leaks, check out this article: typical sources of basement leaks.
Categories of Wet Basement Solutions
Solutions to permanently fix a wet basement are categorized as follows:
- Interior basement waterproofing solutions;
- Exterior basement waterproofing solutions; and
- Solutions by foundation type:
a. Concrete block/cinder block foundations;
b. Poured concrete foundations; and
c. Stone foundations. The foundation type is to a large extent the primary determinant of available and suitable waterproofing methods. This is because some wet basement solutions are inappropriate for some foundation types. Each foundation type has waterproofing solutions that can be divided into interior and exterior basement waterproofing repairs.
Excavation and Waterproofing – The Traditional Approach
The traditional solution for dealing with a wet basement has always been exterior excavation and waterproofing. While this waterproofing method is on the decline due to its high cost, destructive nature and the availability of interior basement waterproofing methods, it is arguably the most recommended basement waterproofing repair today. There are several reasons why this is so:
- From a technical standpoint, exterior basement waterproofing is a relatively simple process; consequently, many contractors, that are not waterproofing contractors, will offer this service when the opportunity arises;
- Exterior waterproofing (done properly with the best products) protects the foundation from further deterioration; and
- The high contract value (always in the $1000s and often in the $10000s) makes this type of work quite lucrative for contractors. The high cost and destructive nature of exterior excavation and waterproofing is in part responsible for the increased interest in interior basement waterproofing methods. Although there are a few exceptions, internal waterproofing options exist for every type of basement leak and they usually cost alot less than exterior basement waterproofing.
Interior Wet Basement Repair Solutions
Interior wet basement solutions require substantially more skill than exterior excavation and waterproofing; this is because of the complexity of the repair methods. The internal basement waterproofing methods are far more dependent on the foundation type than exterior waterproofing. The most common interior basement waterproofing solutions are:
- Epoxy crack injection and polyurethane injection for repairs to poured concrete foundations;
- Interior weeping tile / internal perimeter drain systems for concrete block/cinder block foundations; and
- Sump pump installation for addressing a high water table. In general, internal waterproofing repairs cost 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost of exterior waterproofing.
Comprehensive Listing of Wet Basement Solutions
We have created a tabular listing of available wet basement solutions, and their relative cost, for each foundation type. To view the table simply follow this hyperlink: Basement Waterproofing Methods.