If you’ve ever been inside a damp basement, then you’re already familiar with its musty, almost sinister smell. It’s no wonder why the climaxes of so many horror movies take place inside dank basements!
But a clammy basement isn’t just offensive to the nose. It is also the perfect breeding ground for mold, a fungus which can worsen the air quality in your property and further threaten extensive damage to its walls and frame. The moisture that accumulates within and emanates upward from a damp basement poses other types of structural damage, and can also make it more expensive to heat and cool a building.
In brief, basement waterproofing is essential to preventing several inconvenient (and expensive) problems.
There is no such thing as a blanket approach to foundation waterproofing. Your building’s location, the type of foundation it has, and the nature of the source of water infiltration all affect the type and simplicity of the ideal waterproofing solution. Despite that, three kinds of basement waterproofing methods are commonly employed by professional services like NIJAC.
Exterior Waterproofing and Drainage System
This solution to basement waterproofing focuses on the outside of the building. The excavation revolves around two areas: right alongside the foundation, and the perimeter surrounding the foundation.
First the area immediately surrounding the foundation is excavated. Once exposed, the foundation is covered in adhesive, impermeable membrane to effectively seal out water infiltration. Protective plastic sheathing may additionally be installed over the membrane to grant added protection.
The next step essentially digs a trench around the building – a mini moat, of sorts. This is filled with a long, continuous perforated pipe (which is typically made of plastic, PVC or ABS) that is additionally swathed in fabric to prevent sand and dirt particles from entering. After it has been buried, the pipe spouts out any water it gathers to where it can no longer reach the foundation. In conjunction with a waterproofed foundation, this trench drain is the most effective method of diverting water away from the basement.
Interior Drainage System
You would ideally avoid excavating around the exterior of your building. Excavation demands planning and care, as you must strategically avoid damaging the foundation and its surrounding electrical wiring, internet cables, and water and sewer lines. Just getting permission to dig can immensely complicate an excavation project. Installing an exterior draining system is also relatively expensive – and if something should go wrong with it several years down the line, accessing the source of the problem is complicated to say the least.
An interior drainage system lets you circumvent all of these complications. Installing this type of system entails digging a trench around the perimeter of the basement’s floor. Moisture will gather in this newly created lowest point, but it will not accumulate there thanks to the trench’s accompanying drain and sump pump. Once it’s operational, an interior drainage system will collect moisture running down the walls as well as prevent water from pooling on the basement floor!
Sealant and Epoxy
Sealant and epoxy treatments are both applied to the interior basement walls, where they act sort of like “waterproofing paint.” These treatments are by far the most economical, as their application processes are fast and do not require a great degree of skill.
But sealant and epoxy treatments come with the same caveat as most other cheapest fixes: They are the least effective solution. They do not direct water away from the foundation, remove water that has gathered within the basement, or age particularly well. A single new crack in a foundation may render an entire sealant or epoxy treatment ineffective, although some more resilient treatments which remain intact should the concrete beneath them crack are available.
We would only advise these treatments if a more effective solution is not affordable – or if they’re used in conjunction with an interior or exterior drainage system.
As we said earlier, a basement waterproofing solution cannot be considered ideal until you have taken several factors relating to the property into account. This is a daunting decision to make for a layman; for the experts at NIJAC, making that decision is routine. If you have need for foundational waterproofing at virtually any type of property – be it a house, barn, silo, or place of business – then we offer all of our expertise to you. We welcome you to contact us today!