Basement walls are important to take care of because they form the foundation of your hours. The best way to take care of them is to make sure they are waterproof. If you don’t do this, you risk water seeping in, creating cracks, moisture, condensation, and mold. And these things call all effect the remaining parts of your house. So what are your options when waterproofing basement walls externally?
Waterproofing internally is easier and less expensive, but isn’t always enough. Your best bet would be if measures had been taken while the house was being built, but if that isn’t the case, it’s not too later. Before you start, be sure to fill any cracks in the basement walls and remove any mold if present.
One option to waterproof externally, especially in cases where the drainage is already pretty good, is to slope the ground down away from your house. This might take half a truckload of sweat to fill, along with a good shovel and wheelbarrow. Another good step in the process would be laying plastic down over the slope and covering it with dirt. The benefit of this is that you do more than just waterproof—you get rid of the water. This landscaping method, along with gutters, is the best method for waterproofing externally.
The benefit of waterproofing your basement externally is that it will protect your basement walls against hydrostatic pressure damage, which is vital in preventing water damage (especially in rainy areas or homes with high instances of flooding.)
I have a friend in Canada who recently experienced some severe rains that led to basement flooding. The unfortunate result of this is that the homeowners insurance didn’t cover the damage, because it was coming from ground, which they considered a foundation problem. You want to do as much as you can to protect yourself from this kind of occurrence.
The hardest (and most expensive) method for effectively waterproofing basement walls externally is getting down to the base of the home’s foundation where the footer drains are located. But if you don’t do this, you won’t be completely protected against flooding. If you’re experiencing problems, it may be that these drains need repair. The good news is that this isn’t necessary if your drains are functioning properly.
There’s another option, though, if the above is out of your budget range. Once you’ve selected and applied an external sealant and barrier (such as asphalt or cement combined with a waterproof base, such as polymer or rubber), you can install some outside footer drains that lie around the perimeter of the house. These will carry water to a safe place away from the footer. The polymer based materials have the upper hand as they can be sprayed directly on the outside walls. They’s are fast-curing and semi-flexible.
When I was growing up, my grandmother used another method entirely, and I think this method is the most common of those I’ve seen. In conjunction with the sloped landscaping, she had a diversion system installed. It ran along the roof and the rain water would fill these gutters, run down the side gutters, and roll down some concrete “catches” into the yard, away from the foundation of the house.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, consider installing a sump pump. Sump pumps are mechanical pumps that collects water and diverts it away from your house. They can be installed above or below ground level, and are a fantastic external solution. An above ground pump, however, will be easier to maintain year round—but they can be an eyesore! This is why many go for the sump pump. You’ll need outside help on this one though—the basement MUST be properly sealed off before you install. Correct installation is crucial.
Waterproofing Basement Walls Externally is an excellent choice as it’s an option recognized by the International Building Code. It might be pricy, but it’s well worth it for the peace of mind it will give you. Your home will be safe, and your foundation will remain solid.