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Basement Waterproofing Techniques


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Terry Kobatskyi

Terry is a reliable project manager with over 15 years in construction field, who has started his career of working in the trenches. Learn More About Terry Kobatskyi

One often-overlooked aspect of home maintenance and improvement is basement waterproofing. Left untreated, a damp or leaky basement can lead to a host of problems, including harmful mould growth, compromised structural integrity, and decreased property value. Basement waterproofing techniques have been refined and expanded upon to ensure your home remains dry, safe, and secure.

How To Waterproof Your Basement?

5 Steps to Effectively Waterproof Your Basement
  1. Remove Water: Ensure all standing water is removed and the basement is fully dry.
  2. Clean Thoroughly: Clean the basement to prepare surfaces for waterproofing efforts.
  3. Patch Cracks: Seal any cracks or holes in the basement walls and floor.
  4. Reseal Entries: Apply caulk around basement windows, doors, and wells.
  5. Waterproof Coating: Finish with a robust waterproof coating on walls and floor.

What are the popular techniques for basement waterproofing?

1. Interior Water Drainage

It may seem counterintuitive but managing water damage within the basement effectively can contribute significantly to overall waterproofing. Interior water drainage is recognized as an efficient and cost-effective water management method that can be applied post-construction.

Interior Water Drainage primarily involves the installation of a drainage system beneath the basement floor. This system collects any water that makes its way into the basement and then channels it to a sump pump installed in the floor, from where it is pumped out and away from the property. This not only prevents flooding but also effectively combats the hydrostatic pressure that can build up and lead to cracks in the basement and foundation walls.

2. Exterior Waterproofing

Exterior waterproofing, although more costly and labour-intensive, delivers a front-line defense against groundwater intrusion. It involves excavating soil from around the exterior foundation wall down to the footing level and applying a waterproof coating or membrane to the exterior surface to block water from seeping through the foundation wall. A French drain is also installed alongside to manage any water that collects near the foundation. This technique provides a comprehensive solution to groundwater leaks and dampness by stopping the problem at its source.

3. Crack Injections

In poured concrete foundations, cracks are a frequent problem that allows water to creep into the basement. Crack injection is a straightforward and economical waterproofing method for these specific circumstances. It involves the injection of an epoxy or polyurethane solution into the cracks, which then sets and seals off the crack entirely against water intrusion.

4. Basement Tanking

A more holistic approach to basement waterproofing is “tanking”—applying a waterproofing membrane to the internal walls of the basement. The idea here is to completely seal off the basement from the ingress of water. However, it’s worth noting that tanking is usually most effective when integrated during the construction phase of the building and may require substantial renovation work for existing basements.

5. Waterproofing Paints and Coatings

Applying waterproofing paints and coatings to the interior basement walls and floor forms a waterproof barrier that impedes the migration of water vapor. These products can be applied DIY-style, offering homeowners a relatively inexpensive initial defense against minor dampness. However, they are not designed to hold back larger quantities of water and are not a permanent solution to more severe basement water issues.

Entrust the task to skilled professionals

Whether you’re dealing with a wet basement, a leaky basement, or other waterproofing issues, our experts have the know-how to provide effective solutions. We’re so confident in our services that we offer free consultations to assess your needs and provide tailored recommendations. With our extensive experience and expertise, you can trust us to get the job done right

Waterproofing Requirements And Protection

It is a code requirement to apply a damp proofing treatment in many Canadian provinces to the exterior of basements. The builder is also required to install perforated plastic drain pipe near the footing to carry water away from the foundation, but these are not always effective. The drain line can be crushed during the backfill process, plus they can clog quickly with silt, water, and roots.

The paints and films are used to increase hydrostatic pressure and decrease the potential for leaks. The advancements in technology associated with paints has significant implications. In recent years, paints, sealers, and waterproof coatings are better than ever before. Some foundation waterproofing compounds are designed to be applied on the exterior of the foundation wall, while others are meant for interior applications, but with the same goal of establishing an impermeable barrier to water.

Technique Problems And Solutions

Unfortunately, these basement waterproofing techniques have their own challenges which can hinder their levels of success. By holding water back, there is a major buildup of hydrostatic pressure that occurs against the basement wall, as well as the thin membrane or coating. This water, under high pressure, can lead to bowing or buckling of the foundation walls. This can cause cracks that become the initial leakage points.

Drainage systems stop leaks by lowering hydrostatic pressure. This is one of the techniques which have proven effective in keeping basements dry in an interior drain system that is connected to a sump pump.

This technique actually harnesses the power of hydrostatic pressure instead of fighting it. Unlike an exterior drainage system where the water and soil could cause issues, an interior French drain system is developed inside basement systems, meaning they cannot clog with plant roots or silt because of the location.