dry basemnt finished

How to Waterproof a Basement (Properly!)

Basement Waterproofing 101: The first question nearly every customer asks us is: “Why is my basement leaking now when it never has before?”

The major problem with regards to builders, architects and engineers in terms of design is most abide by township and state codes that are not written to assure you a dry basement later on down the line.

In other words, most builders aren’t required to spend the extra money to waterproof your basement, so they don’t!

That’s where we come in. We’ve been waterproofing basements since 1987, so we have it down to a science. Unlike other companies, we spare no expense to do the job right. That’s why not a single waterproofing system that we have installed has failed in the history of our company.

First, What to Look Out For:

All waterproofing companies are not the same. Every system is unique to each home and has to be engineered to last a lifetime. Most companies just dig a trench and drop a pipe in the ground, and that’s why their systems fail.

Here’s how waterproofing a basement really works:

(Sorry; this video is being updated!)

“Under Pressure”

In most cases you can look and see that your interior and exterior basement walls do not have a rubber membrane that acts as a protector against water. And, more likely than not, your basement floor is not protected below the concrete slab to manage hydrostatic pressure.

Without this protection, ground water will enter your basement at the footer joint due to pressure from the earth on your walls. This could explain the following: according to the Home Inspection Census, more than 98% of all basements will eventually leak due to builder neglect.

Stage #1: Installing a Pressure Relief System

Hydrostatic pressure basement waterproofingMost professionals will agree that the best way to relieve hydrostatic pressure is from the interior as opposed to the exterior. A pressure relief system or French Drain is installed by opening the floor around the perimeter of the basement floor. The deeper and wider you dig the better the outcome.

A Premier Waterproofing system will ensure that your French Drain has the necessary 3” pitch for every 25 feet. Almost half of the air you breathe in your home will rise from the basement.

You can avoid high levels of radon gas (currently the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer) and mycotoxins by installing a Premier Waterproofing system that decrease vapor transmissions.

Stage #2: Choosing the Appropriate Sump Pump With Battery Back-up

basement sump pump ejector pit waterproofingRegardless of what you read or what you are told, a sump pump is completely useless unless it works together with a pressure relief system.

The French Drain will collect the excess water and the sump pump will extradite the water away from your home. The average 1/3 horsepower sump pump installed by Premier Waterproofing can manage approximately 2,400 gallons of water per hour.

One sump pump is more than sufficient in most cases but depending on the size of your basement you may need multiple sump pumps installed.

An industry rule of thumb suggest one sump pump for every 120 interior feet with a battery backup system in case your home experiences a power outage.

Stage #3: Fixing Structural Wall Cracks

wall-crack-repairWhile cracks and bulges in interior basement foundation walls occur more frequently in older structures, newly constructed buildings are not immune to them.

Soil that pushes against your structure walls settle at different rates and expands and contracts throughout the year depending on both the season and hydrostatic pressure in the water table.

There are several warning signs that the everyday homeowner may not see that the professionals at Premier Waterproofing can find with a proper inspection.

The longer you wait the more expensive the repairs can become. If damages are found early they can often be repaired with reinforced polymer materials as opposed to expensive excavating techniques.

Step #4: Applying an “EPA” Mold Coating to Foundation Walls

basement remodeling finishing paint mold resistant
Most homeowners do not fully understand the potential hazards that mold and fungal exposure can have on your health.

While molds are often deemed toxic or non-toxic, some non-toxic molds can produce secondary metabolites that can produce toxins.

Our waterproofing professionals at Premier Waterproofing refer to these hazards as mycotoxins, which can harm one’s health and home.

Symptoms include illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, learning disabilities, heart problems, and chronic fatigue to name a few. If your basement has that “dank smell” and often seems damp in nature you may have mycotoxins in the air.

After removing any mold found we will apply an EPA rated mold coating to your foundation walls, not Dry-Loc.

Step #5: Stage #5 Installation of Thermal Armor Vapor Barrier

thermal armor basement green insulation tax rebate

A thermal armor vapor barrier will not only isolate wall condensation and save you energy but it is 100% Mold Free.

This tax deductible barrier is becoming the new standard as it is designed to act as a non-delaminate insulator so you will never have to worry about deterioration. Its counterpart, standard fiberglass, can and often will deteriorate putting out air borne filaments.

The Premier Waterproofing system works as a continuous vapor barrier to the drainage system to manage structure condensation.

This condensation is a result of the 55º thermal temperature of soil 4 feet below the surface of the ground. The best protection from the differentiating wall temperature the soil temperature is the Premier Waterproofing Thermal Armor Vapor Barrier.

Step #6: Premier Waterproofing Floor & Wall Membranes

20140118_135429If you are waterproofing and refinishing your basement and are looking for 100% protection from mold the Premier Waterproofing floor and wall membrane is your best bet.

This state of the art membrane will Never chip, crack or peel unlike the traditional sealants and epoxy’s that have been used in the past. Our formula is sprayed on like paint hardening and sealing in a matter of seconds increasing the property value of your concrete 10 fold.

How you ask? It permanently seals all cracks forever and eliminates moist floors. If our list of referrals is not convincing enough, the 50 year guarantee that comes with the installation of Premier Waterproofing floor and wall membranes should be.

Step #7: Dehumidifiers- The Oldest Trick in the Book

santa-fe-package-mdIf you suffer from the aforementioned “basement smell” your best bet is to install a state of the art self-sufficient dehumidifier. A decade ago you would need 5 dehumidifiers to maintain 2,000 square feet of basement at 42% R/H.

With recent advances in energy star rated products you now can use one unit at 5 times less the cost of electricity that empties itself. Excessive humidity can rot the walls of your home and is the major culprit of mold, mites, and spiders.

A dehumidifying system installed by Premier Waterproofing will allow you to control the moisture, stop mold from producing, and eliminate possible rot. Keep in mind that rain is not the only cause of a wet basement.

The temperature of your basement is generally 14º warmer than the 55º temperature of the soil that is pushing up against your foundation walls. Just like a glass of cold water on a hot day, you will see condensation.

Contact Us Today for a Free Estimate!

A friendly expert from Premier Waterproofing will assess your basement, test for mold and moisture, and give you a free, no-obligation quote that is fair, comprehensive, and backed by over 25 years of expertise! References available upon request. Give us an opportunity to earn your business and you won’t regret it!

One thought on “How to Waterproof a Basement (Properly!)

  1. Ellie Davis

    Thank you for suggesting that without protection water can enter your basement and cause damage. This is exactly why I want to get my basement waterproofed. I’ll have to look into finding the best contractor in my area to do this for me.


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