How to Waterproof a Basement Floor in 5 Steps

You’ve got lots of space in your basement, but are you using it? If there’s water leaking into your basement, you may be hesitant to do so. However, while you don’t want your possessions ruined by water damage, all that space is going to waste, and that doesn’t feel good either.

What if you’re using your basement but often have to clean up leaks and puddles? What if the area down there feels damp or smells of mildew? What should you do?

We see water damage on a concrete floor and wall which is located in a customers basement.

At Erie Home, we offer full-service basement waterproofing solutions that are guaranteed to keep your entire basement dry and comfortable for the next 25 years.

First, we repair any foundation damage, then we create an interior drainage system that keeps water out while deterring mold growth and helping to keep the air fresh and clean. Call us toll-free at 1-800-862-6400 for an estimate and talk to an expert for professional advice.

Meanwhile, let’s look at how to waterproof a basement floor.

Signs You Need to Waterproof Your Basement Floor

Most of us don’t think too much about our basements until they start to leak. Then we start to worry about them.

Basement waterproofing can help prevent significant damage, not only to your basement and your belongings but also to the integrity and structure of your home. The investment you make will help preserve your home’s value in the future while giving you a pleasant, usable space to use for years to come.

How can you tell if it’s time to waterproof your basement floor? Look for these signs:

  • Water stains on the floor (they may be on the walls too)
  • Seepage around the edges of the basement floor
  • Water puddles on the floor
  • Cracks in the floor and water seeping through them
  • Unwanted smells in the basement

If you notice any of these, take action right away. A leaky basement is not only unpleasant, but it can also create wood rot, moldy air, and pest infestations. Over time, it can also undermine the integrity of your foundation.

5 Steps to Waterproof Your Basement Floor

Below are the steps you’ll want to take if you want to waterproof your basement floor yourself. However, keep in mind that this may not solve all your problems, as water may be coming in the walls too, which means you’ll need to address those leaks as well.

At Erie Home, we’ll conduct a thorough investigation to discover where the leaks are occurring and how best to fix them, along with a free estimate to review. We also offer convenient financing options so you can easily manage the investment in your home.

Hiring professionals to do the work usually creates the best results for a long-lasting, dry basement. But if you need a quick fix, follow these steps.

We’re assuming you have a concrete floor—either it’s not finished yet, or you’re in the process of completing its construction. If you already have flooring in the basement, jump down to the next section for suggestions.

1. Clear out the basement.

The first thing you’ll want to do is clear the basement of your belongings, so you have room to work. If you can’t take them all out, move them to a small area so you can address the rest of the floor.

Then, once you’ve finished with that, move the items away to waterproof that last corner.

2. Clean the floor.

Next, it’s important to clean the concrete floor so you have a fresh surface to work with. That way, any sealant you apply will be more likely to work as it should.

Start with a wire brush to scrub up any loose material, then use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the debris. Remove any grease deposits with a degreasing agent, as these can prevent sealant or epoxy from adhering to the floor.

Finally, clean the floor with a concrete cleaner. You can find several options at your local home improvement store.

3. Check for radon leaks.

Before waterproofing, check your basement for radon with a home test kit. Radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas that is naturally released from rocks, soil, and water. It can get into the basement through small cracks or holes and build up in the air, presenting a health hazard.

If the test shows higher than recommended levels, consult a professional to inspect your basement and recommend a solution.

4. Fill in the cracks.

Moisture can get into your basement floor in two ways: by seeping through cracks and by leaking in around the perimeter where the concrete slab meets the basement walls.

Inspect your floor for any visible cracks, then fill them with a high-quality concrete crack filler. It will help prevent water from coming up through them. It will also keep any sealant you put on the floor from seeping into the cracks.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the crack filler when completing this part of the job. Be sure to vacuum dust, dirt, and debris out of the crack before filling it.

If any of the cracks in your floor are wider than a half-inch, it’s best to consult professionals for recommendations on foundation repair. Otherwise, the waterproofing you do may break down quickly.

5. Apply waterproofing coating.

Once you’ve completed all these steps—and assuming there is no standing water in your basement—you can move to the final step, which is applying a waterproofing coating.

You have a couple of options here:

  1. Waterproofing sealer
  2. Epoxy coating

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each of these.

Waterproof Concrete Sealer

A waterproof concrete sealer helps protect against the migration of moisture and is a cost-effective way to increase the basement’s resistance to water seepage.

Concrete looks pretty solid to the naked eye, but it’s a porous material, and even high-quality concrete has some degree of porosity. When you use a concrete sealer, you help prevent cracks from forming, while creating a finish that helps resist oil, grease, and other stains.

Many concrete sealers are also formulated to resist the transfer of radon through the concrete. If you notice higher-than-suggested levels of radon in your basement, look for one of these.

Before you apply, use an acid etch product to improve absorption. Some concrete cleaners include both a cleaning and etching function. It’s also a good idea to cover any exposed walls with plastic sheeting to protect them from accidental splashes.

Then, when the surface is clean and dry, apply your waterproof sealer with brushes and rollers. Follow the instructions carefully.

Most manufacturers recommend applying 2-3 heavy coats, and it’s a good idea to push the roller and brushes in the opposite direction during subsequent coatings. Allow at least 12 hours for drying in between coatings.

Do not apply when rain or dew is in the forecast, as you want the floor to be as dry as possible.

Epoxy Coating

Epoxy is a polymer resin with waterproofing characteristics built in. Most have a tint to provide color, and some come with a blending of metallic flakes or other options to enhance the appearance. That means you don’t have to use other flooring materials on top unless you want to.

Before using the epoxy, ensure your floor is clean and properly prepped. Again, it’s best to use an acid etching product to open up the pores on the surface of the concrete, and to help improve the epoxy’s ability to bind to the floor.

You’ll need to prepare and mix the solution before applying. An epoxy coating is made up of a resin and a hardener, and when you get it mixed, you’ll have a very thick solution.

Use brushes and rollers to put down a generous first layer. Keep in mind that epoxy paint will “set” in a short amount of time, so check the instructions to see how long you have. Dividing the basement floor into sections for application will make it easier to manage the material.

Let it dry overnight. Then, as an optional but recommended step, apply a clear top coat and let it dry for 2-3 more days. A top coat adds durability and resistance, while creating an attractive glossy finish.

Hire the Professionals!

As you can see, waterproofing a basement floor takes a lot of work. At Erie Home, we can make the whole process a lot easier for you, and our work comes with a 25-year limited lifetime guarantee. Don’t waste your basement space—make the most of it by waterproofing it.

Contact us today for a free estimate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I waterproof my basement floor myself?

Yes, you can waterproof your basement floor on your own, although it’s always recommended to consult an experienced professional. If you decide to do it yourself, follow all the above steps carefully, and read the instructions on the products you use.

How do I prepare my basement floor for epoxy?

It’s critical that you clean the floor of any dirt, grease, and debris before applying anything to the concrete. Use a concrete cleaner with an acid etching function to ensure the epoxy product adheres properly.

How do I stop water from coming through my basement floor?

The best approach is to contact a professional basement waterproofing company like Erie Home. We’ll conduct a thorough inspection to find out why the basement is leaking and where the leaks are coming from and recommend the best solution to keep your basement dry and clean.

What is the best way to seal a basement floor?

You can use either a waterproof concrete sealer or an epoxy coating to seal your basement floor. Both of these products offer protection and additional durability to your concrete slab.

Why is water leaking through my basement floor?

There can be many reasons why this may occur. You may have cracks in your foundation, leaks in your window wells, or clogged gutters and downspouts that are creating pooled water outside your home.

Water could also leak into the soil by your foundation, creating hydrostatic pressure that permeates your basement. A professional basement waterproofing company can help you determine the problem and potential solutions.

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