How to Waterproof Basement Walls in 4 Steps

If you’ve seen or smelled the telltale signs of water infiltration in your basement, it’s time to consider waterproofing your basement. While there are several ways to remove water, the best way to keep the area dry is to prevent it from getting inside in the first place.

Today, we’ll go over how to waterproof basement walls. However, before we get into that, we should talk about how water gets into your basement and how to tell if your basement walls need waterproofing.

Signs You Have Water Infiltration in Your Basement

Many times, water in the basement is obvious: You might see puddles or standing water, or there may be wet stains on the walls or floors. Water often provides the ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew, so you might see it forming or smell it. A musty, wet odor could be caused by mold spores replicating.

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

There are also less obvious signs to look for. One is efflorescence, a white, powdery substance left behind on walls as water evaporates. Warped or buckled walls can be a sign, particularly if you have exposed framing.

If you have a finished basement, you might see peeling or bubbling paint on the walls. You might also see signs of deterioration on metal supports or wooden beams. Even the concrete can start to chip or crack over time.

How Water Gets Into the Basement

Once you see water, you’ll want to know where it’s coming from. If you can’t identify the entry point, it will be challenging to determine whether you simply need to waterproof the basement walls or if other basement waterproofing measures are necessary.

A flooded basement. We see water about 1 inch deep on concrete.

For example, if there are cracks in the foundation, they must be repaired. Otherwise, water will continue to flow into these areas. Water can enter the basement through poorly sealed windows and doors, and waterproofing the walls won’t help this type of problem.

If the water is rising up from under the floor after heavy rain, this is a separate issue. Also, your grading or drainage might not be optimal to allow water to flow away from the foundation.

In these situations, it helps to have a professional like Erie Home conduct an inspection to see where the water is coming from.

Steps to Waterproof Basement Walls

If you’ve determined that the water is coming in through the walls, here are four steps to make waterproof your basement walls.

Step 1: Prepare the Area You’ll Be Working In

First, you’ll need to move any furniture, stored items, or other belongings away from the walls. Clean and dry the walls you’ll be working on. It might be helpful to do this one day, then let everything thoroughly dry before proceeding the following day.

Also, open doors and/or windows in the basement, if possible, to allow for proper airflow and ventilation.

Step 2: Plug Any Holes or Cracks You Can See

If you’ve had a professional inspection, you might already be aware of any cracks or gaps that need to be addressed. Otherwise, walk around and look carefully for any breaches.

Keep in mind that where you see water might not be where it’s entering the property; water will run downhill and might show interior signs in places other than where it’s coming in. Use cement or epoxy to repair any openings.

Step 3: Seal Windows and Doors

While you’re working on waterproofing the walls, it’s a good idea to also waterproof the doors and windows. Look for leaks around door and window frames, and apply caulk to seal any cracks.

Step 4: Apply a Waterproof Coating

Buy a high-quality waterproofing sealant and apply multiple coats. Be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safety and effectiveness. Use personal protection to avoid getting it on your skin or in your eyes or lungs.

Also, be sure the basement is well-ventilated. Let it dry, then once the curing period has passed, you can move your items back into place and enjoy a waterproofed space.

Final Thoughts

DIY waterproofing can be done if you can find exactly where water is coming in and are confident in your ability to solve the problem. However, simply waterproofing the walls and caulking the windows often isn’t enough.

Contact Erie Home for a free evaluation. Our basement waterproofing services come with a 25-year warranty, including a free inspection after the first year. We’re able to handle foundation repairs, sump pump installation, drain installation, encasement, and much more. We’ll even help you address air quality issues that can arise from leaky basements.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is water seeping into my basement after rain?

This is usually from poor drainage. If it’s not being drained away from the house, hydrostatic pressure can cause water to press into the floor and walls of the home. Our team at Erie Home can install French drains or perform other measures to stop this from happening.

How do I stop water from coming up through my foundation?

Having water coming up from the foundation can have a few different causes. Your yard might not be graded properly, causing water to sit against the foundation and eventually seep through.

Your gutters might be clogged, which can lead to water overflowing against the side of the house. Or, there may be improper drainage around your home. The experts at Erie Home can take a look at what’s going on and suggest a solution.

Is a little water in the basement normal?

Getting a little water in your basement is fairly common, but it’s not normal or healthy. Any water in the basement can cause mold, foundation issues, and other types of damage. Address water infiltration right away to reduce the chances of these problems.

What is the best way to waterproof basement walls?

The best way to waterproof basement walls is to consult a professional who can thoroughly inspect your basement, identify the source of water infiltration, and recommend the best basement waterproofing methods for your home. Effective basement waterproofing solutions include installing state of the art sump baskets, vapor barriers, and proven drainage systems.

Can a basement be waterproofed from the inside?

Yes, a basement can be waterproofed from the inside using methods such as drainage systems, sump pumps, and applying waterproof sealants or installing waterproof membranes or barriers.  

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