Exterior Basement Waterproofing Membrane
An exterior basement waterproofing membrane or an interior basement waterproofing system? That is the question! Many people I visit tell me in so many words, “I want to know what will fix my problem”. I hear from potential customers they have had a couple basement waterproofing contractors in to look at their basement and they get different opinions from each one. That is very frustrating to the consumer and to me quite frankly. Almost all basement waterproofing companies have a “system” they prefer and they sell it to everyone they meet. There is no one solution that solves all basement water seepage problems. Let’s take a look at what type of problem exterior basement waterproofing solves.
If you have wet basement walls, wet higher that the bottom row or two of block, this means water is seeping into your foundation at ground level or at some point mid way. How water seeps into the foundation is through cracks and through failed foundation sealing. What causes this can be a variety of issues such as gutter and downspout issues, bad grading, sloping patios etc… However, fixing the cause usually doesn’t dry up the basement wall because the damage is done.
There are two ways to achieve a dry basement, with an interior solution or with an exterior solution. But for those who want actually fix the problem of water seeping into the foundation wall, you have to stop the water from getting into the wall in the first place with exterior basement waterproofing.
The process of exterior basement waterproofing involves excavating down to the bottom of the foundation. Then the walls are cleaned of debris etc… to prepare for application of a waterproof coating. All cracks and gaps are filled in and a waterproof coating is brushed, rolled or sprayed on to the foundation sealing up the porous surface. Then a waterproof membrane is applied to completely waterproof the foundation. At Pioneer we apply a dimpled membrane which gives added benefits of air gap technology and a bit of cushion against the soil pressure.
New foundation drainage is installed. This step is as critical as the sealing of the foundation. The new foundation drainage should be 4″ PVC perforated pipe and it should have a pitch, or downhill slope, towards the evacuation point. The evacuation point is either a sump pump system or a gravity drain that either exits the surface somewhere away from the foundation, or ties to a city drainage system. Many contractors do not ensure proper flow of the drains away from the foundation because most municipalities do not require it. I know that sounds crazy and it is. This problem of drains not flowing properly is very prevalent in new construction.
After drainage is installed properly a back fill of gravel is installed over the foundation drains. Top soil is then installed over the gravel with a positive slope away from the foundation.
So how do you achieve a dry basement on the interior? Interior drainage can be installed below the floor along the footer to collect and direct ground water away from foundation. Interior waterproof panels can be applied to the basement walls giving you a waterproof, dry and maintenance free basement wall surface. This is a good solution for some people who may not want to dig up the exterior for what ever reason, or they simply do not want to invest in the exterior method. Weep holes are installed in the foundation to drain water that may get into it allowing the wall to drain, dry up as well as breathe. There may still be dampness in the foundation with this method like using waterproofing paint, but it is sealed off from the basement giving the homeowner a dry basement space and the foundation can drain and dry through the weep holes. Using waterproofing paint can dam up water inside the foundation. Water laying in the foundation will lead to paint failure and can also lead to decay.
If your basement walls are mostly dry but have a few areas of dampness, a combination of interior basement waterproofing and an exterior basement waterproofing membrane can be installed to give you a dry and healthy basement.
Call Pioneer Basement Solutions today for a free, no obligation review of your foundation. We will evaluate the overall condition structurally and review the condition of the foundation waterproofing and drainage system. Once issues are identified we will review causes and all potential solutions. We take the approach of educating and advising our potential customers so they can make the best possible decision about their basement concerns. No sales games, no sales pressure. Straightforward answers and straightforward pricing.