Searching Google for how to fix a wet basement you will find several basement waterproofing companies pop up. It may be confusing to know what basement systems or which one specifically would be the best solution for your leaky basement. Or maybe you are not looking for the best solution, you just want to stop the water from coming in so you can sell the house. Let’s review the different basement systems and what each one accomplishes to help you determine how you can fix your leaky basement.
All basement waterproofing companies fundamentally do one thing the same; they all collect water into some type of drain and direct it away from your foundation to keep your basement dry. Those drains can be installed (I know captain obvious!) either on the outside, or the inside, or a combination of both.
Not all drains are created equal though, so be aware of two basic categories of foundation drains: footer drains, and drainage troughs of some kind. Footer drains are installed below floor level NEXT to your footer. For those who don’t know, the footer is like a cement sidewalk that is below your basement walls…the basement walls are built on “footers” so they have a solid base.
Footer drains can be installed with a pitch so that water can drain down hill towards the collection or evacuation point.
There are several companies out there that install interior drains ON TOP of the footer, even if they are installed under the concrete floor, they are NOT footer drains. Installing drains on top of the footer means they are installed on a LEVEL base. Your footer is level. In this type of system, water enters the drain at the base of the wall, as the water fills the drains it will naturally seek to be level. As this leveling occurs of the water it will spread out and fill the drains until it reaches the final collection point (sump pump) or evacuation point like a floor drain.
So on that note, interior basement waterproofing systems can be installed to dry up your leaky basement. These systems are best suited for those basements with water coming in at the bottom of the basement walls and the basement walls are otherwise dry. Interior systems collect ground water that can build up around your foundation and drain it away relieving the hydrostatic pressure that would otherwise build up and cause the basement water leaks.
If your basement walls are damp further up that the bottom row or two of block, you might better off with exterior basement waterproofing. With an exterior system the walls are excavated to the bottom of the footer on the outside, then the walls are waterproofed and new exterior footer drains are installed. This system will restore your original basement waterproofing… or in most cases “damp proofing” to better than new. Damp proofing is the minimum building code in many areas and has been for decades. This can be as simple as a thin coating of mortar and some “black tar” painted over the walls. This black coating if exposed to the soil will biodegrade in a few years and you are left with the thin coating of mortar which is susceptible to cracking and leaking. Today’s technology for waterproofing basement walls on the outside is far superior to methods used even just a few years ago.
There may be obstacles that you do not want to remove or other conditions occurring with your basement that would make it a good candidate for a combination of interior and exterior basement waterproofing. For example you have one area where the wall is wet but the rest of the basement water leaks are coming from the base where the wall meets the floor. You could excavate and seal the problem wall on the outside and do the rest on the inside.
Look for a basement waterproofing company that is a true full service contractor able to do any and all types of basement waterproofing so that you are sure to get the best fit for your problem. Companies offering “patented” systems are marketing their same system over and over to every customer they meet, and they can have pretty impressive sales presentations to convince you theirs is the best. Be weary of that and use the guidelines above.
In northeast Ohio contact Pioneer Basement Solutions by clicking the “get information” button for a free no hassle, no sales gimmicks consultation.
Contact us today to learn more on how to fix a wet basement!