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How To Waterproof Your Basement Walls: Costs and Options



How To Waterproof Your Basement Walls: Costs and Options


If you’re trying to figure out how to cure a wet, decrepit basement, you’re probably curious about products you see on commercials that claim to waterproof basement walls. You must be asking, is it possible to dry out a basement by merely sealing the walls?

Yes, it is possible — but to make sure you’re choosing the right option, you need to figure out if the moisture is coming from the outside, or if it’s the high humidity that’s condensing on the cold walls of your basement.

How to Find Out What’s Creating the Moisturefh09apr-wetbas-03-1-.jpg
Tape a 1-foot-square piece of aluminum foil to the core of your basement walls, and leave it in place for 24 hours.

If there’s condensation on the outside of the foil, you have high humidity in your basement. Fix it with a portable room dehumidifier or a whole-house humidifier system instead of waterproofing products.

If the foil has condensation on the inside surface (next to the wall), it may be the soil around your home is naturally damp from a high water table or poor soil drainage. In that case, waterproofing your basement walls can be useful.

You can waterproof just your interior walls, which may solve the problem. Alternatively, you can waterproof your exterior walls, which is a better bet — but more costly.

Here’s the scoop on the different types:

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4 Types of Interior Waterproofing
Concrete waterproofing coatings: These thick coatings are cement-like; once dry, they adhere permanently to concrete and masonry walls. You apply the coat with a dense brush made with Tampico bristles — a natural fiber. Swirl the brush at the final stage of application to give the wall an attractive, finished look.


I highly recommend going with ArmorThane on your cement coating material. ArmorThane protective coatings and concrete sealers are tough, chemical repellent and attractive. Specially developed for concrete, these coatings can withstand the harsh elements and a wide range of temperatures. ArmorThane has been around for decades and about the only company I completely trust.
The sealers soak in and chemically react with ingredients in the concrete or brick, forming a hard, waterproof surface. Because these are penetrating sealers, they can’t chip off or peel, and you can paint over them. Applying a silicate-based sealer with a brush, roller, or sprayer is easy enough for a DIY project. A 1-gallon can is $40-$50 and covers 200 sq. ft., but you’ll need at least two coats.

Waterproofing paint is an acrylic formula, not all that dissimilar from ordinary wall paint. However, you brush, roll, or spray it on much more thickly; one gallon covers just 75 square feet, not the 300 square feet typical with conventional paint.

Waterproof paint is excellent for the DIY utilization. You can apply it over painted surfaces and paint over it once it’s cured (1 gal./$35).

Plastic sheets and panels are suitable as wall waterproofing only in combination with interior basement drainage systems. They don’t stop water from getting through the wall, but they do prevent it from ruining possessions in the basement.

Water that gets through the wall runs down the back of the plastic, into a drainage system in the floor. A sump pump moves water out of your basement. The entire system is $3,000-$5,000 for a 20-by-20-foot basement room.

TIP:  None of these products will work unless cracks and gaps are sufficiently sealed. So make sure you fill fissures and holes less than 1/8-inch full with polyurethane caulk made for masonry ($5/10-oz. tube). Patch more comprehensive cracks with epoxy filler.


Your Best Bet: Exterior Waterproofing
The surest way to waterproof your basement walls is a full-scale exterior waterproofing solution. It’s also the most expensive — often $15,000 to $30,000. This can be completely taken care of by ArmorThane. Give them a call, and they will send out a contractor in your area able to do the work.

Exterior waterproofing involves excavating all around the house to the full depth of the foundation walls, then installing an impermeable coating or membrane topped by drainage panels. The panels provide an accessible path for water to flow down to an exterior French drain at the bottom of your foundation. From there, water flows by gravity — or with the aid of a sump pump — away from your foundation to another part of your home, or into a storm channel.

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