How to Waterproof a Basement

How to Waterproof a Basement
  • Opening Intro -

    A home with a basement is desirable as it can provide additional storage space, help regulate heating and cooling, and provide shelter when weather conditions are dangerous.

    Basements, however, can accumulate moisture as water may seep in from the walls or through the floor.


Waterproofing can resolve your moisture problems, a job that can vary in complexity depending on your basement’s water problem. Let’s take a look at how to waterproof a basement:

1. Assess the problem.

Where is the water coming in from? How serious is the problem? Water accumulation in a basement can range from moisture gathering on walls and the floor to widespread water leakage. If it is the former, then a basement dehumidifier may be all that you need. If it is the latter, then you’ll need to move on to the next step.

2. Take a look outside.

Water seeping into your basement might be due to what is taking place outside of your home. Walk around the perimeter of your home and inspect how the ground meets your home’s foundation. If the ground is flat or slopes toward your home, then build up the soil around your home to have it slope away from your home. This will ensure improved run off. In addition, downspouts should flow away from the home — add extensions if water tends to pond near your home.

3. Examine trees and shrubbery.

Plantings located near the home can be attractive, but roots from shrubbery or trees can direct water toward your foundation. You may need to go beyond simple pruning and completely remove the greenery. Consider hiring an arborist to determine the best way to remove trees including roots.

4. Waterproof your walls.

If water seepage is detected through your walls, than a sealant of some kind should be applied. There are two types of sealant available — waterproofing and water sealer. The former is cheaper, the latter is more expensive but may it should do a better job sealing your walls. One or two coats may be necessary; consult with a knowledgable retailer for guidance.

5. Install a sump pump.

Getting rid of water completely may not be possible without a sump pump in place. A sump pump requires jackhammering into the floor, excavating a hole and running a line to send the water outside. This option, however, might not do the trick, necessitating that you go to the next step to resolve the issue.

6. Install a French drain

— Even following the completion of the earlier steps, you may still see water entering your basement. This can be extremely frustrating and problematic, but there is a solution: installing a French drain. A French drain is essentially a trench that is dug around your house, that is lined with gravel and designed to send water away from your home. Although this is a job some homeowners handle themselves, you may want to consult a professional for assistance. Some things to consider: where should the drains be placed? Will your attempt at drainage cause a problem for a neighbor, perhaps inviting litigation? If you live in a rural area where homes are far apart, then this issue is moot. However, if you live in the city you may need to get planning board approval before starting your job.

Waterproofing a basement may be a job that you can handle yourself, depending on the complexity of the problem. If the problem is severe, professional assistance can save you time, money and headaches, with a guarantee that the work is done right the first time.

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Categories: Basement

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".