An Introduction to Basement Waterproofing: Interior Vs Exterior Waterproofing
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An Introduction to Basement Waterproofing: Interior Vs Exterior Waterproofing

Spring is here. The snow is melting, and the ground beginning to thaw out. This is that time of year when some basements will begin to spring leaks, and your thoughts turn to basement waterproofing. When it comes to waterproofing your basement you have two options—interior or exterior waterproofing. There are several methods or approaches to each of those options and which approach will work best for you will depend on several factors: Where you live; how your basement walls and foundation are constructed; the terrain around your home; and other similar factors. Each of those options have their pros and cons and we will explore those pros and cons in this article.

Spring is here. The snow is melting, and the ground beginning to thaw out. This is that time of year when some basements will begin to spring leaks, and your thoughts turn to basement waterproofing. When it comes to waterproofing your basement you have two options—interior or exterior waterproofing. There are several methods or approaches to each of those options and which approach will work best for you will depend on several factors: Where you live; how your basement walls and foundation are constructed; the terrain around your home; and other similar factors. Each of those options have their pros and cons and we will explore those pros and cons in this article.

First things first.

No matter whether you go with interior or exterior waterproofing, the very first thing that you need to do is repair any cracks and/or holes that may be in your basement's walls. There are two methods that can be used to repair basement walls—mortar or cement—depending on the severity of the damage to the walls. My preferred method for repairing basement walls, especially if they are wet walls, is to use hydraulic cement. I'm not going to go into the step by step procedure for doing this in this article because there already is an article on Factoidz covering this very subject in great detail. I recommend that you read Waterproofing with Mortar and Hydraulic Cement by Danial Snyder. Read Daniel's article to get expert advice on this subject.

Exterior Skin Shielding.

Exterior skin shielding can be used in conjunction with waterproofing paint when the exterior walls of the basement are accessible. In most cases you will have to excavate the walls in order to use this method of exterior waterproofing and digging out those walls can be a back breaking job. The Exterior Skin Shielding itself is a honeycombed, rubberized fabric that is applied to the exterior basement walls after waterproofing paint is applied to them. For detailed, illustrated instruction on how to apply exterior shielding, click here.

Interior and exterior waterproofing paint.

All waterproofing paints are not created equal so make sure you buy the type engineered for where you are using it. An exterior waterproofing paint is much more durable than interior waterproofing paints.

The Water Sock, the builder's choice.

When waterproofing a basement, proper drainage is an important consideration. Installing a water sock around the exterior of the basement is the builder's preferred method and it is much easier to install than a waterproofing skin because the complete wall does not have to be excavated. Allyou need to do is excavate a trench around the exterior basement walls. The Family Handyman magazine published an article, How to Achieve Better Yard Drainage, that gives step by step instructions on how to install a water sock. Once again, I refer you to that article instead of giving you step by step instructions on how to do it in this article. Click here to read it.

The best way to waterproof your basement.

The most effective way to waterproof your basement is to combine both an interior and exterior method. My preferred method is to install a water sock around the exterior of the basement and then coat the interior walls with interior waterproofing paint after patcing holes and cracks with hydraulic cement.

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Comments (7)

This is sure handy info Sir Jerry. The simplicity and directness of your writeups is sure worthy of emulation and flattering. Another good one to am not going to be waterproofing any basement. We only have two seasons in Nigeria; the rainy and dry season.

Very important information when a person has low grounds and risk water getting into their basement. Not heard of the water sock.

Informative nice work here Jerry.

Another very useful and informative article. thanks for sharing.

This is going to be a useful article for a lot of people Jerry. Well done.

eversince I was a id I always wanted to have a house with a basement..thanks for the tips

Sir Jerry, you've given a very professional advice. The two referred links superseal.ca and familyhandyman.com are very informative.

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