Waterproofing the Inside of Your Basement Walls
There are many different methods to choose when waterproofing basement walls on the inside. There are many waterproofing products that can be applied directly to the walls as well as many types of drains, and tiles. Naturally, these options can vary substantially in price. Regardless of the options you consider, it's imperative to address water problems as soon as possible. The reason is because water is insidious to any structure. Over time, basement water will damage construction materials whether it's wood, plaster, or masonry. Addressing your basement water problems sooner rather than later will always save you money in the long run.
The first products to consider are waterproof paints and sealers. If your foundation walls are mortar and block, you can paint the inside with a waterproof paint. This type of paint will stop the gradual seepage of moisture from the outside into your basement. If there are cracks in the block or mortar joints, those cracks are providing pathways for water to enter. There are various sealer products, such as urethanes and epoxies, available designed to be injected under pressure into the cracks. The sealer penetrates and fills the crack all the way to the outside and bonds with the mortar and block to create a waterproof barrier. Application of these products is fairly straightforward and easily handled by the do-it-yourselfer. First, you clean the walls by scraping of any flaking paint and loose mortar. Next, scrub off any mold or mildew that has developed. Finally, apply the sealer to the cracks according to the product instructions and paint once the sealer is cured. Despite the simplicity of application, waterproof paints and sealers often offer guarantees of 10 years or more if properly applied.
The next option is membranes. Although more expensive than the paints and sealers, they are still cost efficient and will last a very long time when properly applied. There are two types of membranes available: liquid and solid. Liquid membranes are applied directly to the walls and floors with the idea being the same as waterproof paint. You're creating a waterproof surface layer on the walls. The difference is once a liquid membrane fully cures it becomes extremely hard and resists cracking. Solid membranes have pockets or pores that collect moisture from the walls. The moisture collects and flows as water through the membrane to a drainage system. Solid membranes are more work to install than liquid membranes and they require the drainage system to be installed as well.
Baseboard drainage, like solid membranes, is another interior drainage system. Baseboard drainage is a very cost effective method of basement waterproofing. The system is implemented by drilling weep holes in the perimeter of the basement floor. These holes will collect water that would otherwise enter the basement by seeping through the walls and floors. Baseboard units are then installed to collect the water from the weep holes and route it either to a mechanical sump system or a conveniently located floor drain.
The most expensive but also most effective method of interior waterproofing is a drain tile system. Drain tiles are very effective but also very misunderstood and sadly, often improperly installed. The biggest misconception about drain tile systems is that the drain tiles are actually perforated pipes. They're not tiles at all. At least, not in the sense that you would put tile on your kitchen floor, for example. A drain tile system consists of a trench dug 8 to 12 inches beneath the perimeter of the basement floor. The trench is filled with aggregate, which is just a fancy way of saying gravel. In the middle of the gravel is a perforated pipe. The trench is usually filled over with new concrete to finish off the basement floor. Ground water will find little or no resistance to entering the trench because of the air spaces within the gravel. The water will then enter the pipe through the perforations and be drained to an interior sump system. The sump system will then pump the water out of the foundation to a remote location. Drain tile systems are best installed on the exterior of the basement walls at the time of construction. However in the case of existing structures, it's much more cost effective to opt for an interior system.
Interior water drainage is technically not waterproofing. Nevertheless, interior drainage methods are widely regarded as effective methods of dealing with basement water problems. Many drainage systems and components are patented and many are recognized by municiple building codes.
Any of the methods listed above are effective at controlling the water entering your basement and can enable you to enjoy a clean, water-free living space.