It is often believed that by purchasing houses with reinforced concrete, one can enjoy relative immunity from the common problem of seepage, leakage and basement flooding. Soon however, they find that they have to obtain the services of the best sump pumps to remove water from below and inside the basement. However, no matter how good the sump pump is, it cannot prevent the relentless attack of the water and its dissolved chemicals on the exterior surface of the product, leading to the eventual weakening of the structural foundations of the house. Hence, to allow the sump pump to be more effective and to ensure that the foundations of the house are kept in good shape, one needs to have a good knowledge of the top necessary basement waterproofing products that can be applied to one’s particular situation.
Cementitious Waterproofing Coatings
Waterproofing coatings come in several forms, but given that concrete bonds best with cement (and we’re assuming that one has a brick and concrete basement), cementitious waterproofing coatings are considered most durable. Using a base of Portland cement and a range of soluble polymers and asphalt variants, these coatings are applied directly onto the negative or interior side and/or the positive or exterior side of the basement. Generally, if one follows our tips and blog for sump pumps, one can save money by applying the coat to only the exterior side as the pump will handle possible internal water problems well.
Typically, one would need a cement/concrete repair primer like Arcyl 60 to prepare the surface for application. Once this is done, a single coat is applied and allowed to dry before the second coat of cementitious coating is added. Once dry, these coatings tend to be able to ensure that water does not enter the concrete and even if it does, the amount of water is minimal. Further, many modern coatings tend to come with NSF 61 potable water certification, thus allowing the material to be applied on or near water pipes.
Sealants and Caulkings
One of the most economical choices among top necessary basement waterproofing products, the sealants and caulkings are polyurethane, polyether or adhesive products that are typically applied only to the joints and cracks in the concrete. Cracks and joints, and for that matter any voids, tend to accept water much faster, and in times of heavy rain can become conduits for rapid movement of water into the basement.
The sealants and caulkings generally come in the form of a tube. The crack/joint along which the material is applied is first dried and then a primer is applied. The sealant/caulking is then applied in a straight line for short distances before letting the sealant dry out. Water and any other liquids should be kept away from the sealant for at least 24-48 hours to allow the material to dry.
Note that the type of sealant to be chosen would depend upon:
- Whether it would be applied to the interior or exterior surface of the basement.
- Would it seal expansion joints in concrete or ordinary cracks ?
- Are any special conditions applicable eg.proximity to a pool or lake, or extensive use of the sealed surface ?
While sealing/caulking can easily be done without professional help, the above considerations should be analysed by a professional who will also recognize the potential fault lines and expansion joints.
Flashing tape is used for waterproofing surfaces that have a lot of metal pipes, gutters, wooden frames, sills, etc. Applied at the junction of the metal/wood and the concrete or between metal/wood and metal/wood junctions, this tape typically comes with an aluminium facer and a butyl-compound adhesive that bonds well with the metal and wood. Unlike other materials mentioned here, this tape can be applied to moderately wet surfaces as well, though it is always ideal to have a dry area.
EIFS stands for Exterior Insulated Finnish System and involves use of a cement-like substance to coat the outer, or more rarely, the inner surface of the basement. Once applied, it creates a stucco-like layer that is impervious to the impact of water and even better, withstands hydrostatic pressure when the water pools around the basement. In addition to these benefits, EIFS also allows the user to add certain materials to the mix before application so as to obtain EIFS of a certain tint. While some of the common tints can be readily purchased from the market, others can be prepared at home.
Emergency Negative-Side Waterproofing Methods
Despite all precautions, water can sometimes push through at high pressure if walls are weak or porous and quickly create conditions far worse than what we use for sump pump reviews. These can overwhelm sump pumps and cause major flooding in a short time. There are a few solutions to combat such scenarios:
- Waterproofing Resins – One of the top necessary basement waterproofing products for critical situations when water is gushing out of a small hole or abscess in the wall, these resins are applied after a polyurethane foam is used to plug the influx of water. The foam soaks in the resin and together, the resin and foam bonds with the concrete and masonry to create a permanent blockage at that point. Note that applying only the foam is not enough as the water would eventually push the foam out.
- Polyurethane Injection – Different from foam, this injection is similar to the sealings/caulkings mentioned above but tends to act faster. The injection is applied along cracks that develop under high water pressure (or due to other reasons).
- Concave Fillets – Applied at the junction of the floor and the wall, these fillets spread the tension between the floor and wall across a large area instead of focusing it on the 90 degrees junction alone. At the same time, it plugs any existing cracks or gaps. Together, it is ensured that the junction is protected in the long run as well.
While there are plenty of choices as far as the top necessary waterproofing products are concerned, we’d like to add a caveat that we also mentioned when concluding our buying guides for sump pumps – choose according to your needs. Unlike sump pumps, not all of one’s waterproofing needs can be figured out by the user himself/herself since some require expert knowledge and equipment. However, most types of waterproofing can be carried out by amateurs and hence, once the survey is complete, one can get down to the purchase and application of the waterproofing materials without depending on anyone else.