3 Types of Basement Waterproofing & What’s Best

Finding water damage in a basement is never pleasant. It’s usually not something homeowners are prepared for and it can quickly become a scary situation. Water damages furniture and other valuables, causes mold, and creates an unsafe environment for homeowners. Being an educated homeowner is one of the best things you can do to help prepare and deal with basement water damage. We are going to break down the 3 most common types of basement waterproofing so you feel more prepared.

Table of Contents

1. Paint and Drylock

Painting basement walls or applying drylock is often considered the DIY method to basement waterproofing. The truth is, paint is a quick, temporary solution and not recommended by waterproofing professionals as it doesn’t keep water away from basements. A proper waterproofing system (explained below) directs water away from a home so it can never find its way into a basement. Paint doesn’t waterproof a basement, it simply conceals it. In fact, paint on foundation walls is often used by homeowners selling a house and looking for a quick way to conceal present basement water issues. Simply painting over foundation walls does very little when it comes to keeping water out of a basement.

2. Interior Waterproofing

The most common form of basement waterproofing and the solution we recommend is done from the interior of a home. Interior waterproofing systems are affordable, highly effective and a solution homeowners can rely on for many years when installed properly. To understand how an interior waterproofing system works, follow along with our graphics below:

Basement Construction

To first understand basement waterproofing and why it’s so critical, we need to understand the general layout and construction of a basement. 

During the construction of a house, a big concrete foundation is paved called the footer.  The basement walls are built on top of the footer and then the floor is poured to make a basement. 

On the outside of the basement, a footer tile is installed to help drain any water that meets the foundation. Loose soil is then backfilled around the footer tile and the rest of the basement.

basement construction diagram
clogged footer drain

Clogged Footer Tile

Overtime, the footer tile on the exterior of a home will clog with dirt. This occurs because the loose soil gets carried through the water into the tile. That sediment will harden inside the footer tile and repeat the process over the years until it can no longer properly drain water away from a basement foundation fast enough.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Once the footer tile is clogged and can no longer properly drain, water will begin to build hydrostatic pressure and force its way into the blocks of a basement foundation. 

An early indication of hydrostatic pressure and potential water issues in a basement is efflorescence. This is a white powdery substance that forms on the interior side of concrete and brick basement walls when water evaporates and leaves behind a white salty residue.

hydrostatic pressure diagram
footer tile diagram

Install A New Footer Tile

When the footer tile outside a basement becomes clogged and can no longer take water, the only solution is to create a new tile for water to properly drain.

As mentioned previously, most homeowners choose to install a new interior footer tile instead of an exterior. This is mostly due to the cost of excavating the entire exterior of a home including landscaping, driveways, porches and any other obstacles that block access to the clogged footer tile. Both interior and exterior are reliable solutions, but interior tends to be more common.

As shown in the image, an interior waterproofing system is installed along the inside basement walls. To create it, a trench is dug and jackhammered, drainage pipe is installed at a slope and then insulated with gravel. To help keep out additional moisture, a vapor barrier is added to the basement walls.

Sump Pump

All the water that enters the interior footer tile is sent to a water pump (sump pump) and discharged outside, away from the home. The discharged water is typically sent to a downspout or drainage line in the yard to ensure water doesn’t cycle back next to the house.

To ensure the interior waterproofing system is always reliable, a battery backup is connected to the water pump so that even during a power outage water is still sent away from the basement.

sump pump diagram

3. Exterior Waterproofing

The third method of basement waterproofing is done from the exterior of a home. As mentioned earlier, exterior waterproofing, although effective, can be extremely costly. Exterior systems require heavy excavation, trench drains, and membrane coatings on foundation walls around the perimeter of a home. Along with the high costs, another downside to exterior waterproofing is that exterior drain tiles can become clogged overtime and ruin the integrity of the system. 

Do You Have Additional Questions About the Types of Basement Waterproofing?

Our team at Wise Waterproofing has seen and done it all. We’d be happy to answer your questions and talk you through your options.  Contact Us today and schedule a free inspection to get started.

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