Home repair is one of life’s necessary evils for homeowners and, whether it’s a do-it-yourself project or a job for a pro, it’s not much fun.
What is even less fun is making the same repair over and over again, or paying a contractor to fix permanently what the homeowner tried to do and failed. Quite often, the reason that DIY repair projects don’t work out is that the proper materials aren't available to the general public, resulting in use of a product intended for other purposes.
This tends to happen a lot with basement waterproofing products because the materials that professional contractors use generally aren’t available to the layman and because the products that are out there in the big box store or shown on TV infomercials just don’t cut it.
Even the most skilled DIY-er homeowner must keep a sharp eye out when attempting to buy basement waterproofing products.
There are lots of DIY basement waterproofing products that look pretty tempting but the wise homeowner will resist temptation and avoid a lot of aggravation.
Waterproofing Paint – This seems to be the first thing people reach for when they discover water in their basement. Waterproofing paint may have some value as a sealer on a concrete block wall but it is far from the cure-all its marketers claim. Waterproofing paint will create a thin membrane on the surface of the wall but does nothing to seal cracks and stop seepage. In fact, as seepage continues from the outside, the paint will only trap water underneath and will eventually fail and begin to peel off the wall.
Hydraulic Cement – Any powdered cement product is “hydraulic,” but the stuff sold under that name has additives that cause it to cure faster than normal mortar and set up in wet conditions. The product has its uses but plugging leaks in a basement isn’t one of them. Without aggregate that gives strength to concrete, hydraulic cement is weak and prone to cracking, especially during minor foundation movement. Also, it’s a surface patch at best and doesn’t completely fill cracks and openings.
Crack Repair Kits – A little digging online will turn up a number of polyurethane crack repair kits that sell for 1/3 to ½ the price of a professional job. Is it the same materials that pros use? Maybe, maybe not. Will your average DIYer get it right the first time without making a huge mess? Probably not. Does it have a lifetime warranty like a professional job? Nope.
Roofing Tar – Apparently, somebody once saw a waterproofing contractor apply an exterior waterproofing membrane to a foundation and decided that any black goop would do the job. Roofing tar is for roofs. It isn’t formulated for use underground or on concrete and will wear away quickly and provide marginal protection before it does. Oh, and the “experts” on the internet who advise putting thin plastic sheet over it? Waste of time and money.
Waterproofing Sprays – There are probably uses for the rubberized aerosol sprays advertised on TV infomercials but keeping your basement dry isn’t one of them. Basically, this stuff is waterproofing paint but worse, considering that the spray can lays down a very thin coat and costs as much as a gallon of the leading brand.
There are lots of good DIY materials for various home repairs but it’s best to leave basement waterproofing to the professionals. At U.S. Waterproofing, we use the best materials and the most current technology to ensure that our customers' basements stay dry permanently. Why not ask for our free advice before you attempt it yourself?
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