Basement Waterproofing Solutions - Fact vs. Fiction

Basement Waterproofing Solutions - Fact vs. Fiction

Over the past 50+ years, we’ve heard hundreds of theories on what causes basement waterproofing problems and how to go about solving them.  Some of them sound quite plausible to the untrained ear.  And some are utterly absurd.

I’ll leave out the absurdities (as entertaining as they may be!) and instead focus on those that seem more realistic.  Many of them actually originate from people who you would think are “in the know”, such as plumbers, tradesmen and architects.  Not to throw them under the bus; some are just misguided.  You wouldn’t want to call a waterproofing company to unclog your toilet or design a new addition.  Basement waterproofing is a specialized trade that takes years to fully master.

Our company often participates in home improvement shows.  It’s a good way for us to rub elbows with the community.  We serve fresh coffee and chat with homeowners about their basement seepage issues.  It’s a good time. 

Basement Waterproofing Solutions We Often Hear:

“I just need a sump pump…”

A sump pump is a great thing to have.  But it doesn’t do anything for seepage through foundation walls.  Nor does it do anything for solving foundation seepage problems if a drain tile system isn’t connected into it. 

“I just need to clean my gutters…”

This is a great home maintenance tip.  If your gutters are kept clean and don’t tend to overflow, they probably aren’t the culprit.  You may actually get more mileage by having an underground downspout extension installed.

“I was going to pick up some waterproof paint…”

This is one of the worst ideas.  Painting the interior foundation walls will just trap the water.  It might help a little bit with moisture and condensation (if your home was not built with foundation damp proofing), but expect no more than that. 

“I just need to rod-out my drain tiles…”

That might be the case.  First you have to determine if you even have a drain tile system.  A good place to start is by looking inside your sump pit for a drain inlet pipe.  Assuming you found one, and your suspicion is correct, it becomes a challenge to unclog the system.  Rodding rarely alleviates the problem.  And there’s nothing stopping the drain tile system from getting clogged again. 

“My house sits on higher ground than my neighbors…”

This one sounds logical and it might hold some water.  Keep in mind, while some of the rainwater will flow downhill, water will still be absorbed into the earth that surrounds your foundation.  If your foundation wall is cracked, or your drain tiles are clogged, you might need to throw that idea right out the window.

Wonder what’s the proper way to go about fixing a basement seepage problem?  Feel free to pay us a visit at the next home show.  Coffee is on the house.


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