Basement Waterproofing Solutions – Fact vs. Fiction (Part 2)


Basement Waterproofing Solutions – Fact vs. Fiction (Part 2)

When I started this blog earlier this year, one of our most popular posts talked about common misconceptions about basement waterproofing solutions.  That was fun to write because those “fact vs. fiction” topics are things we talk about amongst ourselves in the industry.  The blog was a perfect platform to share with the public the “inside baseball” of the basement waterproofing industry. 

Thousands of people all over the web read that blog, but my mission of educating the public continues.  We still get calls and e-mails asking if “waterproof paint is going to take care of my basement seepage problem?”  The answer is always the same, it won’t. 

Don’t get me wrong; we are seeing results.  Many of our customers have told us that they have learned from our blog and have a better understanding of basement waterproofing solutions as a result. As I said in our very first blog post, “My goal with this blog is to use it as a tool to educate homeowners, architects, contractors, property managers, building engineers, home inspectors, realtors and anyone else hoping to tap into our knowledge base.”

In pursuit of that goal, I thought I’d take a shot at another round of basement waterproofing misconceptions.  These too might sound like reasonable solutions to an average homeowner but, as you have probably guessed, they’re not!

More Basement Waterproofing "Solutions" We Often Hear:

“I’m just going to patch the crack with hydraulic cement...”

Do yourself a favor and don’t try that.  In order to permanently seal a crack, you must either stop it with exterior waterproofing (known as “positive side”) or seal the crack with polyurethane or epoxy crack injection from the inside so the crack is filled and sealed all the way through to the outside soil.  Hydraulic cement has no strength and can easily re-crack.  It’s just a temporary patch and won’t hold up over the long run. 

“The joint between my driveway (or sidewalk) and my house just needs to be caulked…”

It’s quite common in Chicago and close-in suburbs to have driveways or sidewalks placed directly against the foundation wall of a home.  Caulking has many applications, but it isn’t commonly used by basement waterproofing professionals – because it doesn’t work for waterproofing!  In all likelihood, the source of your basement leak is beneath your driveway. 

“It only leaked once so I left it alone…”

Wishful thinking can be fun, but I don’t think you’ll be able to wish yourself to a dry basement.  If your basement leaked once, chances are it will leak again.  We all know Murphy’s Law: “If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.”  Whoever Murphy was, he’s the poster boy for hopeful homeowners.

“The city just fixed the sewer in the street...”

Great!  So what does that have to do with the price of milk?  Nothing!  Your home’s plumbing and sewer systems also have nothing to do with basement waterproofing.  A new sanitary or storm sewer system may make your life better in some ways but, if you have cracks in your foundation or seepage between your foundation walls and basement floor, you’re still in for a wet basement.

“I have a whole-house generator. I don’t need a back-up sump pump…”

Whole-house generators are great, especially in the Chicago area where violent summer storms often knock out power.  They can keep a sump pump running during a power outage but:

A dead sump pump won’t work no matter how much power you give it.  Sump pumps are mechanical gadgets that wear out or sometimes just fail, especially if they run frequently over long periods of time.  A back-up sump pump runs only when primary pumps fail or during power outages and is built to last.

Also, not all “whole-house” generators are really “whole-house.”  Many home back-up generator systems are designed to power only selected circuits during an emergency and units designed to take over an entire home power system are very expensive.  Your sump pump won’t work if its circuit isn’t connected to the generator.

Anyway, you get the picture.  As always, if you have any basement waterproofing questions or problems, feel free to contact U.S. Waterproofing.


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