There are a few different types of waterproofing sealers that can be used to waterproof basement floors and walls. Which waterproofing sealer is best for your basement will depend on several factors including the type of basement you have, the current condition of your basement, and your reason for waterproofing.
Basement Waterproofing Sealers for Poured Concrete Basements
Waterproofing poured concrete is fairly straight forward. You have walls, a floor, and coveseams (where the floor and wall meet, and where the walls meet). There are a few ways in which you can go about waterproofing a poured concrete basement. The best method for waterproofing will depend heavily on your reason for sealing.
- Preventative Waterproofing: If the basement has no issues and moisture isn’t a concern, then you want to use a penetrating sealer. The most common type of waterproofing sealer is a silicate sealer. Silicate sealers penetrate into the concrete where they chemically react to form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores. This barrier resembles a hardened crystal-like structure. It reduces the size of the pores, and therefore reduces the flow of water and moisture through them. Silicate sealers are great for stopping concrete dusting, and reducing water and moisture that comes through the pores. In many cases, once the basement walls and floor have been sealed with a silicate sealer, a water repellent sealer or acrylic sealer is then applied. Water repellent sealers help to further reduce moisture, and acrylic sealers help to enhance the look of the concrete with a clear or colored gloss finish.
- Finishing the Basement: Any issues can arise at anytime when it comes to basements. Cracks can develop and water or moisture can become an issue. How you choose to waterproof your basement in this case will depend on how confident you are in the condition of your concrete. Some people choose to apply sealers for preventative waterproofing, while other people want to make sure that if water or moisture becomes in issue, it won’t come through. One important thing to keep in mind when it comes to waterproofing is that sealers reduce and coatings stop. The only way to stop water and moisture from coming through the concrete is with a moisture mitigating epoxy coating.
- Reducing Moisture: The best waterproofing sealer for reducing moisture will depend entirely on how much moisture is coming through the concrete. The best way to determine how much moisture is coming through the concrete is with a moisture test. Once you have a good understanding of how much moisture is coming through, you can choose a waterproofing sealer. If you have little to no moisture you can use a preventative waterproofing sealer to reduce moisture or an epoxy coating to stop moisture. If you have high moisture then you want to use an epoxy coating that is designed for the level of moisture present.
- Stopping Water: How you stop water will depend on the source of water. If you have water coming in through a crack then you want to use a crack repair kit. If the crack only leaks when it is raining, you can often get away with a silicone-type of repair material. If the crack continuously leaks, or if you want a professional-grade repair product, then you want a hydrophobic polyurethane injection kit. If you have water coming through your concrete but there aren’t any cracks present, then things start to get a little more complicated. If water only comes up through the concrete when it rains then you may simply have an issue with exterior drainage. If this is the case you can dry a sodium silicate densifier, multiple treatments, to restrict water flow through the pores. In some cases this is enough, but in more severe cases exterior waterproofing may be required. If you have water constantly coming up through the concrete, and not just when it is raining, you should consider hiring a basement waterproofing company to determine the source of the water.
Interior basement waterproofing is never a bad idea, but exterior waterproofing can sometimes be just as important. There are a few steps that can be taken to help reduce chances of water becoming an issue:
- Make sure there is proper drainage set up around your home to redirect water away from the foundation. If you have gutters, make sure the gutters aren’t draining toward the house.
- Seal the exposed part of the foundation with a water repellent sealer or a coating to stop water from coming in during rainstorms, or when irrigation water hits the house. If you can, dig down a foot or so and seal that as well.
- If you notice water accumulating during or after a rainstorm on specific areas of the foundation, work to fill in those areas with dirt, or redirect the water away from the foundation.
- If the home is a new build, consider a tar or membrane type coating on the entire exterior of the foundation before it is filled in with dirt.
Basement Waterproofing Sealers for Cinderblock, Concrete Block, Stone, and Granite Foundations
The same rules apply when it comes to waterproofing cinderblock, concrete block, stone, and granite foundations, but waterproofing can be a bit more complicated.
- Cinderblock: When it comes to cinderblock, the cinderblocks and grout become an issue. Water can travel through the block and accumulate at the bottom of the wall. While sealers can be used and sometimes work very well, often times repairs will need to be made to the block and the block will need to be sealed from the outside. If you are unsure, you can always start with a sealer and if the sealer doesn’t work, consider exterior waterproofing or contact a waterproofing company.
- Concrete Block: Waterproofing concrete block is a little easier than waterproofing cinderblock, but it still has its issues. Concrete block walls are typically dense, not hollow, so the block won’t fill up with water. There is still grout present which means water can travel through the grout lines. It is important to make sure the grout is in tact. You can always start with a sealer and if the sealer doesn’t work, consider exterior waterproofing or contact a waterproofing company.
- Stone and Granite Foundations: Waterproofing sealers can be used but their success rate isn’t as high as when applied to concrete. Sealers can be used, but if the problems still persist, you may need consider exterior waterproofing or contact a waterproofing company.
The Use of Sump Pumps in Basement Waterproofing
Sump pumps are great at removing water that has entered into the basement to prevent flooding. These are often used as a back-up method and are never a bad idea, especially if water has been or could be an issue.