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A basement is a wonderful feature for a home to have. Not only does it give you a place for bulky HVAC equipment and water heaters, but it can also be finished to provide additional living spaces. Of course, before a basement can fulfill either of these tasks, it must be fully waterproofed to eliminate the risk of flooding and/or water damage.
Many people struggle when it comes to understanding the array of options for waterproofing a basement. While hiring a reputable construction company to help guide you through the process is undoubtedly the best thing you can do, having a basic understanding of common waterproofing techniques is also important. Here are the basics of two basement waterproofing strategies.
An alarming percentage of basement water leaks are directly related to window wells. For those who don't know, a window well is a cubical excavation that serves to let daylight in through a basement window. Window wells represent such a problematic leak site, thanks to the fact that they provide a convenient place for water to build up. Given enough time, such standing water will almost always find a way into your basement.
There are three main strategies for preventing basement leaks stemming from window wells:
Clogged gutters are a frequent cause of leaks that occur in or around a window well. Should a gutter become clogged directly above a well, it will allow a stream of water to fall right down into it. Attending to clogs in your gutters and downspouts is, thus, a critical part of eliminating such leaks.
No matter how well maintained your gutters are, there will always be some water that finds its way into your window wells. Window drains are one of the best ways to manage and divert such water. A window drain system functions like a tiny French drain, with a perforated pipe located just beneath the surface of the soil in the window well. This pipe accumulates excess water and transports it safely away.
Finally, those who want to prevent any water whatsoever from getting into their window well should consider having well covers installed. These curved plastic shells effectively keep water—and everything else—out of a well. And because they are constructed of clear plastic, they still allow sunlight to access your basement.
Addressing window well problems will only get you so far when it comes to basement waterproofing. If your property is situated on an unfavorable slope, groundwater may end up congregating around the outsides of your foundation. Over time, such water will manage to penetrate into your basement through networks of foundation cracks.
Water can also penetrate a basement foundation through the phenomenon known as hydrostatic pressure. A negative side waterproofing system does not eliminate the threat of hydrostatic pressure. In other words, water may still be able to get into the foundation walls—but it won't be able to get all the way through. That's because the negative side system forms a water impermeable barrier on the inside of the wall.
There are two main types of negative side waterproofing sealers: cementitious and penetrating. As its name would imply, a cementitious sealer has a cement-based makeup. The cement element allows the sealer to adhere tightly to the walls. Various acrylic additives give the sealer its waterproofing abilities.
A penetrating sealer is similar to a cementitious sealer in that it is painted onto the basement walls. It also contains acrylic or latex waterproofing materials. Yet it forms a hardened shell, thanks to the presence of certain crystalline substances. These allow the sealer to penetrate much more deeply into the wall, thus boosting the level of protection.
Regardless of your future plans for your basement, keeping it free from flooding and water damage should rank as one of your highest home priorities. For more information about the ways in which you can prevent water from getting into your basement, feel free to contact the waterproofing pros at Bayshore Construction, Concrete, Waterproofing & Foundation Repair Specialialist.