Home Improvement

Can You Waterproof a Finished Basement?

Here in Toronto, water in the basement is an ongoing issue for most homeowners.  The weather, age of homes, as well as underground waterways can cause havoc on a basement.  But due to the price and scarcity of land in Toronto, many homeowners want to finish their basement to create additional living space for their family.  Water can be very damaging to a basement and if you have ever had to hire a water damage repair company in Toronto, you know the cleanup is very expensive.

The problem arises when a homeowner finished their basement but failed to waterproof their basement before finishing it.

A finished basement can add a lot of extra living space and luxury to a home. However, if you’ve gone to the time, trouble and expense sprucing the area up you’ll probably want to know if a you can waterproof a finished basement.


Can You Waterproof a Finished Basement?

Yes, you can.  If you’ve already finished your basement it can still be waterproofed to keep moisture and water out of the room. This is important as you’ll want to protect your furnishings, electronics, lighting, carpets and other goods etc. In addition, it can be waterproofed in most cases without having to tear the basement apart. However, it’s always better to waterproof the basement before you start renovating it. That may not be possible though if you bought the home with a finished basement that hasn’t been waterproofed.

Non-structural cracks in the wall cause most water-related problems in concrete basements and these are usually repaired permanently from the outside of the home or temporarily from the inside. Most outside waterproofing repairs involve excavation and are costlier than indoor methods. These outdoor repairs can include the installation of waterproof membranes after the wall has been  excavated to the footings. Asphalt-modified polyurethane can then be applied to the walls to form a water barrier.

The membrane method is different than “damp-proofing,” as that consists of spraying a thin coating on the foundation while under construction to help prevent moisture and condensation. If the surrounding groundwater around the foundation is unusually high an exterior weeping tile system can be used with the membrane.

The drain system features perforated pipes which are buried in washed gravel next to the home’s footings. The drain tile is designed to relieve pressure from saturated soil by carrying the ground water away to a sump pump which then disposes it. Strong drainage board is typically installed on the structure’s walls to help protect the membrane while carrying water to the drain tile. Also, an exterior membrane may be utilized when moisture invades a finished basement over the top of a foundation wall or via porous concrete.


Practice Good Water Management

Most homeowners can also practice good water management habits throughout the year by keeping the liquid a good distance from the house to begin with. This can be done by keeping keeping rain gutters cleared from debris and leaves and make sure your downspouts are extended a minimum of 10 feet from the structure. You may even consider having underground downspout extensions installed.

Another way to waterproof a finished basement is from the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. This is done by digging a small hole next to the foundation where a crack is present. The hole goes down to the footings and can be filled in with granular clay as it absorbs water from the soil and then hardens to form a permanent water barrier.

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