Basement leaks can lead to a wide range of structural problems for a house, including highly expensive forms of foundation damage. Thus it is of the utmost importance that water be kept where it belongs—on the outside of your home. If you would like to learn more about basement waterproofing strategies, read on. This article will provide an overview of some of the most common techniques being used today.
Positive Side vs. Negative Side
The most important distinction when it comes to basement waterproofing is the difference between positive and negative side. Positive side waterproofing strategies are those that focus on the side from which the water is coming. In other words, these barriers act to stop the flow of water before it is able to enter the structure.
Negative side waterproofing, on the other hand, involves the application of water tight barriers on the interior side of the basement walls. In general, positive side waterproofing is considered a more effective long term strategy. Yet for pre-existing structures the installation can be much more invasive and expensive. Thus negative side waterproofing is often more attractive when considering the trade-off between effectiveness and installation cost.
Positive Side Solutions
There are two principal types of positive side waterproofing. The first, which does not require excavation, involves the injection of sodium bentonite into the soil around the foundation walls. As this fine powder absorbs water, it wells to many times its original size, thus forming a naturally water-impermeable barrier. It is also effective at finding its way into cracks along the foundation wall, effectively plugging them against the intrusion of water.
The second method of positive side waterproofing involves excavating the soil around the foundation. The exterior walls are then covered with a special waterproofing fabric, which is cemented into place using an asphalt-derived pitch. The result is a thick, highly waterproof sheathing. Alternately, a sheet of water-tight polyethlyene can be affixed to the outside of the foundation, thus achieving a similar effect.
Negative Side Solutions
Negative side waterproofing involves the application of various coatings and/or sealers to the inside of your basement walls. Unpainted concrete and/or masonry walls can be effectively sealed against water using a concrete coating. This will form a thick outer layer on the wall, effectively plugging any holes or gaps that had been allowing the entrance of water.
Painted walls can be waterproofed through the addition of a new layer of waterproofing paint. These acrylic-based paints differ from regular wall paint in that they adhere in a much thicker layer. This provides a barrier with enough strength to resist the pressure of water moving hydrostatically through the foundation wall.
For more information, contact companies like Central Penn Waterproofing.