4 Ways to Waterproof a Basement

There are many ways to waterproof a basement, but in this post I’m going to share 4 of them. I’m dividing the different methods into two categories interior and exterior.

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

The concept of exterior basement waterproofing is pretty self explanatory, but to be sure we are all on the same page, exterior basement waterproofing is waterproofing that is done around the exterior of your foundation.

Rainwater management

ways to waterproof a basementIf you are lucky enough to not have a problem with a high water table, you may be able to get away with just managing your rainwater better. Since this method is the cheapest and easiest to accomplish, this method should be your first step to basement waterproofing/basement water management. In some cases better management of rainwater will leave you with a dry basement. Here are 3 ways to manage the rainwater that flows off your roof and into your foundation.

  1. Install gutters
  2. Install a gutter drain system – This will help you to get the water away from your foundation and further into your yard or other drainage field.
  3. Create a french drain system to help keep other access water away from your foundation.

Traditional Exterior Excavation and Waterproofing

Commonly known just as external basement waterproofing, this method is probably the most expensive since it requires excavation around the foundation all the way down to the footer. A waterproofing material is applied to the foundation and a french drain is placed below the footing in order to drain water away from the foundation.

Bentonite Clay Basement Waterproofing

This method seems to be the least common method of basement waterproofing. It is usually done externally, but can also be done internally. From my understanding the service is more affordable since there isn’t as much work involved. The video below was the only video that I could find on Bentonite basement waterproofing.

Interior Basement Waterproofing (water management)

Interior basement waterproofing companies employ various techniques to waterproof or manage the water that finds it’s way to the basement. The techniques are very similar to each other with small variances. I’m going to try my best to explain what some of the variances are.

Nearly all interior basement waterproofing techniques use some kind of internal french drain. (If a french drain is installed, a sump pump needs to be installed as well.) Some companies place their french drain on top of the footing while others place their french drain at the bottom of the footing. There are arguments to which is better. I personally lean towards the belief that french drains should be below the footing. ┬áHere’s a convincing video to why that its.

Some interior basement waterproofing companies use a vapor barrier to channel any water that seeps through your foundation down to the french drain while others do not. One company that I interviewed removes the paint off the inside wall of the basement, sprays the walls with a sealer, and then installs a vapor barrier.

Which Basement Waterproofing Method is Best?

For the past 10 years I’ve been studying up on the many ways to waterproof a basement. The only answer I can give you with almost 100% certainty is you need to do your own homework. Every homeowner should do their best to manage the rainwater that finds it’s way to their foundation. Then you’re left with the decision between traditional exterior basement waterproofing, bentonite clay waterproofing, and interior waterproofing.

In some cases exterior basement waterproofing can’t be performed due to the lack of room between the homeowners foundation and the neighbors foundation. Sometimes there are other obstructions. At this point, I don’t have much to say about bentonite clay. If you do decide to go the interior route, be sure that you know exactly what the contractor plans to do. Also be sure that you are comfortable with their method. Many companies have a lifetime warranty that passes onto the next homeowner.

If you need help finding a basement waterproofing company near you, click here!

For some homeowners the cost of exterior and the risks involved see