The Three Ways We Stop Basement Water Leaks

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The Three Ways We Stop Basement Water Leaks

There are three primary ways that basement waterproofing is achieved: through interior wall and floor sealant, interior water drainage and exterior water drainage with sealants. Together, these tactics and procedures keep water out of basements, keep mold from development and keep your important investment valuable!

Basements end up with water leaking in because of the natural force known as hydrostatic pressure. Any time a structure is built at ground level or below, like a basement, waterproofing is needed thanks to this force. The earth holds a large amount of water underground and in the soil, and subtle changes in weather patterns can cause this water table to rise and fall. Homes built in low-lying areas tend to need a greater degree of protection from water damage because the soil is closer to the water table. That being said, all homes face the potential for damage from water.

To stop the naturally present water from getting in, the first step is interior and floor sealants. In poured concrete foundations like most residents have in the Overland Park and Kansas City areas, the sealant of choice is usually an epoxy or urethane. These sealants start out as liquid and rapidly harden in the shape of anywhere they’re placed. Using high pressure, cracks are filled with the material all the way through to the exterior. The materials form a very hard, yet sometimes slightly flexible, material. This completely cuts off the pathway for the water to enter the home.

sump pump

A sump pump like this can be used for basement drainage.

Drainage is the second way to provide waterproofing for a building. While not technically “waterproofing,” drainage is an accepted way to permanently prevent damage from water. When a proper drainage system is installed, the water never enters the home because it never has the opportunity to pass the foundation. This is achieved through proper building techniques and the use of natural drainage or a sump pump.

The final way to keep water out of your basement is through exterior sealants. In order to provide external waterproofing, the foundation must be excavated to the footings. A waterproofing membrane is then added onto the exterior of the foundation and directs water away using weeping tiles and other types of drainage. Over the past decade or so, polymer compounds have also been developed that are highly effective in preventing water seepage. While they are applied much the same way the interior sealants are except from the outside, they’re chemically more resilient – they’re not affected by soil pH, have low enough viscosity to be sprayed, and are semi-flexible. These sealants tend to last the life of the building!

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