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Waterproofing Your Basement
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


Are you caught between a comfortable basement and a wet spot? Sometimes the only thing stopping homeowners from a basement remodel are the problems associated with built up moisture. Waterproofing your basement can be done without wasted time and effort if you attack the problems in the right ways.

Generally, the main moisture issues in basements are related to leaks and seepage coming through your basements walls and floors and also condensation. There are several causes which may or not include poor workmanship, shifting foundation, cracks in the walls and floors, and built up water pressure from the outside. Rest assured, there are ways to solve these issues.

It is very common for basement walls and floors to let moisture in through cracks and holes. Before you can begin waterproofing, you must first fill these cracks and holes. Small hairline cracks can usually be filled with a waterproofing paint or sealer. However, larger cracks will need to be repaired before you begin to waterproof. You can usually mix a mortar of cement and sand to patch these cracks.

If you come to find out that the water seeping through your wall is a result of outside pressure, you may have a larger problem on your hands. This usually requires you to cut out a dovetail of the entire cracked portion and then repair.

After patches and repairs have been made, you can begin to waterproof the wall and floors. You want to make sure that the walls and floors have been swept and vacuumed, removing all dust and dirt. Also, you will need to remove any paint from walls for most waterproofing mixes will not adhere to such surfaces. Next, apply a fine spray to moisten the walls. You want the walls to be damp but not covered with water.

Once you have prepared the damaged area, you can apply your waterproofing mix. Follow the instruction manual with all mixes. Generally you will need to add water. Start off by applying the mixture from top to bottom. Focus mainly on the problem areas. Once the mixture has settled and dried, apply a layer of water and let that soak in over night. Repeat these steps for a second coat.

Additional ways to control seepage include readjusting gutters, re-grading the ground around your home, and replacing walkways and patios. If this doesn't solve your problem, you may need to invest in a sump pump and drain system. If you come to find out that your moisture problem is a result of condensation, you can usually limit this problem by opening windows during hot summer days to let in fresh air.

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