Although it is impossible to have a completely waterproof basement with zero incidents of water infiltration because unforeseen circumstances can always occur, there are many basement waterproofing safeguards you can install in your home to make basement flooding extremely unlikely. There are many DIY options and some where you will want basement waterproofing specialists.
How to Waterproof a basement on a budget
Here are some affordable ways to waterproof a basement:
Gutter maintenance and downspout extenders
Foundation crack maintenance
Underground downspout extensions
Add a drainpipe
Put in a french drain
Floor drain add ons
Install a dry well
Gutter Maintenance and Downspout Extenders
Clogged or broken gutters are a common cause for basement flooding and water damage. The job of the gutters on your house is to funnel water away from your home and any clogs or cracks on your gutters do not allow them to do that. An easy basement waterproofing tactic is to inspect your gutters regularly. If they need to be cleaned out or repaired, act as soon as you notice the problem.
Sometimes the location of where downspouts release the water gathered by your gutter system is actually creating a flooding problem in your basement. One way to fix this is to install downspout extenders. They are one of the easiest and most popular basement waterproofing products to purchase, because installation is simple and they effectively move the water further away from your foundation. Instead of pushing the water toward your basement, they
will take it to a better position with safe drainage.
Extenders that can be folded in or moved out of the way are a good option to consider if the extenders are located in a high traffic area. They could block access to a portion of your property or become a tripping hazard. Metal extenders are recommended over plastic extenders because they are more reliable. As an added note, your downspouts should never flow into the public sewer system.
Underground Downspout Extensions
Underground PVC pipe extensions are also a great basement waterproofing method. They can be installed directly from your downspouts to drain water even further away from your foundation without the addition of anything you can see above ground. This process can be reasonably priced if the conditions provide for it.
A simple basement waterproofing method is installing a plastic vapor barrier at the base of your flooring. Use waterproof tape to tape the plastic between the pad under your carpet and the concrete floor. Place the plastic underneath the baseboards around the edges of your walls if possible, because water can rise up walls and this extra protection can go a long way in waterproofing basement walls.
Floor Drain Add Ons
Attaching a flood drain standpipe to floor drains in your basement will provide a layer of basement waterproofing. It does this by sending any water that ends up flowing from the public system toward your house into the pipe and not out into your basement. You can also install a check valve into the floor drain, which will close off if the water backs up to a certain point in the drain.
Foundation Crack Maintenance
Due to a variety of factors, cracks can appear in foundation over time which can be one way that water can get in and flood your basement. The basement waterproofing solution here is to fill those cracks with polyurethane foam. The sooner you spot the cracks the less expensive this process with be. If cracks are left unnoticed for long periods of time, they will just continue to get larger and let in more water. Filling these cracks on your own is not recommended for a DIY basement waterproofing project, because reputable professionals will be able to offer a lifetime warranty and your money will go farther that route.
Add a Drainpipe
If there is an area in your yard where water pools after heavy rain, this can be a sign of a significant drainage issue that could eventually reach your house. Installing a drainpipe in this area to reroute that excess water will improve your chances of maintaining a waterproof basement. This involves putting in a drain in a saturated area, attaching it to a catch basin, and connecting that to a PVC pipe that runs along a downward slope into an outlet that is flush
to the ground.
Put in a French Drain
A french drain gathers water and disperses it over a large area underground. Installing a french drain entails digging a trench in a water logged area, placing a perforated pipe in that trench, surrounding the pipe with gravel to allow water to easily flow through the area, and re-cover the top of the trench with the displaced dirt. If you are up for the challenge, this is a potential DIY basement waterproofing option.
install a dry well
The point of a dry well is to slow the rate of water absorption in an area of your lawn to avoid oversaturation. The way this is accomplished is by digging a large hole in the ground and placing a large plastic container with many small holes in it inside of that hole. The container must be surrounded by gravel to allow for drainage dispersal around it. This should store a significant amount of water and release it at a slow enough rate that the surrounding ground can handle it and not flood.
Since basements commonly have high humidity and moisture levels, one simple way to continually pump moisture out of your basement is to install a dehumidifier. Setting it up so that it drains into a basement drain will save you the time of repeatedly going down to clean out the collection pan, which if left to overflow can create a mold problem and foil your basement waterproofing tactics.
How to Waterproof a Basement
With Pricier Options
Personal flood control system
A personal flood control system can be a very expensive basement waterproofing option. The installation process consists of putting a check valve between the system in your house and the city sewer system as well as a large cistern under your yard. This protects your house from any backup in the municipal system, because when there is a clog and water starts flowing backwards, the check valves close your pipes so that none of that water flows back into your home. When those check valves are closed off, you can still go about your same water usage in your home. This is because the water flowing from your home can be stored in the cistern until it is later pumped into the public system when everything returns to normal.
Regrading your lawn
This route is not ideal, but if you have the finances to make it happen it will definitely improve your basement waterproofing efforts and help for home resale value. If the ground surrounding your home slopes toward your house, you are extremely vulnerable to basement flooding. The constant pressure on your foundation every time there is precipitation will eventually lead to trouble. It is possible to hire a team to regrade your lawn or make adjustments in the terrain so the water has a new, safer path to follow.
Waterproof Basement When Building a New House/Finishing Basement
If you have the chance to start from square one and literally build your basement and home from the ground up, there are some additional things you should consider in terms of basement waterproofing.
The first thing to consider is putting in a water barrier, which is a layer of rubber along the outside and bottom of the basement. This will help protect from underground water infiltration through basement walls and floors.
For further protection, cover the outside walls of the basement in a tar-based emulsion.
The water barrier is needed in conjunction with a drainage system to move water away from the building. If you do not have this system in place, the water could build up and break down the concrete foundation. Cover drain pipes with mesh to keep out debris and prevent clogs.
Basement floors should also have a slight slope toward drains and sump pumps so that any excess water will flow out on its own.
When you get to the basement finishing stage, there are some additional precautions you can take to reduce your risk of getting water in your basement:
Space Between Frame and Foundation
One way to do that is to leave a gap between your basement wall frame and the foundation. This will help protect your wood frame if small amounts of water do make it through the foundation, as wood cannot withstand water damage as well as concrete.
When it is time for drywall installation, the actual drywall should begin about an inch above the floor. This is because once water reaches drywall it can quickly spread upwards and the material itself cannot handle much water exposure before needing complete replacement. You can cover the gap with baseboards andthis way if there is some flooding you are more likely to only have to replace baseboards instead of entire chunks of drywall around the room.
Basement Waterproofing Cost
The cost of basement waterproofing can range between $300 and $30,000. The price tag can vary significantly depending on a few key factors including:
- Location type of job being done.
- The number of square feet needing the waterproofing.
- Rates fluctuate across the United States because the cost of materials
fluctuates as well as labor costs.
- The job type has a significant effect on the cost because there are a wide range of techniques that may be involved. For example, just filling cracks in basement foundation will cost a lot less than installing a backyard flood control system.
- The actual size of the basement or the size of the area needing the waterproofing directly correlates with service costs.
More Quick Tips
- Do not keep nice furniture or belongings in the basement. That way if there is a surprise flood, then you will not incur as much damage.
- Store your belongings in plastic tubs. If you have to store things in your basement, store them in plastic tubs to better protect them from any water that may fill your basement.
- Raise the plastic tubs off of the ground. If possible, store these plastic tubs off of the ground to reduce the risk of exposing them to water.
Back up sump pump with battery. When the power goes out, sump pumps can fail. It is good to have a battery backup plan in place so that the sump pump does not miss a beat when you need
it the most.
- Stay diligent about crack monitoring. Check your foundation walls and floor for any cracks and use sealant to cover any that you spot.