A wet basement is a serious problem for a home and can be a constant nuisance. It's even more problematic if you want to convert the basement into a storage or living area. There are several approaches to waterproofing a basement but they all fall into two main categories: interior or exterior. Here's a look at what's involved with exterior waterproofing methods.
Digging A Trench For A Drain
The goal of an exterior waterproofing system is to keep water from ever reaching the foundation. One way to accomplish this is to bury a drain underground that catches water and moves it to the street or another area away from the house. This requires digging a trench in the yard that is deeper than the foundation. A drain is placed in the trench that has slots on top to collect water. Water that flows toward your house falls into the drain so your home is protected. The drain is covered with soil and grass so it is out of sight.
Applying A Waterproof Coating To The Walls
Another way to keep water out of the basement is to treat the exterior walls. This might be done alone or along with installing a French drain. To do this, the soil has to be dug away from the exterior walls so they are exposed. The walls are then cleaned and dried in preparation for the coating. The waterproof coating might be sprayed on or it could be a membrane that is attached. The goal is to prevent water from seeping through the concrete due to the hydrostatic pressure of the water underground.
Fixing Drainage Problems
Another aspect of exterior waterproofing is to fix drainage problems. If water flows toward your house and pools near the foundation when it rains, that can contribute to a wet basement. This problem can be fixed by changing the slope of your property in some way. This could involve moving earth around or it might be accomplished by changing the landscaping near your house. Another thing to check is the gutter system because it can cause a wet basement if it dumps water near your foundation rather than directing it away from the house.
Exterior waterproofing methods are often enough on their own to fix wet basement problems, but they can also be combined with interior treatments such as installing a drain and sump pump if indicated. An assessment by a waterproofing professional will probably be necessary to figure out the cause of your wet basement and the best way to fix the problem.