DIY Basement Waterproofing For Gaithersburg, MD
Do-it-yourself projects are all the rage these days thanks to the DIY Network, Pinterest and other similar influences. Tackling a DIY project can be fun, exciting, frustrating and in some cases it may cost you more to accomplish than it would to hire a professional company. The point of DIY is to save money, but if it isn’t done right the first time around it can definitely be a bigger financial burden.
Hearing the words “wet” and “basement” in one sentence together strikes fear in the hearts of all homeowners who are lucky enough to have a basement. The basement is a wonderful space located beneath the home, sometimes even built underground. If taken care of, this extra room can be used for anything and everything. Have you always dreamed of running your own yoga studio? Why not set it up in your basement? Fantasizing about a home movie theater? The basement is the best place for this addition.
While the basement is a wonderful extra room to take advantage of it is very susceptible to moisture, leaks and flooding. This can be a very bad thing for a home movie theater. It’s important to understand the risks associated with basement leaks and flooding, to learn the warning signs and to educate yourself on how to repair these issues. While there are certain problems that will require professional help, such as foundation and structural repairs, there are many DIY basement waterproofing methods that every homeowner can learn and employ in their basements.
Do-it-Yourself Basement Waterproofing Methods
Signs of a Problem
Before you decide to take on a DIY basement waterproofing project, take the time to inspect your home. Locate the weak spots in the foundation and other places where water is likely to force its way into your home. Water is most likely to come in through the walls, the floors and weak spots in the foundation or through windows. Look for warning signs of moisture such as:
- Condensation on the walls or pipes
- Musty smells or damp and humid air
- Water trickling through the walls
- Staining or blistering wall coverings
- Deterioration of carpet or wood
- Wall cracks
These are just a couple of warning signs to look out for before you begin tackling DIY basement waterproofing. It’s a great idea to install preventive measures ahead of time so you don’t have to deal with moisture issues at all.
DIY Crack Repair
Repairing cracks in concrete is a fairly simple DIY task. Taking care of these pesky cracks makes the concrete look better, it extends the life of the surface and it will prevent water from leaking into your basement. Here is a step-by-step guide on DIY crack repair:
- Clean the floor – make sure there is no dirt or oil on the floor. If there is, use an efficient cleaner around the area. Fillers bond to the cement better if it is clean
- Chisel the crack clean – use a chisel and hammer to get rid of any of the large pieces in the crack. This process also helps to make the inside of the crack bigger than it is at the surface, which in turn helps filler material bond stronger.
- Brush, vacuum and clean – clean up the dust debris that was accumulated during the chiseling process.
- Spread the concrete filler – slowly fill the crack. Check your work to see whether the filler has settled. If it looks loose you may have to add some more.
- Allow it to cure – allow the patch to cure overnight and then check again if it requires any additional patching.
- Seal the concrete – once the crack is patched, it’s a good idea to seal it. Sealants prevent future wear and tear on the concrete such as stains and scuffs. A heavy-duty water based polyurethane sealer is always a good choice and you can easily smooth it on with a broom or a roller depending on how rough or smooth the floor is. Water based sealants generally dry very quickly so you can put on multiple coats of the product in one day.
Keep an eye out for future cracks and make sure to take care of them before they get bigger!
There are simple DIY tasks you can accomplish to help waterproof your basement and there are also complicated projects that you may need help with. Most homeowners who are looking to tackle waterproofing on their own will initially reach for waterproofing paint, which works for a couple of months but it will eventually begin to peel and it will leave your basement a mess. Not to mention that this paint is not very effective at keeping your basement dry.
There are three main methods of basement waterproofing including interior sealants, exterior waterproofing and interior and exterior drainage.
Interior sealants are similar to crack repairs. The most common point of entry for water is through cracks and once you seal these from the inside with a good quality filler then you will block the entryway for moisture and leaks. Although these crack repairs and fillers do prevent small leaks and humidity, they are not a permanent solution nor will they prevent leaks if the hydrostatic pressure (water pressure) is very strong against the foundation of your home.
You can also paint on waterproof coatings on the inside of your basement. These products adhere to concrete walls and can easily solve minor dampness and condensation issues.
Exterior waterproofing prevents water from coming into your basement or home. Although this method can be achieved by an experienced and determined DIY-er, it is highly recommended to seek professional assistance for this method. Exterior waterproofing requires full excavation around the home and to the bottom of the foundation. The walls are sealed with waterproof coatings, which in turn direct water into a drain system such as a French drain.
Installing rain gutters or down spouts are also a form of basement waterproofing. Although it may seem simple and it may be hard to believe, rain gutters are very efficient at keeping your home dry. If you continuously clean your gutters and keep them clear of any debris they will direct any water to the downspouts, which in turn should lead away from your home.
For homes that experience mild to severe basement leaking, a combination of interior and exterior waterproofing will be best. No two homes are the same and each situation is different, so it is important to evaluate your personal situation and pick the right solution for your problem. Interior and exterior waterproofing is a combination of waterproof sealers and drainage systems such as a sump pump.
DIY Sump Pump Installation
Installing a sump pump on your own will definitely save you a lot of money. First off you need to select the best sump pump for your needs – do you want a cast iron pump or a plastic one? You need to pick a pump that is perfect for your basement – not too large and not too small. Make sure it fits in the sump pit and that it won’t continually turn on and off.
Look for a sump pump with an airtight and soundproof lid. An airtight lid will keep humidity and musty odors out of your basement and a soundproof lid will keep the pump quiet.
Installing a sump pump is not easy and it may take a couple of days to complete the installation. You will need to have the proper tools, strength and determination to get the job done. The hardest part of installing sump pumps is breaking through the floor, and if you don’t have a jackhammer then this job may be even tougher than you think.
How to Fix a Wet Basement
So you followed all the steps, took preventive measures and yet you still ended up with a leaky or wet basement. No worries, the cleanup is a hassle, but it’s not hard. If you live in an area that is prone to heavy rain and storms check your basement often so you can catch a problem before it gets really bad.
It’s important to act quickly as soon as you notice water in your basement. Check for any live electricity and shut off power to that part of the house. Try to find out where the water is coming from – through a window, the floor, from a crack in the wall, etc.… Try to catch the water in a bucket before you start your cleanup.
Remove any damaged items and hang them to dry. Make sure to set them in a well-ventilated area so they don’t catch mold. Once you’ve cleared space to work in remove the water from the basement. If there is a lot of standing water the best tool to work with will be a pool pump. If that’s not an option use buckets. Once you’ve thrown out the majority of the water soak up the rest with a mop.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the water use fans for a couple of days to completely dry out the area. When your basement is dry spray it with disinfectant to keep it from developing any dangerous mold or mildew.
Some things to Consider Before Taking on a DIY Project
Before you decide to tackle a DIY basement project make sure to thoroughly research all of your options. Although there are certain projects that can be very pricy when working with a professional company, n ot all basement waterproofing is expensive. Most companies will also offer free consultations.
If you do decide to DIY be prepared with the right tools and equipment. Understand that basement waterproofing is not easy and that it will take a lot of stamina and strength to get the job done right. Also keep in mind that if you don’t achieve optimal results the first time around, it will probably cost you more to fix now than it would have had you hired a professional ahead of time.
Triad Basement Waterproofing has been in business for more than 27 years and we are very familiar with all types of basement problems. If you have any questions regarding waterproofing or basement repair please connect with us so we can assist you.
We are also happy to consult on your project and give you a free estimate as well as 15% off your first work order. Contact us today so we can get started and protect your basement from any future moisture and flooding issues.
We believe that most homeowners who own properties with basements understand that basements need to be maintained and taken care of – especially those who have had to deal with leaky and wet basements.
It’s good that people are becoming aware of the issues and risks associated with leaky basements, the problem now is they are not sure what to do about it.
Should you hire a professional or do it yourself?
Do you need exterior as well as interior waterproofing?
What exactly is a sump pump and what does it do?
Homeowners know that they need to take preventive measures to secure their basements and they need guidance in finding the best basement waterproofing services. There are different methods of basement waterproofing and other preventive measures to take advantage of. This does not mean that you need to invest in every service available for your home.
Every home and basement is unique and there are different solutions to every current or potential problem. Every basement waterproofing company is also different from one another and they adopt different ways of accomplishing their services. Each company will tell you that they are the best and their products work better than the rest.
What to Look for in a Basement Waterproofing Company
Here is what you can do to find the best basement waterproofing services as well as the top basement waterproofing companies to work with.
Although newer companies can be just as efficient as a company that has been in business for more than 50 years, there’s always a sense of peace knowing that the company you are working with has done the job a million times over without any issues. However, you want to be careful about workers who have waterproofed a basement so many times that they do it on autopilot. You don’t want someone who is overly confident and careless.
Referrals & References
Ask your neighbors and friends about their basement waterproofing experiences. Ask for referrals and recommendations. It’s easier to trust someone who has already dealt with basement waterproofing than trying to find someone on your own. This way, you can also blame your neighbor if the job doesn’t go as well as they had described. In order to double check and make sure this doesn’t happen, ask the company to provide a list of references and actually call the people on that list.
There are many review websites you can check to help you find the best basement waterproofing services. Use Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Consumer Reviews or the Better Business Bureau. Anyone can post anything online nowadays so just be smart about your online research. If a company has a five star rating, but only one review then that means you need to do some extra research to confirm the positive review.
Look for a Company that Offers Multiple Services
There are multiple ways to solve basement issues since there are different causes for individual problems. Look for a full service company that offers a wide variety of services such as basement waterproofing, crack repair, sump pump installation, structural repair, drainage solutions and others. Stay away from those who offer a one-size-fits-all solution.
Connect with Industry Workers
Try contacting individuals who are familiar with the industry such as real estate agents, home inspectors and builders. If a basement waterproofing company has a good reputation these individuals will know about it. Good news travels fast, bad news travels even faster.
Make Sure Services Come with a Warranty
Warranties are put in place to protect you. Without a warranty a company can quickly smear some waterproof sealant in your basement that really won’t protect much and call it a day. If there is no warranty, when your basement floods a month later you can’t do anything about it except hand over more money to have it fixed. A warranty saves you if something goes wrong with a service you paid for so you don’t have to invest more money on a bad job. Triad offers a transferable lifetime warranty on all services!
Work With Triad! We Really are the Best
Just kidding. Although our team has more than 27 years of experience, you should be just as diligent when researching and working with us as you would be if you were researching another company.
The best way to feel comfortable with a contractor is to be as certain as possible that the service you are seeking and paying for will be done efficiently and effectively.
If you have any questions about the services that Triad offers or if you would like to learn more about our company, our history and our track record please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We would be more than happy to answer all of your questions and assuage your fears about leaky basements.
Basement Waterproofing Do’s and Don’ts
Describing a wet basement as unpleasant is an understatement. A wet, leaky and musty or even a flooded basement is basically one of the worst nightmares to deal with for a homeowner – especially during cold winter months. Not only is it annoying to step into a leaky basement, but it can be hazardous to your health.
The good news is that a smart homeowner who knows the risks associated with a flooded or wet basement, will take the proper steps to ensure the basement stays dry and warm year round.
All houses are not created equal, therefore as a homeowner you are responsible for assessing your home and the surrounding area so you can figure out whether your basement is in danger of flooding.
Honestly, all basements are susceptible to flooding and this isn’t because a basement was poorly built. Simply put, when water accumulates outside of the home’s foundation it keeps putting pressure on the concrete – this is called hydrostatic pressure. One day, after all the pushing, the concrete will give up and crack, which is when water happily rushes in to flood your basement and ruin your furniture.
The key to keeping your basement dry is good waterproofing and proper drainage. The whole system consists of many parts that work together including gutters, downspouts, the slope of the ground around the foundation, sump pumps and more. It’s important to do your homework when investing in waterproofing so you can make sure that you are investing in the right solution for your home.
Let’s review some simple basement waterproofing do’s and don’ts .
DO research different methods of waterproofing
There are three main methods of basement waterproofing and these are interior sealants, exterior waterproofing and drainage. Since each situation, home and basement is different there are different solutions for different issues. A coat or two of a waterproof sealant may be enough for some homes, while others may need to install a French drain, a sump pump and waterproof sealing.
DON’T use DIY sealants
The easiest fixes are always temporary. If you visit a home improvement store you will find many options for waterproof methods and sealants boasting to be the best on the market. You will be bombarded with advertising trying to convince you that so and so product is the best and will fix every leaky basement. This is simply not true. We really can’t stress enough that not every wet basement is the same. If you find a small leak and you want to cover it up with a temporary sealant while you concoct a serious plan of action, that’s fine as long as you understand that this is only temporary and the leak will come back.
DO find the source of the leak
The best way to fix a leaky basement is to find the source of the water and cut it off. Is the water seeping in through the ground? It is coming in through a window? Is it the foundation of the home? This is the most important step of waterproofing, because unless you cut off the source of the leak and fix it, it will keep coming back.
DON’T ignore a leak
The worse thing you can do for your home, your basement and the overall foundation and structure of your home is to ignore a leak. It may seem small and insignificant, but that small crack or leak will get bigger and then you will have an even more serious problem to deal with. Being cheap won’t get you far, it’s better to invest a little bit of money and take care of a problem before it gets worse and you end up having to pay a lot more for damage control. Did you even know that basement waterproofing can save you money in the long run? It can reduce energy costs, save you money on your homeowner’s insurance as well as increase the overall value of your home.
DO keep your gutters clean
Who would have thought that clogged gutters could ultimately lead to a flooded basement? Imagine a backed up rain gutter suddenly letting loose and dumping all that water against the foundation of your home. Keep your gutters clean and free from debris and leaves so that the collected water can easily make its way to the downspouts and away from your home.
DON’T allow your downspouts to direct water around the foundation of your home
Speaking of downspouts, the whole point of having them is to make sure they keep water away from your home. If your downspout is just shooting water against the foundation of your home it’s more likely to cause a problem than fix it.
DO call Triad Basement Waterproofing for assistance
When in doubt, work with a professional company that specializes in all kinds of basement services. Our staff of experts will evaluate your basement and help you figure out what your basement needs to stay dry year round. Maybe you don’t need any waterproofing at all, you’ll never know until you ask. Triad has been around for more than 27 years and our team prides itself on a job well done every time. Give us a call if you have any questions about basement waterproofing , concrete repair or other basement related questions. We look forward to working with you!