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Things To Know Before Waterproofing A Basement

Waterproofing a basement is one of the best investments to protect your home from water damage and provide a safe, healthy environment. 

Not only will waterproofing prevent flooding and structural damage to your home, but it can also save you money on energy bills by using all the additional space.

But before you start your waterproofing journey, we wanted to let you in on some of those fancy terms contractors use when talking about basement waterproofing.

A basement waterproofing project

Common Terms Related To Basement Waterproofing

When you begin to take an interest in basement waterproofing, you’ll come across many terms that might seem unusual at first. 

Contractors will discuss sump pumps and hydrostatic pressure, but what does it all mean? How can you, as a homeowner, stay in the loop and understand everything these people are saying?

We’ve compiled a list of common terms you’ll encounter when researching basement waterproofing, so nobody can catch you off guard!

Exterior waterproofing

Exterior Waterproofing

Exterior waterproofing involves excavating the soil around your home’s foundation, and it’s often an extra expense that homeowners want to avoid. The process involved applying a waterproof coating to the foundation walls and the importance of exterior waterproofing can’t easily be overlooked.

This is a crucial step in completely waterproofing a basement, so you never have to worry about water ever damaging your home’s foundation. Happy home, happy family!

Interior waterproofing

Interior Waterproofing

Interior waterproofing involves applying a waterproof coating to the walls and floors of your basement, installing a drainage system, and ensuring that water is diverted away from your home’s foundation.

While many homeowners like interior waterproofing because it’s less expensive and disruptive, it’s sometimes a complete package and requires exterior waterproofing, nevertheless. You have to protect the home’s exterior as well as the interior.

French Drain

A French drain is a drainage system that consists of a trench filled with gravel or rock and a perforated pipe that collects water and redirects it away from your home’s foundation. A good contractor will always tell you why a French drain is necessary and how it can further protect your basement walls and foundation.

French drains are often installed around the perimeter of a home’s foundation to prevent water from seeping into the basement.

French drain in the backyard for waterproofing a basement

Sump Pump

A sump pump is a device that pumps water out of your basement and away from your home’s foundation. It’s typically installed in a sump pit, a basement floor hole collecting water from the French drain, or other drainage systems.

Installing a sump pump is a common step in basement waterproofing. It gives you peace of mind knowing water is diverted from your home, and you can enjoy a dry basement for years.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by water against a surface, such as a foundation wall. Hydrostatic pressure can damage your foundation wall, but it’s often the reason why you have a wet basement in the first place.

When the soil around your home’s foundation becomes saturated with water, it can exert hydrostatic pressure against the foundation, causing cracks and leaks. 

That means you end up paying more for foundation repair in the long run, and nobody like spending more money than they have to!

Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is a material, typically a plastic sheet, installed over the basement walls and floors to prevent moisture from seeping in. It’s an excellent measure for waterproofing basement walls and helps keep moisture away from your foundation!

It’s often used with waterproofing to provide added protection against water damage.


Efflorescence is a white, powdery substance on basement walls and floors. It’s caused by the buildup of minerals left behind when water evaporates. While efflorescence is not harmful, it can indicate moisture problems in your basement.

Your basement waterproofing contractor should be able to get rid of efflorescence easily, typically by cleaning the basement walls will a wire brush and special cleaning agents.

Foundation Crack

A foundation crack is a crack in the concrete or masonry foundation of your home. Foundation cracks can be caused by various factors, including hydrostatic pressure, settling, and freezing and thawing cycles.

Contractors typically use hydraulic cement to repair foundation cracks before waterproofing basement walls. Whether it’s concrete or masonry walls, foundation crack repair is essential.

Foundation crack

Waterproofing Paint

Waterproof paint, often called masonry or basement waterproofing paint, is a special paint made to keep water out of your basement. It is often used on a basement’s cleaned and prepared floors and walls.

Proper basement waterproofing includes external and interior waterproofing, French drains, and sump pumps, none of which can be replaced by waterproof paint. Use it as a backup plan to keep existing waterproofing systems in good shape or to prevent minor moisture issues.

Benefits Of Waterproofing A Basement

Waterproofing a basement provides two major benefits: family health and home safety. Naturally, these have ramifications and translate into extra perks for you as a homeowner. From cleaner air to more living space, here are just a few benefits you get when you waterproof your basement.

Water damage may devastate a home’s value and quality of life, leading to mold growth and structural decay. If your basement isn’t properly waterproofed, water can sneak in and cause expensive damage to your property.

Mold development from wet basement walls and floors can harm indoor air quality. Those with asthma are especially vulnerable to the health effects that mold spores can have on the respiratory system.

Having a basement that has been properly waterproofed might be a major selling point if you ever decide to sell your home. Potential buyers will love knowing you’ve taken all the necessary steps to avoid basement flooding.

Ever wanted a home gym/extra bedroom/wet bar/entertainment room in the comfort of your own home? When you hire a contractor to waterproof basement walls and floors, you end up with extra living space that could easily be turned into whatever room you fancy!

Final Thoughts

Basements can be a great addition to any home, yet they can require special care and attention. With the right knowledge and guidance, homeowners can make the most of their basements as attractive, spacious spaces that will enhance their living experience.

The common terms related to basement waterproofing introduced here are simple to grasp, and understanding them is key to making informed decisions regarding waterproofing and remodeling your basement.

As highlighted, several benefits come with waterproofing a basement – from improved property value to better air quality. Moreover, these benefits far outweigh the costs of implementing methods for improving its water control system.

Home Matters Construction is pleased to assist homeowners looking for a trusted partner in basement remodeling. Contact us today and discover how we can help bring your ideas for remodeling your basement into reality!

If you’re looking for a premium basement remodeler in Papillion, La Vista, Bellevue, or surrounding areas, give us a call at (402) 661-0910 or request your free quote now!