Waterproofing is a very vague term because there is preventative waterproofing, reactive waterproofing, interior waterproofing, exterior waterproofing, waterproofing systems, waterproofing sealers, and the waterproofing list goes on. Which type of waterproofing is best for you? Well to make things easier we have outlined just about everything waterproofing related below.
If you don’t have any water or vapor issues but are looking to prevent any water or vapor issues in the future, the best thing you can do is apply a penetrating concrete sealer. Once the sealer has been applied, a waterproof coating can be applied for further protection. A coating sits on the surface of the concrete however and should not be applied without first applying a penetrating concrete sealer.
The most basic for of waterproofing is to 1) repair all cracks in the concrete with a permanent crack repair solution and 2) seal the concrete with a penetrating concrete sealer that will fill in the pores of the concrete with a permanent structure.
When choosing a crack repair kit you want to use a high-pressure polyurethane based kit. For hairline and wide cracks, choose a crack repair kit that comes with aluminum ports that are injected into the concrete. Plastic surface ports will prevent the material from penetrating to the back of the crack and can’t fully repair a crack. Aluminum ports that are injected allow for the material to be pushed to the back of the crack, leaving you with a fully repaired crack.
When choosing a sealer, look for a sealer that 1) does not leave behind a coating and 2) chemically reacts with the concrete. There are dozens of penetrating sealers on the market that leave behind deposits within the pores. Overtime, water or vapor exposure will break down the deposits and you will have to remove the old sealer and apply it again every 2-5 years.
Some homes end up in a very wet area and basic waterproofing alone is not enough. If you have had basement flooding in the past, or are worried about basement flooding, you may need to take into consideration the following waterproofing methods”
- Sump Pump. A sump pump will absorb water that enters into your basement (flood amounts of water) and pump the water outside.
- Interior Drainage System. Typically a sump pump is installed with an interior drainage system but sometimes, an interior drainage system is installed without a sump pump. In this case, water will go into the drain and be redirected away from the house. The only problem with having an interior drainage system without a sump pump is if the drain gets backed up, the water will build up in your basement.
- Exterior Drainage System. An exterior drainage system will divert the water away from your house before it gets a chance to get into your basement. If the water does get into your basement however, an exterior drainage system can’t get the water out! Some exterior drainage sytems are build with an interior drainage system and sump pump as well.
When your foundation is poured, most contractors will put a tar-based or rubber-based substance on/around your foundation to act as a vapor barrier. Eventually these types of substances will break down, leaving your foundation unprotected. At minimal, your concrete should be sealed in conjunction with the tar using a lifetime concrete sealer.