Interior basement waterproofing is sort of like that Dutch kid who keeps the water from leaking into the city by sticking his finger in the hole.
You just need to do two things.
1. Find the cracks in your basement where water might seep in.
2. Fill those cracks with something that keeps water out.
Sounds easy enough but the cracks usually aren't gushing with water so they aren't easy to spot. And all basement cracks are not the same each requires a slightly different technique to seal properly.
Do you need to find and fill in these cracks as part of the overall basement waterproofing strategy? Or is this just for people with actually water coming through?
Stay with me through the end of this article and we're going to talk about that. At the very least you should be aware of these 3 potential problems.
Here are the 3 most commons interior basement waterproofing steps you can take to ensure a dry basement now and in the future.
#1 Tie Rod Holes
My exterior article talks about the porous nature of concrete, and how susceptible it is to water diffusion. Even if the concrete is perfect sloppy construction can also create interior basement waterproofing challenges. Allow me to explain.
Most concrete foundation walls were built with reinforced tie rods. These rods hold the forms together while your basement walls were poured. Once the forms are removed, the rods are sticking out of your brand new wall. So the low man on the totem pole walks around with a hammer, and knocks the ends off.
On top of not being the most aesthetic looking thing tie-rod holes are a potential water entry hole.
An exterior waterproofing member is supposed to be applied after the forms are removed, but this can breakdown over time allowing water to weep through.
You can proactively prevent future leaks through tie-rod holes using hydraulic cement.
Hydraulic Cement Application
Hydraulic cement hardens fast! They warn you on the bucket, and I'm warning you now. That's 2 warnings - don't say I didn't tell ya so.
Its a simple job to do. The trick is just be prepared. Have all of your tools laid out. Make sure you have several buckets for clean water, dirty water and mixing on standby. Don't mix up more than you can apply in under 5 minutes.
The first batch I mixed to the "pudding" consistency they recommend. So I got some on my trowel, applied it to the wall and looked back down to notice my cement was almost already hard?!? I'm telling you - stick and move on this one.
Once the cement becomes too hard to apply, use your water buckets to mix up another batch. Rinse and repeat until all your tie rod holes are sealed shut!
#2 Basement Floor and Wall Cracks
Some people really freak out when they see cracks in their basement. Relax Frankie, most basement cracks are very normal and will not threaten the structural integrity of your home.
These cracks can be convenient locations for water to enter. With a few bucks and an hours worth of time - you can fill these cracks as part of your interior basement waterproofing plan.
For cracks in the floor and where the floor meets the wall, I recommend applying concrete repair. Most home improvement stores sell cement repair in tubed form for simple application with a standard caulk gun.
Get yourself a tube, make sure your crack is swept, vacuumed, and dry, and pump it in. You can smooth excess out, but I didn't bother with aesthetics since I was planning to cover all cracks with dry wall, carpeting, etc.
Point here is to make sure you prevent water entry, not necessarily make it pretty. If you are applying to an area you aren't going to be covering, you'll obviously care more about that then I did.
It's a bit more expensive but polyurethane will work better and last longer than an acrylic or silicone based filler. If your goal is to never deal with these cracks again - pick up a tube of DAP Polyurethane 18814 at Amazon.
#3 Beam Pockets
Another water entry "hot spot" are beam pockets. Sounds like something you get when you buy a fancy pair of jeans. (not that I have fancy jeans, I'm justing saying...) Actually this is where your support beams meet your foundation wall.
There are do-it-yourself methods to sealing these but mine was leaking good so I called in the professionals. A company came out and explained this is a common area for leakage.
To fix it they had to do two things. First they drilled through the concrete (which I wasn't comfortable doing on my own). Then they used special plugs and equipment to inject polyurethane resin. The resin seeps deeps into the cracks sealing the inside and the outside.
Most companies fully guarantee their work, and while it was a little costly (around $500), to me, it was worth the piece of mind.
What interior basement waterproofing do you need to do?
If you have obvious cracks in your basement floor or walls I would suggest that it's worth the money and time to fill those before you start finishing your basement. It won't take long or cost a lot and you'll have piece of mind for the future even if you aren't currently seeing any signs of water coming in.
As for the beam pockets. If you don't have an obvious water issue with your beam pockets I would not spend the extra time or money to seal them.
Hope you are another step closer on your road to a dryer basement. Have you done your own beam pocket repair? How'd it turn out?
Is there anything about interior basement waterproofing that I'm missing?
Leave me a note in the comments section below!
More dry, good smelling links:
- Here's our article on exterior basement waterproofing.
- What about basement waterproofing paint? We've got you covered.
- Check out US basement waterproofing website, lots of great articles and videos.