Why You Should Waterproof Your Foundation Walls
Last modified: 2019/01/17 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
Are you wondering if you should waterproof your foundations? Trying to figure out what exactly you're supposed to do? RenoQuotes.com is here to tell you everything you need to know about waterproofing your foundations.
Why waterproofing your foundations is very important
Your house needs to be well protected against water and humidity. If not, both elements can cause major damage to the whole structure of the house. Among other things, they can also affect air quality.
The ground which surrounds your house contains water and if your foundations aren't watertight, the water may start seeping in. In the long run, this could lead to certain problems, such as the appearance of active cracks (check out How to repair cracked foundation walls to find out more).
Even if it leaks in small quantities, over time, not only will the concrete become damaged but you will be at risk for flooding. Spring and Fall are especially problematic, most of all for those who live in an area with major snowfalls. During these periods, your foundations will be to be subject to a lot of hydrostatic pressure, especially if you live in an area with groundwater.
If there are any cracks or if the concrete is chipping, the foundation walls will not support the added pressure. In these conditions, waterproofing is even more important.
Photo: Flickr- Fairfax county
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Choose your waterproofing products wisely
Now comes the time to decide which methods and products you are going to use. You may have a hard time selecting the best option, as there are plenty of different techniques out there. When in doubt, talk to a professional contractor. They will be able to give you the best advice according to your specific problems and the type of foundation.
The first waterproofing method is tar, which is actually mandatory in some places (check with your local authorities). Therefore, this technique is very common and can also serve as a base to receive other waterproofing products.
The liquid coating that is created for this method contains a mix of solvent and asphalt. In general, the product is heated before being applied with the use of a pressure jet.
The other waterproofing method to consider is the installation of an elastomeric membrane. Liquid membranes and self-adhesive membranes are available on the market. The liquid membrane is made using emulsified bitumen and as the name indicates, it is applied in liquid form.
After being left to dry, the product turns into a waterproof rubber surface. Its main advantage is that it does not create a need for joints, which further contributes to its level of water tightness.
For its part, the self-adhesive membrane is made of rubberized asphalt which is laminated onto a blue polyethene film.
If you feel that you know what you're doing, one piece of advice you should follow is to beware of cheaper products. Oftentimes, it's better to pay a bit more to get a better, more long-lasting result. Foundation specialists will have access to better products than what you can find in hardware stores so that may be another reason to work with a professional.
It isn't rare to hear about cases where homeowners have applied cheap products on their foundations, only to have problems due to the lack of efficiency of said products.
In any case, it is always best to work with professionals, as improper work could lead to potential damage. If so, the waterproofing process will have to be redone entirely, which will expose you to significant costs, or in the best of cases, completing repairs that require a lot of time and effort.
Therefore, unless you truly know what you are doing, always ask for the advice of an expert and get the work done by their competent and certified team.
The average price for foundation waterproofing
When done by a professional, waterproofing your foundations will run you between $150 and $300 (per linear foot), with a minimum price of $5000. This includes labour, materials and equipment, as well as digging a french drain.
For more information about foundation renovations, water infiltrations, waterproofing and the installation of a french drain, here are several articles that have been published on our home renovation blog and that could be useful for you:
- What is a french drain?
- 10 signs that your foundation needs renovation
- Water infiltrations: signs to watch out for
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