An Ultimate Guide to Basement Waterproofing

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According to The American Society of Home Inspectors, 60% of homes in the US have wet basements, and 38% are at risk of basement mold contamination.

Water in your basement can cause costly damage to items stored down there, and to the finishes. In some cases, moisture problems can also start to compromise your foundations by eating away at steel rebars, or by rotting wooden foundation beams. Additionally, the mold that inevitably develops in wet basements can be toxic and result in health problems

For these reasons, if you have a basement with water issues, basement waterproofing is a must.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the different types of measures available to waterproof your basement.

Exterior Waterproofing

The different basement waterproofing measures available can be broken down into two categories. Interior and exterior waterproofing methods.

Exterior waterproofing is carried out around the outside of your house to assist in keeping water away from your foundations and basement. 


If you are experiencing water problems in your basement, one of the first things to check is your guttering system. Does your house have one? Is it working properly?

If you do not have a guttering system, or there is one but it is damaged or blocked, this will direct the runoff from your roof directly into the foundations, which will add to any damp problems you might be having. 

Exterior French Drains

One of the most effective exterior waterproofing methods is French drains. French drains consist of trenches dug around the foundations of your house that are lined with a perforated pipe and membrane, refilled with gravel, and closed over with soil and/or lawn. 

They act as invisible water-carrying channels that direct both groundwater and roof runoff away from your foundations and basement. 


If the ground in your property slopes down towards your house, then this will also lead water towards your foundations and through to the basement. While French drains will effectively divert this, you can also choose to grade your property to guide that water away from your house. 

Interior Waterproofing

There are also a number of waterproofing methods that can be used inside your basement to keep it dry and watertight.

Crack Repair

As cracks in your basement walls can allow water in, you will need to seal any that you see if you want to waterproof your basement. 

When sealing basement cracks it is important that you use the right cement and materials. Stay away from epoxy or polyurethane products, as these will only provide a temporary fix and are not worth the money. 

Here at Armored Basements we only use hydraulic cement, and as an additional precaution, we seal all cracks with a Heavy Duty Armored Vinyl to protect against seepage. 

Waterproof Coatings

Another component of waterproofing basements is waterproof coatings. If your basement walls and floor are damp, you can choose to coat it in a waterproof sealant to assist in keeping the moisture out. Waterproof coatings, by and large, are not long term fixes. However, some solutions do exist, such as reinforced wall liners, that offer the type of performance, and durability that homeowners with damp basements need. 

However, be aware that this on its own will not solve damp problems, and should be used in combination with other more hard-hitting solutions such as exterior French drains and interior drainage systems.  

Pressure Relief Systems

While crack repair and waterproofing walls can assist to reduce moisture levels in your basement, the only way to get it properly dry and to keep it that way is through the use of pressure relief systems, also known as basement drains, interior drainage systems, or French drains. 

Pressure relief systems function to collect and carry away water from your basement. The way this is done is by installing trenches around the outer edges of the basement. These contain perforated piping and are then filled and either left uncovered, covered with a grating, or completely covered. 

If you are planning to finish your basement, the walls can be framed on the inside edge of the channel to conceal it completely from view. 

Besides the channels, a sump and sump pump are also installed. Together the channels and pump function to suck out and carry away any moisture that has built up in your basement. 

Window Well Drains

If you have window wells in your basement, and they are letting in moisture, then you can solve this by getting window well drains installed. Window well drains function to divert water out of your window wells. If you have a pressure relief system, the windows wells can be directed to drain into there. 

Which Methods to Use When Waterproofing Your Basement

To achieve rock-solid basement waterproofing that lasts, you will likely need to use a couple of these waterproofing methods together. 

For example, if you are experiencing cracks in your basement, leaking window wells, and some underground moisture, then you might want to opt for working on the interior of your basement, by installing a pressure relief system, window well drains, and having the cracks sealed.

In some cases, you may also want to do outside work and have exterior French drains installed. Grading is also a possibility but can be costly and inconvenient for homeowners. 

At the end of the day, in most situations, you will need to install a pressure relief system with a sump pump, and then add any additional measures you might need to achieve optimum dryness. 

Now You Know What Is Involved in Basement Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing is an important area to sort out, as it will protect your home and your health. Waterproofing a basement is also not a task you should tackle if you do not have previous experience in this area. DIY basement waterproofing can easily cost you time and money, without achieving the results you need. 

If you are in need of professional basement waterproofing services in the Rockville and Baltimore area, then don’t hesitate to contact us. We have been waterproofing basements for over 20 years, and are eager to solve your damp problem for good.