Waterproofing; Careful Planning and Prevention the Best Choice


With so much emphasis on increasing the current market value of a home, homeowners are seeking ways to enhance usable living space. Basement finishing and attic renovation are prime projects for creating more room. However, both attics and basements are infamous for moisture intrusion problems.

In order to make use of moisture prone areas of the home, water leakage must be eliminated by waterproofing efforts. Whether basement waterproofing, roof or chimney repair, or even the installation of an entire waterproofing system for an extreme basement water problem.

The Roof

There are two conditions that can result in roof leakage; rainfall that directly penetrates the roof, and an accumulation of rain or snow on the roof that leaks over time.

If there is a leakage problem, a homeowner or roofing contractor can get an idea of the nature of the problem by careful inspection of the attic and rafter area. And then come up with a solution for a waterproof structure before renovation work begins.

Other than a failing roof that requires replacement, common problem areas are valley and wall flashing; especially chimney flashing. A flat roof can accumulate standing water, which is another common cause of leakage. An experienced roofing contractor can offer solutions for any of these type problems, while a chimney service might best solve a chimney flashing problem.

Obviously, any leakage problems should be eliminated before undertaking an attic renovation project to create more living space; whether a game room, home theater, or an extra bedroom.

The Home Structure

On rare occasions, homeowners may experience an exterior siding leakage problem; water leaking through the sheathing and wall framing, and into the home. A possibility, especially during a driving rain storm.

This type problem can be avoided by proper installation of a structural waterproofing membrane over the exterior sheathing. While this is a viable DIY project, it is normally applied during the construction process by the building contractor before exterior siding is installed.

Also known as “house wrap,” waterproofing membrane is made of extremely strong plastic. Kevlar bullet proof vests are made of multiple layers of this type material.

House wrap products are expensive, but well worth the investment. They provide a waterproof barrier while allowing the building to “breathe.”  Tyvek is one popular brand name.

Basements - the Main Offenders

Basements are by far the most problematic area of the home when it comes to solving a water problem. The most effective step that can be taken to waterproof basement areas against water intrusion is accurate and careful planning in grading and placement of the home site prior to construction.

Proper consideration must be given to both surface drainage and subsurface water tables. Difficult problems to overcome when the home is built without proper planning and preventative measures incorporated into the construction.

In an ideal situation, subsurface water levels should remain at least ten feet below the foundation or basement floor at all times - even during the rainy season.

When a basement moisture problem exists, it will be one of three types:

  1. Condensation - inside air moisture content that condenses and collects on cool basement surfaces. This can be corrected by insulating water pipes, using de-humidifiers, and adequate ventilation.
  2. Capillary action - when ground water comes up through the foundation and slab because the ground water table is higher than the basement floor and foundation. This can be somewhat offset by the use of a sump pump. Sump pump installation done at the time of construction is best, because a “drain field” is created under the foundation and slab with pea gravel. An indention or “pit” is made in the middle of the drain field, and a sump pump installed in the bottom. When the water level rises to the level of the pump, it kicks on and pumps the water away from the area before it reaches the foundation and slab. Extreme conditions may necessitate multiple pits and sump pumps to keep up with the rising water level.
  3. Leakage or intrusion - water coming in through the basement walls and foundation, usually runoff from improper grading and drainage. Again, prevention is the best cure with proper grading to promote water runoff and drainage away from the foundation. This can be further aided by the application of a basement waterproofing product to the exterior surfaces of the basement wall and foundation.

While basement wall waterproofing, foundation waterproofing, and concrete waterproofing can be done as a retrofit, considerable excavation may be necessary to expose surfaces for application of waterproofing material.

Exterior basement waterproofing done later as a retrofit is expensive and not nearly as cost-effective as a complete basement waterproofing system installed during the construction process. This involves proper grading and drainage, application of a basement waterproofing product to seal exterior surfaces, and a sump pump system that can adequately handle fluctuating water tables at their peak levels.

Applying a basement waterproofing product is definitely a viable DIY basement waterproofing project; during the construction process or after surfaces have been excavated and exposed for a retrofit. Simply follow manufacturer instructions for preparation and application of any given product.

Unfortunately, by the time a problem is detected, considerable damage has already been done much of the time. Including the formation of mold or mildew on surfaces or in basement framing. This may necessitate recruiting a water damage restoration contractor who also provides mold remediation services.

Black mold may be a toxic mold of any one of a number of species, posing a serious health hazard that must be handled with the utmost caution when eradicating and disposing it from the premises. This is a very high cost service; usually in the tens of thousands, depending on size and scope of the project. Again, the best alternative is prevention and proper waterproofing measures before a basement water problem exists.

Locate a Reliable Waterproofing Professional

Homeowners all over Canada are turning to to find a reliable basement waterproofing contractor or concrete contractor for their interior leakage problems. Why?  Because is quick, easy, and free.  And has a proven track record as a reliable online matchmaking service.

Sign up today without cost or obligation and post your basement waterproofing project online, where it is immediately visible to reliable local Canada concrete waterproofing contractors 24/7. Contractors also receive e-mail notification of new project postings. And vie for the job; providing competitive bids in days, or just hours after project posting.

Homeowners can view company profile pages, references, customer feedback, licensing/insurance/trade certification information, and photos of company staff and recently completed projects. And then make an informed hiring decision for a Montreal water damage restoration cleaning service, or hire no one at all. Remember, there is no obligation whatsoever.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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