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Foundation Waterproofing

Building a home requires some very careful considerations. One very important consideration involves waterproofing your foundation. Many homeowners are under the assumption that their foundation has indeed been waterproofed when in fact it has only been damproofed. There is a big difference between these two techniques. Damproofing may prevent a certain amount of water vapor from transferring into your basement, but in order to effectively protect your basement from water infiltration it must be properly waterproofed.

In the past, builders paid little attention to waterproofing foundations. Years ago builders did not even bother to apply a tar coating and they also did not have access to large sheets of plastic to retard the transfer of water vapor. This is why the basement of older homes typically has a dank moldy smell to it. Mold grows happily in environments fueled by the constant stream of moisture. In a basement, the moisture comes in through the water being carried in the soil surrounding the foundation. It enters the house through both the unprotected walls and through the concrete slab you walk across.

Waterproofing is the only way to permanently stop water and water vapor from entering your foundations walls. There are several different techniques used to accomplish this. Spray-on systems seem to work well when it comes to sealing off the pores of your concrete walls. Whatever you do, make sure you are waterproofing your foundations and not damproofing it. Damproofing is the cheap way out. It is cheap because it cost less and it is cheap because it fails to waterproof effectively. Damproofing typically consists of hot liquid asphalt sprayed on the concrete.

Damproofing

Many local building codes state that unfinished basements must be at least damproofed. The problem with spraying hot liquid asphalt on your concrete is that it will not ensure that your basement will remain dry. If the concrete cracks, which is often does as your foundation settles, water will once again be able to enter into your home because the hot asphalt will no longer be sealing the gap. Waterproofing may be a little more expensive, but it will keep these gaps sealed and keep your basement as dry as possible. This is very important, especially if you are planning to finish your basement in the near future.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several ways to waterproof your foundation. One way that is commonly used by homeowners involves applying a mixture of hot asphalt and rubber. A coating of one eighth of an inch is applied to the foundation and then an insulation panel is placed over the coating. The insulating panel serves as protection to the coating, as well as an insulator. Furthermore, the rubber in the mixture gives it a unique elastic quality that helps it fill cracks in the concrete, should they develop over time. Keep in mind, as mentioned earlier, damproofing compounds can’t do this.

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