Waterproofing your basement allows you utilise space within your home which otherwise would be a rarely used damp and cold space. This in turn adds value to your home, even if you are not aiming for a full conversion.  Waterproofing basements keeps the room protected from seepages and structural failures.

Since your basement is situated below the ground, it makes it susceptible to water leakages from the walls and floors. If you wish to improve your foundation, avoid moulds from building up and maintain your home’s aesthetic appeal and market value, you will need to invest in waterproofing solutions for your home.

Sealing the walls with cementitious surface coating (known as tanking) or installing a sheet membrane system are two ways to waterproof your basement.

Basement Tanking

Tanking refers to the application of a  cementitious waterproof coating directly on the inside of your porous basement walls. This prevents water and moisture from seeping in. Tanking does not remove water. It simply creates a barrier that prevents water from pushing its way forward.

In order for the tanking system to work efficiently, the walls to which the tanking product is to be applied must provide a good scratch coat. Furthermore, your brickwork needs to be stable since the tank walls will resist the water pressure that builds up over time.

Waterproof coatings can be easily applied using a trowel. In some instances, the coating is sprayed on, with the intent of forming a stable bond with the masonry material used in the wall. Special attention needs to be paid to all the weak points in your basement walls.

Membrane Application

Membrane systems are an alternate to tanking solutions. A cavity drain membrane is more effective for areas located in high water tables, as well as for old properties with faulty masonry work.

In a typical setup, a studded membrane is fixed to the cellar walls along with plastic lugs. The lugs have mastic seals attached behind the head. Water is then allowed to flow down from the cavity directly into a drainage system.

The studded membrane is constructed from high-density polyethylene to provide lasting results. The floor is covered with chipboard, or with any other insulation layer. The studs also include an air gap, which primarily acts as a depressurizing zone for water making its way through the walls.  This means that as high pressure water enters the wall, it loses its pressure and falls back into the membrane. The drainage conduit then channels out the water with the help of a pump or gravity to a soak-away.

A slight drawback of the membrane system is that it adds more weight to your cellar. This means that the overall headroom will reduce, since the walls will have to be completely refitted with membranes. If you are living in a pre-1970 home, it is best to have your basement inspected by a structural engineer, before considering any membrane installation or other waterproofing solution.

To learn more on basement waterproofing and tanking, please feel free to contact us  or read our further articles:

* Basement conversion advice Vol 6 and Basement Conversion advice Vol 7

Hope this information was helpful.

The Diligent Team.

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