Let’s get started with a definition so we are all discussing waterproofing in the same context. We went online to find an unbiased definition that you can find for yourself. We used the following link: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/waterproofing .
Definition: wa·ter·proof (wô t r-pr f , w t r-)
- Impervious to or unaffected by water.
- Made of or coated or treated with rubber, plastic, or a sealing agent to prevent penetration by water.
- A material or fabric that is impervious to water.
- Chiefly BritishA raincoat or other such outer garment.
tr.v. wa·ter·proofed, wa·ter·proof·ing, wa·ter·proofs
To make impervious to water.
That is a good definition, but what does it mean when we apply it to your wet basement problem? The definition alone does not address all the pertinent issues related to basement waterproofing. We will cover those issues as we go.
With the definition in hand, let’s try to explain WHAT IS and WHAT IS NOT waterproofing. Waterproofing IS making your basement or foundation walls “IMPERVIOUS TO WATER”, per the definition. What is NOT waterproofing is anything that does not make your foundation “IMPERVIOUS TO WATER”. It will be much easier if I use a couple of metaphors to explain what IS NOT waterproofing.
First, let’s suppose you have a leak in the roof of your house.
Would putting a bucket under the leak and putting a pump in the bucket that pumps the water up, out, and back on to the roof be waterproofing? Is that fixing the problem of the roof leak? The answer is obviously NO, yet the solution most companies sell as waterproofing is nothing more than a way to collect the water that comes into your basement with a “bucket” (of sorts) and then pump it up and outside of your house, usually about 6” from the outside of your basement wall. That IS NOT waterproofing. It is water collection and redirection. And yes, you may be aware that that same water can soak straight down and re-enter your basement.
Second, suppose you had a boat with a small hole in it. Would adding a bilge pump, or even a second and/or third bilge pump, all with battery backups, be waterproofing? Would it solve the real problem? No, that IS NOT waterproofing. Also, if you are lucky enough to have a patch handy, you apply the patch to the hole on the outside of the boat… not the inside. That way water pressure helps keep the patch in place and it cannot be “blown out” (actually blown in).
So, would these inside solutions be good waterproofing solutions for your leaky basement or crawl space? The answer is no.
None of these possible solutions stops the water from coming into the house or into the boat. REAL WATERPROOFING IS stopping the water from getting through your basement or foundation walls and into the house in the first place. REAL WATERPROOFING is keeping the water OUTSIDE OF YOUR STRUCTURE to include the foundation. If you have water intrusion of any magnitude, it is usually causing 3 major problems: 1) DESTRUCTION of your foundation and any porous construction materials it comes into contact with, 2) Causing UNHEALTHY conditions because of the growth of mold and mildew, and causing that damp musty smell, and 3) LOWERING THE RESALE VALUE of your home because you must, in most states by law, reveal water intrusion problems you have in your basement.
So how does all this begin to happen? Contact us to learn more.
Northern Virginia: 703-866-0535
Northwestern Virginia: 540-313-6361
Southern Virginia: 804-859-2544