Basement Waterproofing 101
The 2 most common locations for water entry into the basement are…
Floor-Wall joint (bottom of the basement wall) – It is common to see water where the basement floor slab meets the foundation wall. This is the location where the foundation, footing and floor slab intersect but do not make a watertight seal. In essence, the space that is created at this juncture is a lot like a crack. When the ground is saturated or there is a high water table condition, the water will permeate through this joint. Understand that there is no way to access this joint from outside and the best approach to remedy this situation is with the use of a “sub-floor” drainage system.
Foundation Cracks – Concrete cracks! These cracks are vulnerable to water intrusion. During periods of heavy rain or in areas with poor draining soils, water will back up behind the wall and migrate through the cracks. That is why some cracks leak and some do not. It is the crack combined with a flooded soil condition that will cause water intrusion. Draining the sub soils by installing a drainage system below the floor slab or installation of an exterior multi-plied waterproof membrane can remedy this condition.
Many water intrusion problems can be traced back to these two areas. However, water can also leak over the top of the foundation, through pipe penetrations, up from cracks in the floor, etc. That is why an evaluation by an EXPERIENCED waterproofer is needed, not a slick salesman.
FAQ Frequently Asked Questions About Basement Waterproofing
- The Basement Smells Musty, Should I Be Concerned Of Mold?
- Can I Rely On A Leader And Gutter System To Protect My Basement From Water?
- What Is A “French Drain?”
- What Is The Best Pipe When Installing A French Drain Or Sub-Floor Drainage System?
- What Is The Patented Hollow Kick Molding Drainage System?
- What Kind Of Pump Do You Recommend?
- What Happens When My Power Goes Out?
- Some Other Guy Said I Should Waterproof From The Outside, Can That Be Effective?
- What Are Some Of The Differences Between Waterproof Companies?
THE BASEMENT SMELLS MUSTY, SHOULD I BE CONCERNED OF MOLD?
The musty stale air that you may smell is probably an indication of air born molds. Mold requires an organic food source and dampness/water to flourish. All of which may be found in a typical basement. The wood framing and paper wall board which can usually be found in basement finishings are all derived from organic substances. Cardboard storage boxes, furniture and books can also be organic food sources for mold to flourish on. Consequently, removing the source of water is essential to eliminate mold. Back To Top
CAN I RELY ON A LEADER AND GUTTER SYSTEM TO PROTECT MY BASEMENT FROM WATER?
No. A basement should be waterproof regardless of the condition of leader and gutters. Leader and gutter systems require periodic maintenance to remain clean and operational. Ice, snow, and accumulated leaves will clog gutters and make them non-functional. We strongly recommend that a leader and gutters not be your only security for a dry basement. If you are experiencing waterproofing problems, you should correct the underlying cause. Back To Top
WHAT IS A “FRENCH DRAIN?”
A “French Drain” is a commonly used title for what is more generally referred to as a “Sub-Floor Drainage System” (or Pressure Relief System). The primary function of a Sub-Floor Drainage System is to remove water that would otherwise accumulate under and around the basement floor. This is the water that contributes to high basement humidity and leaks. A well designed Sub-Floor Drainage System will include a filtered perforated round pipe, stone and gravel envelope, vapor barrier and cove drainage (Hollow-Kick Mold). Understanding water table levels, existing footing size, proper positioning of pipes and the replacement of concrete are best left to experienced professionals. Pumps are often utilized in Sub-Floor Drainage Systems to expel the water that would otherwise accumulate under and around the floor. Back To Top
WHAT IS THE BEST PIPE WHEN INSTALLING A FRENCH DRAIN OR SUB-FLOOR DRAINAGE SYSTEM:
Filtered perforated round polyethylene tubing is the best pipe. Filters allow us to guarantee the pipe for the life of the structure. Round pipe is the best conduit for drainage (hence the reason why all plumbing is made of round pipe and not rectangular.) Virtually all drainage pipe installed is polyethylene because of its flexibility and strength. PVC is simply not used because of its susceptibility to cracking. The round holes in PVC can also clog unlike the filtered perforations. Back To Top
WHAT IS THE PATENTED HOLLOW KICK MOLDING DRAINAGE SYSTEM?
A small gap between the wall and the floor must be created to allow water to flow through the sub-floor pipes and drain any wall moisture. This detail has been created using numerous hodge-podge methods and materials over the years until BOCCIA Inc. conceived, patented and manufactured the Hollow Kick Molding. The Hollow Kick Molding is the only product specifically designed to create, protect and conceal the floating slab detail. It has been installed by hundreds of builders and contractors from Atlanta to Seattle and everywhere in-between with great success for over twenty years. It can drain 8.5 gallons per foot per minute to accommodate the worst deluges and is guaranteed to last the life of the structure. Back To Top
WHAT KIND OF PUMP DO YOU RECOMMEND?
Realize that the heart of a drainage system is the trustworthy operation the pump. Our years of experience have directed us to the MOST RELIABLE PUMPS in the industry. Pumps that are less likely to “burn out” when you need them most. While other companies often see this as a point of cost saving, Boccia looks to provide their customers with the best. Visit our Products Page to see the best pumps we offer. Back To Top
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY POWER GOES OUT?
Optional emergency stand-by pump systems will provide service in the event of a power outage or if the primary pump fails. Stand-by systems come in many different designs, sizes and associated costs. A sealed maintenance free battery is our choice of battery for stand by systems. Boccia Inc. can periodically test your system on demand. Please contact us to discuss this service. Back To Top
SOME OTHER GUY SAID I SHOULD WATERPROOF FROM THE OUTSIDE, CAN THAT BE EFFECTIVE?
A comprehensive approach to waterproofing a home can include many types of “outside” work including foundation membranes, site drainage, drywells, and facade restoration to name just a few. For example, specific foundation deficiencies can often be corrected by a foundation membrane system, however, often times a membrane will not address the underlying hydrostatic pressure condition. That is, the water will still be there and can circumvent such systems and enter between the floor and wall (foundation).
Regarding a common reference to work being “outside” or “inside”, a proper designed drainage system is installed below the floor (under the house floor). Unfortunately, many waterproofing contractors install these systems in the floor or even above the floor. Boccia installs their systems the “old fashioned” way cutting no corners. That is why they are the oldest waterproofing company on Long Island.
Boccia Inc. is not limited to any one type of waterproofing process and in fact has over 50 years experience solving water problem conditions utilizing various methods as required.
Should I coat the interior surface of my foundation wall? This type of remedy is not recommended to solve active water problems because moisture trapped behind the coating can lead to the spalling (deterioration) of the concrete surface.
However, proper interior coatings can be effective in conjunction with properly installed drainage systems and/or exterior foundation wall coating. The material that is applied should be specifically designed for this application and the surface must be properly prepared. Iron and acrylic based materials can be very valuable under the correct conditions. Mechanically fastening a wall panel system is an excellent way to address the interior side of a foundation wall. These wall panel systems create a permanent barrier and are guaranteed to last the life of the structure – plus they look great! Back To Top
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WATERPROOF COMPANIES?
The most important factor is experience. An inexperienced waterproofing company can end up costing more over time. Find out how many years the company you are dealing with has been in business (not the franchise which may be located in another state). It is very common for waterproofing companies not to have any experience at all because they have purchased a franchise. Often these companies send out inexperienced salesmen. These characters don’t diagnose – they sell. Back To Top
When was the company licensed to do business in your area which is unlike other areas in the country and how many projects have they completed? Are they leaders in the industry and recognized by their peers and professionals who seek them out as educators and advisors.
How many projects has the particular waterproofing company completed so that one is assured that the diagnoses and remedy will be an effective solution to the particular basement seepage condition?
A house is the greatest investment one makes in a lifetime and should not be where cheap inexperienced work is allowed. Whether a company is licensed and insured can account for a vast price differences. Back To Top