Damp Proofing FAQ

Damp-proofing FAQ

Basement damp-proofing or (as some people say) waterproofing can be very confusing. Depending on who you talk to, the solution to a damp-proofing problem might be as simple as a DIY paint job or as extensive as major excavation work to expose the exterior of a foundation wall. We can clear up some of this confusion. Basement Systems GB belongs to a network of contractors throughout the UK, Canada and the U.S. with over 20 years of basement waterproofing experience. Having served over 150,000 happy and dry customers, we know basements better than any one else. Many of the products we use have been developed and patented by our parent company; they’re not available from other contractors. Here are some expert answers to your questions about basement damp-proofing.

Q: Isn’t the best damp-proofing strategy one that deals with the problem from the outside of the foundation?

A: In theory, the answer to this question would be "yes." But in practice, exterior waterproofing systems don’t work well as the first, last and only line of defense against water intrusion. The seal created by the exterior layer is never completely watertight. So the best you can hope for is a lessening of the leakage that occurs. It’s wiser to assume some water leakage to the inside, which varies on exterior conditions. That’s what our WaterGuard® perimeter drain system does. Our system captures wall leakage as well as leakage that occurs between the wall and the slab –a common leak area that exterior waterproofing can’t address.

Q: Isn’t there an effective paint I can use to seal and waterproof the inside walls of my cellar?

A: Specially formulated waterproofing or damp-proofing paints will work in some cases, but not in others. This type of coating is really designed to adhere to porous, unfinished concrete block. It won’t work on stone, brick, poured concrete or masonry that has already been painted. If you seal a block wall effectively from the inside, the hollow cores of the blocks can fill with water, creating a dam effect that can result in a catastrophic leak at any weak point in your paint job. The best circumstance for using waterproof paint effectively is on basement or cellar walls that are dry most of the time to begin with.

Q: What can a homeowner do to reduce the amount of water that leaks into my basement?

A: The first step in any basement or cellar damp-proofing strategy should be to manage roof runoff and encourage ground water to drain away from foundation walls. Make sure your gutters/downspout system effectively captures roof runoff and carries it a good distance away from your house. The ground should slope away from your foundation to encourage favorable drainage. If you still have water leaking into your basement after completing this work, call in a damp-proofing specialist.

Q: How does an interior drain system work?

A: The patented WaterGuard® system from Basement Systems UK is designed to capture leakage from foundation walls and from beneath the basement floor slab. The WaterGuard® drainage channel is installed along the basement perimeter, but is covered by mortar, so it remains out of sight. This drainage system carries water to a sump basin below floor level. A sump pump automatically pumps water out of the house when the water reaches a preset level.

Q: How do I know the sump pump will always do its job?

A: Basement System sump pumps are the best in the industry, designed not to overheat or clog like cheaper pumps. We actually install a sump pump system that includes a durable composite basin liner, a heavy-duty sump pump, and an airtight sump cover. Some of our systems include more than one pump and a battery backup to operate during power outages. The finished installation is attractive, child-safe and designed to provide years of reliable, trouble-free performance.

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