Waterproofing Your Basement

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 29, 2018)

If you have cracks or holes in your unfinished basement walls or floor, and your basement fills with water during wet seasons, then you need to call in a professional to waterproof your basement. However, if your basement walls or floor have hairline cracks and minimal water seepage, then you can waterproof your basement yourself. You will need the following items, and you may find them at your local home improvement store:

  • Sand
  • Work gloves
  • Cement
  • Stiff brush
  • Epoxy
  • Sander
  • Putty knife or trowel
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Weep pipe

First, repair all holes and cracks by filling them with mortar. Mortar is made by mixing two parts sand with one part cement, and enough water to make a stiff paste. Use your putty knife or trowel to apply the mortar into hairline cracks. If water trickles rather than seeps through a crack, use your chisel and hammer to chip out a groove along the crack and then apply mortar. Use the same method to repair holes. Once you've filled all of the holes and cracks with mortar, make sure to smooth the mortar with your trowel.

If water is trapped against the wall and under pressure to escape, insert your weep pipe through the wall at the floor where the two planes meet, and allow the water to flow from the pipe to a floor drain. Apply mortar to the hole or crack and allow it to dry. When the water slows to a trickle, remove the pipe and then fill the hole with mortar. To completely plug the hole created by the pipe, make a plug with cement slightly larger than the hole, insert it into the hole, hold it in place for a few minutes and allow it to set, and then prepare to waterproof your basement by following these steps:

  1. Moisten the basement walls and floor with water.
  2. Using a stiff brush, apply the epoxy to the repaired cracks and holes according to the directions on the package. Start at the bottom of the wall and work towards the top, and then back down again.
  3. When the epoxy dries, thoroughly wet the repaired areas and then allow them to dry for at least twelve hours.
  4. Once the area is dry, apply a second coat by repeating steps one through three above.
  5. Observe your basement carefully during the year after your waterproofing job. If your basement stays dry the entire year, then your waterproofing is sufficient. If your basement develops more leaks, patch them and then waterproof them as they happen.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


Treating First-degree Burns

Exercise good judgment and common sense when treating first-degree burns at home. Know the varying stages of first-degree ...

Discover More

Checking for and Eliminating Drafts

An easy way to check to see where a draft is coming from is to stand with a lighted candle next to a window or door. The ...

Discover More

Pricing Flooring

Before pricing flooring, decide what type of flooring you want, and for what purpose. Vinyl flooring is certainly less ...

Discover More

MAX Power! A powerful lithium-ion drill/driver that delivers 0-to-650 RPM and 115 inches-per-pound of torque in a lightweight, easy-to-use package. An anti-slip soft grip and LED worklight makes this tool a delight to use. Check out Black & Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Foundation Repairs

The foundation of the home is one of the single most important parts of a home. Without a solid and secure foundation, ...

Discover More

Inspecting Your Foundation

Although one of the easiest steps in a preventative maintenance program for your home, a foundation inspection can save ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)