Waterproofing Your Basement

by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 5, 2015)

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. ...

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