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When we think of a basement, a dark,
unwelcoming room usually comes to mind. Basements don't have to be
stuck with this unpleasant reputation. The look and feel of
basements can be changed with a simple remodel. Having a furnished
basement can add value and comfort to your home, but if you have a
basement that's in need of some dressing up, you're likely to
encounter a maze of pipes and ducts that you have to deal with
first. Our basement section takes you step-by-step through on how to
spice up your basement.
Basement Waterproofing - Water,
Water Everywhere - But Not in Your Basement!
It can be one of
the most disheartening experiences a homeowner ever faces—to walk
down the stairs to the basement after a heavy rainstorm to find
water, water everywhere. What can you do?
Using a quality
water-proofing coating is a key strategy. However, take note: Even
the best waterproofing coating may fail to stop moisture if the
block walls are not in sound condition. Brush away loose mortar and
broken block; remove dirt, grease, dust and other surface
contaminants; wire-brush or sandblast old paint; use a quick-dry
cement to patch cracks, holes and floor/wall joints.
sure to follow manufacturer's instructions. The most frequent error
customers make is failing to apply a waterproofing coating at the
spread-rate specified by the manufacturer. If the coating is too
thin, it will not stop moisture seepage. In cases of excessive water
seepage, a second coat may be needed. During the application, the
coating must be worked into the masonry pores.
paint manufacturers use the terms interchangeably, water-repellent
and waterproofing coatings are not the same. A water-repellent
coating system is an exterior coating system for above-grade
concrete or masonry. It temporarily repels water, but it is not
intended to prevent the passage of moisture under hydrostatic
pressure. Some repellents are film-forming; others act by filling
surface pores to prevent moisture movement.
coating systems, on the other hand, are intended to prevent the
passage of water under hydrostatic pressure. These film-forming
coatings are formulated for above and/or below grade and for
interior and/or exterior application.
may be caused by several conditions. Rain runoff flowing toward a
house, high water table and faulty gutter systems are the most
common causes of hydrostatic pressure on a foundation. Wind-driven
rain is the most common cause of hydrostatic pressure on an
exterior, above-grade wall.
Sometimes interior condensation
can be mistaken for seepage due to hydrostatic pressure. To
distinguish between the two, tape a piece of aluminum foil to the
inside of the foundation wall. Remove the foil after several days.
If the wall side of the foil is wet, seepage is the problem. If the
room side is wet, condensation is the problem. (Both problems can
occur at the same time.)
While a dehumidifier can solve the
condensation problem, a quality waterproofing coating is needed to
stop the seepage. Not all coatings are intended for waterproofing.
Most acrylic latex paints, for instance, are not formulated for this