According to a study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median age of houses in the U.S. is 36 years. While not very old for a home, a lot can happen in 36 years: a new roof, some energy efficient windows, updated plumbing, basement waterproofing, maybe a fresh coat of blacktop for the driveway?
There are always certain things that just seem to need an upgrade after a while; things that were put in place when the home was built that just weren’t made to stand the test of time. Do you think your original basement waterproofing system is any exception? Well, as you may have guessed, it really isn’t.
We’ve seen original drainage systems fail time after time, destroying priceless family possessions and causing dangerously toxic mold buildup. And the worst part about seeing the destruction and headache a basement flood can cause is knowing just how preventable all that trouble really is.
Now I recognize that not all of us are the original homeowners and may have a little trouble recognizing if your home is equipped with sufficient basement waterproofing infrastructure. Not to worry, here are a few things to look for when deciding if your current basement waterproofing system is outdated:
1. Clay Sump Pit & Drainage Pipes
A clay sump pit and drainage pipes (drain tile) are a sure bet that your waterproofing system is original and may be in need of an overhaul.
Clay is an outdated material that is still commonly used by home builders to cut down on build costs. These days, clay drain tile has all but been completely replaced by stronger, non-corrosive, longer lasting PVC pipe.
Perforated PVC pipe is the preferred alternative because it eliminates the possibility of common issues like shifting, clogging, and cracking. Also, by surrounding the perforated pipe with washed gravel, we can eliminate the risk of roots pushing their way into the pipe, while still allowing for maximum water drainage.
2. Sealed Concrete Cove Joint
The cove joint is the place where the wall meets the floor in your basement. Despite the fact that the cove joint is one of the most common entry points for water in the basement, builders opt for a direct seal between the floor and the foundation wall.
Since concrete against concrete is not an effective barrier for water, this will break down and easily give way to water pressure very quickly. Today’s waterproofing experts know that effective drainage and air flow are the best ways to combat water, not trying to block it off with concrete and caulk. Most modern waterproofing systems will now include a “Cove Plate,” or plastic spacer between the edge of the floor and the foundation wall, to allow air into the perforated drain tile for more efficient water flow.
3. Cheap Exterior Foundation Sealant
Wait… home builders want to save money when building homes?! Who would’ve guess it, right? Well truth be told, they have been know to skimp within the basement waterproofing arena, but who can blame them? They’re there to build homes, they’re not in the waterproofing industry.
Most of the time home builders will do a just sufficient job and offer a 1 year warranty on the foundation. But “standard” methods aren’t necessarily meant to make it for the long haul. Take the exterior of the foundation wall, for example. After a foundation is poured, it is painted with a thin layer of what is essentially driveway sealant. It doesn’t take long at all for this material to crack away and disintegrate.
Waterproofing experts find the most effective long term solution involves excavating the foundation walls, scraping them down, then adding a 1/2″ thick layer of waterproofing mastic as well as a layer of industrial strength plastic. This paired with effective interior and exterior drain tile (using filtered PVC pipe), will provide a more permanent solution for the health of your home.
Want more information about how you can identify basement issues and how to address them? Click here and download our FREE E-book, Basement Waterproofing Bootcamp today!
Want even more information? Well you’re a tough one to please! We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have right over the phone; all you have to do is ask! Feel free to call our office anytime at (586) 698-3030.