There are a few different approaches your contractor can take for waterproofing your basement. The contractor takes into account what's causing the problem to figure out the most effective solution. A waterproof membrane barrier might be chosen alone or along with another waterproofing method to keep water from seeping through the concrete walls. Waterproof membranes can be installed inside or outside the home. Here's how they work.
Installation On An Exterior Wall
The best time to install a waterproof membrane on the foundation of a house is when it is being built and all the walls are exposed. However, it is possible to install an exterior membrane on an existing house. This is often done along with installing a French drain system since installing the drain requires digging a trench near the walls anyway. To apply the membrane, the exterior walls have to be exposed. This entails digging away the earth that covers the basement walls. When that's done, the membrane is applied, the drain installed, and then the earth is replaced.
The main advantage of installing a membrane on the outside of the walls is that it stops water from seeping through. If the membrane is on the inside, water still seeps through and must be dealt with internally. An exterior membrane also reduces hydrostatic pressure on the walls. Some membranes have ridges or bumps on them that route water toward a drain. The elevated part of the membrane forms a gap that keeps hydrostatic pressure from affecting the concrete walls of your foundation.
Installation Of An Interior Waterproof Membrane
There are different types of membranes for interior use. Some are painted on and others come in sheets you apply to the walls. The sheets are like the ones used on exterior walls that have ridges that direct water toward a drain. These are generally more effective since hydrostatic pressure will always be at work on the walls with the membrane on the inside. Water may eventually work its way through the concrete and with a textured membrane in place, it will be drip into a drain. A drain can be buried inside your basement and connected to a sump pump to pump water back outside. A drain system keeps your floor from being wet and a membrane on the walls keeps your walls dry so you can finish them and turn your basement into living space.
Both methods of waterproofing with a membrane are effective. Applying it outside keeps water from ever getting inside the walls, but it also requires digging up your yard. Installing a drain and membrane inside your house saves your yard and expensive landscaping. It may even be necessary if you have a shed or garage near your house that prevents heavy equipment from having room to work near your home's foundation. Your contractor will assess the situation and determine if a waterproof membrane is a good solution and whether it should be applied indoors or outside.
For more information about basement waterproofing, contact a local professional.