If you've started to notice a musty odor in your home's basement, that's a key indication that there's a moisture problem in there somewhere. Before you can effectively waterproof the property, you'll need to identify the source. Here are some tips to help you spot the source of the problem and seal your basement against further issues.
Finding The Source Of The Moisture
Before you can adequately protect your basement, you need to know where the moisture is coming in. While a basement waterproofing company may be able to help you narrow it down, there are things you can do to identify it yourself, too.
Cut out some aluminum foil in one-foot squares. You want enough squares to have at least one for each wall. If you have a large basement, you might want two for each wall so you can put a square on each end of the wall. Tape the foil on the inside of the basement wall, then leave it for a day.
After that day passes, check the condition of the foil. If you can see condensation on the room-facing side of the foil, that's a sign that you have too much humidity in the air. You can easily combat this with a dehumidifier in the basement. However, if you see any condensation on the side of the foil that's been placed up against the wall, that's where your moisture is seeping in. If that's occurring, you need to waterproof the walls.
Considering Interior Waterproofing Choices
There are three key types of waterproofing to choose from for interior wall surfaces.
- Concrete coating is a thick, cement-like mixture. It bonds to the concrete to form a watertight layer. You apply it in even coats with a heavy brush. You'll have to mix it together by adding water to the powder, so follow the instructions carefully.
- Silicone sealer works well for bare concrete walls. If there are no other treatments on the concrete walls, you can coat them in the silicone sealer to form a chemical bond that seals the concrete pores. Since it penetrates the pores of the concrete, you can then paint over it or finish the basement walls however you'd like.
- Acrylic paint designed for waterproofing is similar to traditional paint, but it goes on thicker. It's designed to form a solid waterproof barrier over the wall surface. It's versatile enough that you can even paint over it afterward, if you choose.
Opting For Exterior Protection
For the best possible waterproofing protection, you should also consider treating the exterior of the walls. That way, you don't risk moisture from outside seeping into the concrete and weakening it. You can use many of the same coatings outside as inside, but you might want to talk with a waterproofing contractor about a membrane barrier instead. You'll have to excavate around the perimeter of the house to treat the exterior basement walls, but while you're at it, you can add a drainage system to route water away from the house.
For more information about your options, check out websites like http://www.rite-waywaterproofing.com.