Basements are the base on which the entire house rests. Any basement problem in turn affects the entire structure overtime. Therefore, basement issues, especially moisture issues should not be taken for granted. Moisture seeps through the walls and cracks of the basement and overtime might seep through the floors and walls of the house also. It increases the humidity of the house, deepens the foundation cracks worsening the water intrusion problem. It might also lead to musty odors, mold growth and leaks, if ignored. Thus, moisture problems of the basement must be arrested as soon as they are discovered. Let us read further to find out top ten solutions to keep your basement dry.

What are the ten best solutions to keep the basements dry?

When it comes to basement moisture problems, one thing should always be clear, the earlier the better. As soon as the problem is seen, it should be arrested. There are different methods to arrest basement moisture problems. Let us read about the ten best solutions to keep the basements dry.


Ventilation is the obvious and the easiest way to keep the basements dry. Most of the basements already have windows. Opening them is the best option to keep the air circulated and hence control the moisture problems. Sometimes opening the windows might mean inviting pests and rodents from the outside environment. This is one disadvantage which can be overcome by installing nets. You may have to also ponder about the location of the house. If you stay at a location which is already very high in atmospheric moisture, then ventilation might increase already present moisture problems in the basements. Using a simple vent fan may also help to increase the overall airflow in the basements. It is always better to consult a professional waterproofing company before blindly following any solution, however easy it may seem.

Desiccant  and/or desiccant dehumidifier

A desiccant is a substance that extracts excess moisture from the air. Most commonly used desiccant substances are: baking soda, silica, calcium chloride (rock salt) and charcoal. You can create your own desiccant dehumidifier using a small container of desiccant or desiccant bags from the stores. This is a cheaper option to keep your basements dry and works best especially for a smaller basement. 

Desiccant dehumidifier is also a solution to keep your basements dry. These are the devices that extract excess moisture from the air with the help of desiccant substances. They use a desiccant wheel that absorbs moisture from the air. The desiccant is regenerated by an internal heater and this process is repeated. 

Basement grading

Basement grading is a process of shaping the land around the basement area. The land should slope away from the building at a consistent angle. It ensures proper drainage, directs the rainwater and snowmelt away from the foundations and prevents water accumulation. If there is no water accumulation, there is no seepage of water in the basements. Thus, basement grading is an important part of basement waterproofing. 

Proper installation of gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are an important part of the exterior of a home. They collect the rain water around the home’s foundation and direct it away from the same. Gutters collect the rainwater. It is important to ensure that they are designed and constructed properly. It is equally important to ensure that they are clear of the leaves, debris and dirt. Otherwise, due to accumulation of debris the water will become stagnant and will overflow resulting in flood and leaky basements. Downspouts are an extension of the gutter system to direct the water away from your home’s foundation. Gutter and downspouts together prevent the water pooling and help to keep the basements moisture free.

Sump pump

A sump pump is a water drainage mechanism used for waterproofing. They are placed in the basements or the lowest points of your home in contact with the soil below. They have a float. It gets activated when the water level rises during heavy rainfall or snowmelt. It detects the rise in the water level and automatically gets activated. The collected rainwater is drained out through a network of interconnected pipes at a farther and safer spot from your foundation. Different types of sump pumps are: 

Pedestal sump pumps

They are not buried in a sump pit or trench but placed above the water line next to the trench.

Submersible sump pumps

They are easy to maintain sump pumps submerged within the sump pit. The pump automatically gets activated when the water level rises.

Water-powered sump pumps

They are a backup to the main pump. If the main pump experiences some problem, these water powered pumps will work to redirect water away from the basements.

Whichever type of sump pump you install, they are extremely useful to protect from water damage. Sump pump is one of the best options to keep your basements dry especially at places where it rains or snows a lot. 

Vapor barrier on basement wall

Vapor barrier is exactly as it sounds. It blocks the water vapor from seeping into the basement walls by reducing the rate at which water vapor can penetrate the surface below it.  These are the sheets that are placed along the basement walls. They can be plastic sheets of different thickness, foil or closed cell spray foam insulation. These sheets might differ in their levels of permeability. This is measured in units called ‘perms’. The lower the rating, lesser vapor will be allowed through it. The choice of the sheet would depend upon the local weather and construction materials used in your basement. 

Insulate the water pipes

The cold water pipes freeze when the temperatures are extremely low. They sweat when there is an increase in the humidity levels. The closed area of basements then becomes a perfect place for mold growth. But if the cold water pipes are insulated properly, it slows down the condensation process, tremendously reducing the chances of mold formation and helps in keeping the basements clean and dry. 

Application of sealants

Interior sealants are applied to the interior of the basement walls and floors. Water seeps through the cracks and gaps on them. It further worsens the basement moisture problems. Interior sealants create a waterproof barrier and the walls and floors cannot be permeated by water. This is an easy method to keep your basements dry but is effective only for minor moisture problems. Another point is that the sealants work for a specific time frame only and thus they have to be reapplied.

Use a dehumidifier

There are good quality dehumidifiers designed specifically for the basements. They extract excess moisture from the air and maintain optimum humidity levels. Humidity levels should be between 30%-50% in the basements. If it exceeds that level, consider using a dehumidifier. Even if using a dehumidifier machine, it is very important to maintain proper settings of the same to maintain the appropriate humidity level in the basement. 

Application of waterproofing paints

Waterproofing paints are effective to protect your basement walls from the moisture and in turn keeping them dry. But when applying waterproof paints, proper cleaning of the walls must be done. Ensure removal of dust, dirt, mold or mildew using water and mold killing detergent. Let the walls dry completely. Also fill all the cracks and holes and address all the leaks. If the humidity levels are very high use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity levels. Then apply the waterproofing paints. Latex based waterproofing paints are a popular choice. It can be applied to both the interior and exterior of the basement walls. You can also choose a silicate based waterproofing paint. Whatever type of waterproofing paint you select, it is important to make the preparations properly before its application. If this is done properly, waterproofing paints go a long way to keep your basements dry.

Many times it is very difficult to make choices while waterproofing the basements. Like the choice of waterproofing paints, the quality of dehumidifier, the type of sealant or vapor barrier. At times like these professional help and guidance is crucial. If you are a Delaware resident struggling to keep your basements dry, contact Delaware Waterproofing. We are your shield against water intrusion. We ensure you peace of mind through top quality residential and commercial waterproofing solutions. Our aim is to protect your home from water damage and keep your basement dry. We also provide drainage solutions, mold remediation, structural repair, basement filing and remodeling and crawlspace waterproofing. Trust Delaware waterproofing, because your family deserves better!

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Basements are the most neglected areas of the structures. Therefore, when they have moisture problems, they go unnoticed most of the time. But, the first rule of solving all the moisture issues of your basements is to address them at the earliest. Then the source of the problem needs to be found and an appropriate solution applied accordingly. The top ten solutions to keep your basements dry are:

  • Ventilation
  • Desiccant  and/or desiccant dehumidifier
  • Basement grading
  • Proper installation of gutters and downspouts
  • Sump pump
  • Vapor barrier on basement wall
  • Insulate the water pipes
  • Application of sealants
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Application of waterproofing paints

Though some solutions might seem easy, some are not. Professional help and guidance are essential when undertaking any basement waterproofing tasks. Afterall, it is a matter of basement maintenance and the integrity of your entire structure. It is not an expenditure but an investment into the life of your structure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best basement waterproofing solutions?

Some of the best basement waterproofing solutions are:

  • Ventilation
  • Basement grading
  • Sump pump installation
  • Vapor barrier on basement wall
  • Insulation of water pipes

What can I use for the moisture barrier in my basements?

Sealants can be applied to effectively fill the cracks and fissures on basement walls and floors. Installation of vapor barriers goes a long way to protect the basements. Another option for moisture barrier in basements is the use of waterproof paints. Use an option as per the nature of your problem and property.

How to reduce basement humidity?

Through following measures, basement humidity can be reduced:

  • Ventilation
  • Use of a dehumidifier
  • Use of desiccant and/or desiccant dehumidifier

Is it necessary to seek professional help while waterproofing basements?

There are some DIY basement waterproofing methods like ventilation, use of a desiccant, application of a sealant and the use of a dehumidifier. In these also many decisions do need professional intervention. For example, if you stay at a place that is high in atmospheric humidity, ventilation might not work. If it has to work, the nature of the vent, the location and direction of the vents has to be appropriate. Waterproofing experts deal with such kinds of cases on a daily basis. They know the local waterproofing trends also. Anytime, seeking professional help and/or consultation is the best way to go ahead with basement waterproofing solutions. Afterall, it’s a matter of structural integrity of the property. 

Is it worth it to waterproof a basement?

If you can prevent mold and mildew you create a healthier indoor environment. You can also prevent cracks and other issues that impact the foundation of the structure. It is definitely worth waterproofing your basements.