Despite its perceived strength, concrete is naturally porous and susceptible to water absorption. Tiny pores and hairline cracks throughout the material mean concrete requires treatment to enhance strength and protection. Untreated basements pose significant risks, including flooding, excessive mold and mildew growth, and the infiltration of radon gases.
Foundation waterproofing coatings protect your basement from water damage and prevent leaks, moisture buildup, and mold growth. Here are some common types of waterproofing application used for foundations :
1. Cementitious Waterproofing Coatings
Cementitious coatings are made from cement, sand, and waterproofing additives. They are applied directly to the basement walls and floors, creating a durable and watertight barrier. These coatings are easy to apply, cost-effective, and can withstand hydrostatic pressure.
2. Bituminous Coatings
Bituminous coatings, also known as asphalt coatings, are made from a mixture of bitumen and solvents. They form a thick, waterproof membrane when applied to basement surfaces. Bituminous coatings are water-resistant and can also protect against certain chemicals.
3. Liquid Rubber Coatings
Liquid rubber coatings are highly flexible and provide excellent waterproofing properties. They are typically applied as a liquid that cures into a seamless, rubber-like membrane. These coatings can expand and contract with the movement of the basement structure, making them suitable for areas with potential basement crack repair.
4. Polyurethane Coatings
Polyurethane coatings are applied as a liquid that forms a tough, elastic membrane upon curing. They provide exceptional waterproofing capabilities and are often used for basement crack repair and preventing water infiltration. Polyurethane coatings can withstand a wide range of temperatures and are resistant to chemicals and UV exposure.
5. Epoxy Coatings
Epoxy coatings are durable and resistant to water, chemicals, and abrasion. While they are commonly used for basement floor waterproofing coatings, they can also be applied to walls for added waterproofing basement protection. Epoxy coatings create a seamless and easy-to-clean surface that can help reduce basement moisture issues.
6. Silicate-based Penetrating Sealers
Silicate-based penetrating sealers are designed to penetrate the concrete surface, reacting with the minerals to form a waterproof barrier. They do not change the appearance or texture of the surface and are ideal for basement walls where a clear, natural finish is desired.
Best sealer for basement waterproofing
While a minimal level of moisture may seem inconsequential, when water manages to infiltrate concrete and seep through walls, it can result in undesirable consequences such as the growth of mold, mildew, and persistent dampness. This is particularly prevalent in basements, as water can permeate through the pores and capillary channels of the concrete, leading to saturated walls and damp carpets. Seepage commonly arises from minute cracks in the foundation or permeable concrete blocks.
To remediate and prevent water absorption, concrete basement waterproofing application are the best concrete solution. However, certain factors need consideration:
Evaluating the moisture level
Firstly, evaluate the moisture level within the concrete itself by performing a Calcium Chloride Test. Once you have addressed any cracks and determined the basement’s moisture condition, you can select and apply an appropriate basement sealer to protect the concrete against future water damage.
If the moisture content of the concrete falls within the range of 3 to 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours (as per ASTM F1869), an ideal choice would be a moisture vapor barrier coating. In the case of concrete with a moisture content below 4% (as measured by a concrete moisture meter), a penetrating concrete waterproofing sealer can be effectively utilized. Additionally, penetrating cement water sealer is suitable for proactively sealing a concrete basement.
A standard technique for figuring out a concrete slab’s moisture vapour emission rate (MVER) is the calcium chloride test. A small amount of calcium chloride (salt) is positioned beneath plastic on a spotless concrete surface to carry out this test. The calcium chloride takes up moisture from the concrete over the course of around 72 hours. The MVER is then determined by measuring the rise in calcium chloride weight. It is advised to use a moisture vapour barrier coating if the calcium chloride test indicates that the concrete has a high moisture content that is greater than 3 pounds (1.36 kg). For this, ordering a calcium chloride test kit online is simple.
Options for sealing your concrete basement:
When it comes to sealing a basement, you have several options. You can hire a professional waterproofing company, but it can be costly. Alternatively, you can choose to apply an easy-to-use, industrial-grade waterproofing foundation sealer yourself.
Sealing your concrete basement before winter is crucial due to the melting snow, increased flooding, and overall wet conditions during the season. By taking proactive measures and applying concrete sealant, you can prevent basement floors and walls from seeping water. It’s preferable to apply a concrete sealant as soon as possible, but it can also be applied later as long as the slab is properly cleaned, and any paint is removed before application.
For basement floor waterproofing and foundation waterproofing, the recommended concrete waterproofing sealer you can opt for is:
Concrete Waterproofing Sealer
A high-quality acrylic-based or silane/siloxane-based concrete waterproofing sealer can protect against water penetration. Look for products specifically designed for concrete that offer long-lasting waterproofing properties.
Penetrating Concrete Sealer
Alternatively, if your concrete has never experienced moisture or dampness issues and you seek a preventative and cost-effective solution, Penetrating sealers such as silicate or silicone are the best. They work by penetrating the concrete surface and chemically reacting with it to form a protective barrier. These sealers can help reduce water absorption and prevent moisture-related issues.
Epoxy coatings are commonly used for basement floor waterproofing. They create a seamless and durable barrier that resists water and moisture. Epoxy coatings can also enhance the appearance of the floor and provide chemical resistance.
Polyurethane coatings are known for their excellent waterproofing properties. They form a protective film on the concrete surface, providing resistance against water, chemicals, and abrasion. Polyurethane coatings are suitable for both interior and exterior applications.
Concrete densifiers penetrate the concrete and chemically react with it to increase its density and strength. While densifiers are not strictly waterproofing products, they can help reduce water absorption and improve the overall durability of the concrete.
Here are some additional types of waterproofing methods you should know:
Peel and Stick Foundation Waterproofing
Peel and stick foundation waterproofing is a popular method that uses self-adhesive membranes to create a waterproof barrier on the foundation walls. The process typically involves cleaning and preparing the foundation surface, followed by applying the membrane directly to the exterior of the foundation. The self-adhesive nature of the membrane ensures a secure and watertight seal. This technique is particularly effective for existing structures, as it can be easily applied over the existing foundation.
New Construction Foundation Waterproofing
New construction foundation waterproofing refers to the application of waterproofing techniques during the initial construction phase of a building. This proactive approach helps prevent water infiltration and potential damage to the foundation from the outset. Common methods used in new construction waterproofing include installing drainage systems, applying liquid or sheet membranes, and incorporating waterproofing additives in the concrete mix. Implementing these techniques during construction protects the building’s foundation from the start, reducing the risk of future water-related issues.
Spray-On Foundation Waterproofing
Spray-on foundation waterproofing involves using a liquid waterproofing material that is sprayed directly onto the foundation walls. This technique creates a seamless and flexible protective barrier. The liquid material typically contains polymers or rubberized compounds that bond to the foundation surface, forming a durable and watertight membrane. Spray-on waterproofing is known for effectively covering irregular surfaces and hard-to-reach areas. It is often used in both new construction and renovation projects.
Foundation Waterproofing Paint
Foundation waterproofing paint is a specialized type of paint that contains waterproofing agents. It is designed to be applied to the exterior surface of the foundation walls. This paint forms a protective barrier, preventing water from penetrating the foundation. While foundation waterproofing paint can provide some moisture resistance, it is important to note that it is not as effective as other methods mentioned above. It is typically used as an additional layer of protection in conjunction with other waterproofing techniques or for minor water seepage issues.
Porous concrete requires appropriate treatments and coatings to prevent water infiltration, moisture buildup, and potential mold growth and structural damage.
This blog has explored various types of coatings and waterproofing applications for foundation protection. Cementitious coatings, bituminous coatings, liquid rubber coatings, polyurethane coatings, epoxy coatings, and silicate-based penetrating sealers are all effective options for basement waterproofing, each with advantages and suitability for different situations.
When selecting the best sealer for basement waterproofing, evaluating the moisture level within the concrete and choosing an appropriate solution is essential. Factors such as moisture content, presence of cracks, and desired finish should guide your selection process. Moisture vapor barrier coatings, penetrating sealers, epoxy coatings, and acrylic or silane/siloxane-based concrete waterproofing sealers are among the recommended effective protection against water penetration.