Waterproofing and damp proofing your basement is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home. Not only will it help keep your basement dry, but it will also help prevent mould and mildew from growing. If you are hoping to turn your basement into a usable living space, waterproofing is an essential step to safeguard your investment.
There are a number of different ways to waterproof and damp proof your basement, so be sure to read up on the best methods for your home. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide.
What is waterproofing?
Waterproofing a basement is essential if you want to protect your investment. While it cannot protect from things like flooding, it can help to prevent groundwater from rising up through your property. This makes it a smart investment for any building owner. There are several ways to waterproof a basement, including installing drainage systems, sealing cracks and holes, and applying waterproofing membrane sealants.
Tanking is the most common method to make a basement watertight after construction. This method involves applying a waterproof membrane inside the property to help prevent moisture from the ground from rising up. This is commonly done after construction when it would be difficult to access the exterior foundations without extensive excavation. By focusing on the interior, tanking can be completed quickly and easily.
Applying waterproofing paints or sealants as needed is another great step toward long-term protection of your structure’s basement, helping to prevent moisture, mould, rot and termites for years to come.
What is damp proofing?
Damp proofing a basement can mean several things. It could involve chemical damp proof courses, which are injected into walls to create an impermeable barrier. Or it could involve addressing moisture levels and preventing damp from forming on surfaces. This can be done with special paints, membranes, or other materials designed for this purpose. It can also be achieved by making sure the area has proper ventilation and moisture control.
Damp proofing a basement is an essential step for homeowners to keep their house in good condition and ensure the longevity of its structure. This process involves creating a barrier between the basement walls and the exterior. Chemical damp proof courses are the most common way to prevent rising damp in a property. You can also seal the interior of the property with special primers and treatments.
Specialized materials are used to accomplish this, such as waterproofing paints, membranes, and sealants. Installing these barriers can stop water seepage from rising up, making sure that both serious structural damage and mould don’t become problems further down the line.
With careful implementation, these solutions can give years of protection against basement dampness and keep your home’s interior environment pleasant.
When should waterproofing and damp proofing take place?
In an ideal world, this would take place during the construction of the building, but this doesn’t always happen. If you are converting your basement, then waterproofing is the first thing that should take place before anything else. The tanking membrane should be added before you install flooring or paint the walls, as this will help to protect your investment.
If your basement is left unfinished, you might not think about waterproofing until you decide to convert it into a usable living space. However, there are benefits to waterproofing your basement before this. If your basement is left untreated, it will be a trap for moisture from around your house. This can lead to an unpleasant damp and musty smell in your home that can be difficult to mask.
Even if you don’t plan on using your basement as a living space, it will be a far more effective storage space if it is protected from damp. Storing anything in a damp basement will result in damp forming on your belongings, which could ruin them.
Waterproofing and damp proofing a basement can also help to increase the value of your property if you decide to sell. While you might not have the budget to convert the basement, a prospective buyer might be more tempted by the prospect of a basement space that is ready for conversion.
Keeping a basement dry
Once you have tanked the basement and prevented moisture from rising from the ground and surrounding walls, it’s now time to address other moisture problems.
The first step is to determine whether your basement is actually damp or just humid. You can do this by measuring the humidity levels with a hygrometer. To find out if your basement is actually damp or just humid, a hygrometer is essential.
This tool measures the relative levels of moisture and helps determine if they meet the appropriate threshold for dampness vs humidity. To properly operate a hygrometer, you must locate it within the enclosed space of concern.
The hygrometer should be set on its highest settings to reliably measure moist air; the highest setting may vary according to the model so make sure to refer to the manufacturer’s manual for guidance.
Once properly calibrated and set up, the hygrometer will be able to provide an accurate reading that you can use to ascertain how much moisture is present in your basement. Taking these measurements is critical for tackling any moisture problem you may have as well as preventing further issues from occurring in the future.
What to do if you have high humidity
High humidity levels can lead to a myriad of problems in your basement, including warping wood, mould and mildew growth, and even structural damage. If you take proactive steps to waterproof your basement soon after the humidity levels rise, however, you can protect your home from potential water damage.
The most effective waterproofing methods tend to involve sealing walls and floors with a rubber membrane, although other solutions may be applicable depending on the situation. It’s important to keep an eye on humidity levels in your basement or consult with a professional who can assess and remediate any water issues quickly and effectively.
Common sources of high humidity include bathrooms and appliances like tumble driers. Make sure your shower and tumble drier are properly vented so that the moisture doesn’t build up in the air.
How to prevent damp in your basement
Once you’ve sealed the walls and floors of your basement to prevent moisture from entering, you can then begin to look at damp proofing your home. Damp proofing can mean many different things, including ensuring good ventilation, properly heating the space, and using specialist primers to coat the walls and ceiling.
If your building suffers from rising damp as a result of a failed damp proof course, this will need to be corrected. If you have rising damp, no amount of preventative measures will help to keep your basement dry.
Remember, taking proactive steps now will help you save significant amounts of time and money when renovating later on down the line.
Why are waterproofing and damp proofing essential?
If you are expanding your home into your basement, this is a significant undertaking. To do so without proper waterproofing would be like building a house without foundations. It risks being ruined in the future, and you’ll have to pay to put it right.
By taking these steps, you can increase the value of your home while also making it more comfortable and livable for yourself and your family. You can also protect any possessions such as furniture that you store in your basement.
Taking the right steps to increase the value of your home doesn’t have to be a long and arduous process. There are a few simple and cost-effective measures you can take that will boost its overall value, while also making it more suitable as a place to live.
Making sure the walls and ceilings are painted properly, repairing any cracked woodwork, tending to clutter and updating fixtures or appliances can all achieve these effects simultaneously. Doing these tasks regularly might even help maintain the maintained state of the house, preventing possible damage over time. Ultimately, this brings improved quality of life for your family and boosts the bottom line economically when it comes to reselling and appraisals down the line.
Converting your basement into another living space is ideal if you want more space in your home but don’t want to have to move house. However, there are steps you need to take before this will be possible.
Start by properly protecting your basement with tanking membranes. This will prevent moisture from seeping up from the ground. Next, you should take steps to address any potential points of entry for moisture from the outside. And finally, address moisture in the air by ensuring you have good air circulation and ventilation.
By taking these steps, you can keep your basement space free from damp and moisture. This can help to increase the value of your property and increase your usable living space.