I've done the easy fixes (grading, move downspouts, etc.), but I still
have an occasional bit of water run down one of the basement walls.
This is a problem because I would like to refinish my basement. I
have read that the most dependable solution is to excavate down to the
footer, seal exterior walls, and install a footer drain. I don't want
to put this kind of money down (beyond my weekend warrior level of
labor) if another solution will work for my situation for less money.
I am hoping to get some advice to make the most out the plan or
perhaps receive advice on some alternative that can be done for under
about $1000. The estimate for digging down to the footer, sealing,
and installing drain was $4500.
Parts of the North wall of my cinder block basement only leaks when
North winds pound heavy rains against the house (or if sprinkler hits
house above N. foundation).
(1) Use a Bobcat to dig 5ft wide by 2ft deep trench around North side
(2) Seal the 2ft+ exposed part of the outer North foundation wall.
(3) Attach 5ft wide sheet of flashing to the foundation about 1 ½ ft
below ground level with a slight angle away from the house.
(4) Have the other end of the flashing empty into a small channel
drain about 5 ft away from the house. Dig out remainder of channel
drain that wraps around and drains behind the house.
(5) Shovel dirt back over the flashing and channel drain and re-grass.
My initial idea is to go with thin aluminum flashing because it is
resistant to the mice and moles in the yard. Where would one find
such large sheets of flashing or perhaps another material (real thick
plastic?) that will resist rodents and water. Thanks for any tips or
This isn't in your budget, but may be the best way to go:
I had a simular problem in a house I use to own. Cinderblock walls that
leaked into the basement. There was no drainage at all. I hired a specialist
who dug out a trench around the inside perimeter of the wall (about a 10' x
20' rectangle) laid in drain tile and installed a sump pump. This was back
in 1990 and it cost me somewhere around $1500 to $2000 back then. The
basement was dry from then on and I thought it was a great price at the
Ms Leslie Gossett
That sounds quite high. A backhoe and operator for a day shouldn't be more than
800.00. The rest, including backfilling (as long as the backfill is placed
alongside the trench) IS "weekend warrier" work. Or the operator could return
after sealing for another couple of hundred.
Ok. It sounds like I can probably fix leak the right way (dig down to
the footer, seal, and install drain) for only a few hundred more than
my "quick" fix. Are there any sealing methods that I should
especially consider or avoid? I remember hearing about a rubber-like
compound that works better than tar as a sealant. I've also heard
about a method of attaching rigid plastic sheets along the foundation
to keep out liquid water. Anyone know any details about these or
other methods? I only have a small occasional leak, so I think
"water-resistant" should be good enough compared to "water-proof," but
I'd hate to be wrong once it's all refinished...
Avoid tar as it is not waterproof but rather considered dampproof. It
resists water penetration but does not stop it especially under
For a good waterproof foundation sealer, go to a local builders supply
store, not the local hardware store or big box home improvement center.
Ask specifically for products that meet code for foundation
waterproofing and are elastomeric. Avoid anything masonry based. Most
products will be trowel on but some will be spray on. Either are fine
as long as you get an even application at the minimum recommended
thickness. Wall prep is key. Wall MUST be free of all dirt, dry, and
down to the bare masonry. Make sure that you use a protection board and
install new footer drains and either backfill with gravel or use a
There are several rigid sheet products used below grade in waterproofing
applications but most are used as protection board or drainage board.
They still requires a waterproof barrier between them and the foundation
wall. One rigid (actually semi-rigid) waterproof board is Para-seal.
Not sure I have the name right but it is either an EPDM or PVC board
that uses a bonded layer of sodium bentonite between it and the wall.
The board is mechanically fastened to the wall. The sodium bentonite
expands under pressure when in contact with water and prevents water
penetration. Lead panels have also been used for foundation
waterproofing, although that is dying out. Sodium Bentonite also comes
in a stand alone rigid panel, but reuires a separate protection board.
None are for DIY'ers though.
Water resistance is never a good thing to do. If you are going to dig
up the foundation wall, take the time to do it right. Builders get
burned all the time thinking that "water resistant" will be fine.
Check into Bituthene as a potential waterproof barrier. With a little
instruction, it can be done DIY, and is a far better product than the
vast majority of trowell on products.
No matter waht you choose make sure you have replaced all footer drains
and provided some kind of all wall drainage.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.