The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Damp Proofing a Basement - The Essential Guide

The basement of any property is particularly susceptible to damp because it's usually below ground level where there is more moisture soaked into the earth around it. When this earth becomes saturated the water looks for other areas to penetrate and this might be your wall if it's in the right place.

A damp basement might not seem like much of a problem since most people only use their basement for storage and not to live in. However, the basement also provides the foundation on which the house relies upon for its structure. If the basement becomes infected with damp it can cause structural issues.

There are many advantages to basement waterproofing such as you can use the basement area as a living space which will significantly increase the value of the properly. Best of all it's not that expensive to install basement tanking and it's a task that can be completed yourself as a DIY job.

Once your basement has been completely waterproofed it will prevent any damp from entering for a long time, providing it's done properly. Effectively you could turn your basement into a large tank and no water would escape once it's been waterproofed. Although this wouldn't be advisable for obvious reasons!

Why waterproof the basement?

By properly tanking the basement it effectively becomes a fully useable room of your house. You could turn it into a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, a wine cellar, a living room, work office or even a rented area to lodgers. Your only limit really is your imagination. What's more; your properties' value will increase too.

Cementitious Waterproofing Slurries

This method if installing basement waterproofing involves adding a thin layer of waterproof cement to the floor, walls and ceiling of the basement. The solution is mixed with water and can then be applied either by spray or trowel. It will bond with the masonry substrate which will set to create a completely waterproof layer that will last for a long time.

Studded Membranes

These types of damp proofing are ideal for older buildings whereby the underlying substrate is not as reliable or could become unstable. The waterproof membrane is attached to the walls with special sealed fixing plugs. There is normally no need to install the membrane on the floor.

The best solution

Often the best solution to create a completely waterproof basement is to use a combination of different membranes. For example the cementitious waterproofing slurries could be applied to the walls and floors whilst the studded membranes would be added to the ceiling where it's not as practical to apply the cement mixture.

However you choose your basement tanking be sure to apply everything properly and avoid rushing the job for a quick finish. Adding the waterproof membranes is a fairly easy do it yourself job. However, if you're in any doubt about anything it's always a good idea to consult an expert, even if it's just for advice.

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