Interior vs. Exterior Waterproofing
Many homeowners are familiar with the hassle and expenses of a wet basement. If moisture becomes a problem in your basement, it can lead to water stains, flooding, water pooling, mold growth, rotting or rusting, and more. Not only are these issues expensive to fix, but they are also hazardous to the health and safety of you and your family.
When it comes to basement waterproofing, however, many people are intimidated by the wide variety of options. Most waterproofing contractors offer services in both interior and exterior waterproofing, but homeowners do not always know which solution is the best choice for their home. To determine which one is best for you, it is important to understand the basics of interior and exterior waterproofing.
Interior waterproofing is a method by which water that leaks into the basement are re-routed out and away from the home. Interior drainage systems usually consist of a series of pipes and drains that can be installed along the walls to catch seepage, or under the foundation itself to collect excess groundwater around the foundation. The pipes and drainage systems are often surrounded by crushed rock to better allow the water to drain and keep it from pooling around or under the foundation. This excess water is carried to a sump pit, which is a large basin designed to hold and store water. Although the water that is collected in the perforated pipes usually flows into the sump pit under the basement floor, a drain is usually installed in the basement floor above the sump pit. This will allow water to drain directly into the pit if the basement ends up flooding.
Next, the sump pump, which is a water pump that sits inside the sump pit, pumps the water out of the basement and away from the home before it can cause damage. Most sump pumps automatically begin pumping when the water in a sump pit reaches a certain level. Many are also equipped with a battery-back-up so that they can continue to run without electricity, keeping your home safe and dry even in the event of a severe storm or unexpected power outage. Another component that exists in some interior waterproofing systems is a vapor barrier. Vapor barriers are damp proofing materials such as plastic or foil sheeting that are installed along the walls to seal out moisture. They work to prevent the diffusion of water vapor through walls and floors and are often used in damp crawlspaces to keep the area dry.
An interior drainage system is excellent at removing water from a wet basement. Having a good interior drainage system installed can reduce the risk of property loss in the event of a flood, and is a good solution if you live in an area that receives a lot of rainfall throughout the year. One downfall to interior drainage systems is that they can only be used to remove water that makes its way into the basement; they are not the most effective way to prevent water from getting in the basement in the first place.
The next option is exterior waterproofing. The two basic components of exterior waterproofing are surface drainage and exterior drainage systems.
The surface drainage system is the first defense against water and consists of the gutters, downspouts, and grading around the home. Making sure that your exterior drainage system is in good shape is relatively simple. First, ensure that the gutters are angled properly and are not clogged – gutters should be cleaned out once or twice a year so that they can drain effectively. Next, check the downspouts to see that they extend a sufficient distance from the house. If the downspouts do not extend far enough, they will dump the water too close to the foundation, causing even more water issues. The ground around your home is also an important factor; it should be adequately sloped to ensure that water flows away from the home and is not able to sit and pool around the foundation.
In addition to surface drainage, an exterior drainage system is a great way to keep water away from the basement. There are many key parts to a good exterior drainage system and because they are focused around the exterior of the foundation, it is most convenient if they are installed when the home is first constructed. This is something to consider if you are planning on building a new home or putting on an addition.
Another component of an exterior drainage system is a french drain, or drain tile system. This system starts with a trench dug along the foundation of the home. Then, perforated drain tiles are fitted into the trench and surrounded by gravel. The entire system is covered with soil and the soil is then graded so that water runs away from the foundation. This system does require some excavation, but the results can be well worth it. The drain tiles will carry water away from the foundation before it has a chance to enter the basement, keeping your home drier and safer.
With both systems, there are advantages and disadvantages. The main difference between exterior and interior waterproofing is that exterior waterproofing prevents water from entering the home, while interior waterproofing removes water that has already entered the home. Check out this brief video to learn more:
To decide which method is best for you, have a professional waterproofing contractor examine your home and determine the cause of the water problems. The experts at Rapid Foundation Repair are happy to help you with all of your interior and exterior waterproofing needs. Contact us today for an estimate!