Have a damp basement? It is the sort of problem that can give you sleepless nights, until you address it. After all, a damp basement slowly but surely threatens the integrity of your home’s structural foundation. The last thing you want is to see your house slowly disintegrate from out of the bottom.
The upside however is that dampness in the basement can be addressed, provided you catch it early.
|Waterproofing Solution||Approx Cost|
|Sump Pump to drain water out from the inside||$2,500|
|Epoxy Sealants||$300 for a 5 foot crack|
|Concrete Mix Sealants||$60 for 200 sq. ft. of wall|
|Silicate Mix Sealants||$100 for 200 sq. ft of wall|
|Excavation, digging and Landscaping||$25,000 and up!|
Basement dampness? Is the problem inside or outside?
First things first, you must figure out if the dampness or leaks in your basement are caused by by high humidity inside your basement or if it is coming from outside.
To figure this out, stick a thin sheet of aluminum foil on the wall of your basement and leave it on for 24-48 hours.
In the morning, if there is condensation on the side of the foil that faces the inside of your basement, the problem could just be that your basement is too humid, with dampness forming because of high humidity.
This can be easily fixed with a dehumidifier that you will have to run to collect the high moisture content in your basement. If a humidifier doesn’t cut it, you might have to get a drain with a sump pump installed. The pump will send incoming water out through a routed channel in your foundation, out to an external drain. Such an installation will usually also include a fairly basic level of internal waterproofing protection for the inside of your basement walls. Such panels, usually made out of plastic, won’t prevent water from forming but will route the water into a sump pump that can pump it out of the basement. Costs can start at about $2,500.
The use of sealants and epoxy injections are also popular solutions although they are not very permanent in nature, with problems returning once the sealant or injections wears down.
Sealants are available in dry mixes to which you can simply add water and then apply it like concrete on existing walls. A 10 gallon bucket will cost just about $60 and will be able to cover 200 sq. ft of wall. More complex sealers like silicate based sealers will cost about $100 to cover 200 sq. ft of wall. Actually, one coat of silicate sealers for a 200 sq. ft wall will only cost $50 but such sealers typically need two coats to be effective and durable.
But, if the moisture forms on the side that is facing your basement walls, you need to employ more comprehensive solutions to fix your basement waterproofing as the problem lies outside. Fixes given below.
Please note that sealers and protective paint like coatings will only work when cracks have been filled. Cracks cannot be filled with sealants. Cracks need epoxy injections or the type of caulk that you use to fill cracks and gaps in masonry work. Such injections can typically start at about $300 to fill out a 5 feet long crack.
Overhaul of your basement planning
Ideally, your house must be built on at least a little bit of a slope, with water running away from the home, with nothing but gravity to assist it. If this isn’t in place, you are unfortunately looking at about a $25,000 and upward overhaul of your basement protection.
Such a project will usually involve excavation to various levels, digging and accompanying landscaping work that will alter the course of water flow away from your basement.
Though expensive, it can be a very wise investment if your basement has been very poorly designed in the first place. Think of it as an upgrade that can save your home in the long run. What good is paying a hefty mortgage for 30 years when a simple basement problem can ruin the market value of your home, when the problem just becomes too large?
Whichever method you choose, it is highly recommended that you seek several quotes and only work with contractors who have specialization in their fields. They must also be insured. It always helps to get a referral from a friend or family member who had a very similar problem fixed well by a certain contractor.