Basement Waterproofing systems. Advantages/Disadvantages of each

Basement Waterproofing Companies

Ohio Basement Waterproofing


So in this Blog I will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of the three waterproofing systems explained in a previous blog.  Many other companies will tell you there system is best simply because that’s what they specialize in and of course they think they’re way is best.  I’ve installed all the systems described, maintained them  and repaired them after they’ve failed.  After 25 years of being involved in the Basement Waterproofing trade, I’ve learned a few thing about it.

The first system is in my opinion and anyone who really knows what they’re doing is the best system designed to last a lifetime.  This is the exterior basement waterproofing system when installed properly should only need cleaning every 10 to 20 years depending on the soil condition.  The exterior system protects the structural integrity of the basement wall whether it’s masonry or poured concrete.  The moisture never enters the block or touches the concrete therefore no damage to the structural integrity of the wall can happen.  Also, there is no hydrostatic pressure on the exterior of wall causing damage.  Another issue that is prevented is the frost from the outside can’t buckle or push the wall  as there isn’t any earth on the exterior of the wall that freezes and expands.  The exterior of the wall is backfilled with gravel which will not hold water as it all drains to the bottom and is carried away by the drain tile.    The servicing that this system needs every 10 to 20 years is that the drain tiles should be jetted out with a high pressure sewer jet.  This removes any of the sediment that leaches down to the pipe.  This is going to be done on a more regular basis in areas that have very sandy soil conditions like those found on the lakeshore in Mentor, Ohio.  This is by far the best and most permanent system.  All the water and moisture is kept on the outside of the foundation where it belongs.  The disadvantages of this system is it can be hard to install on homes that have a lot of obstacles like decks, additions and obstacles around the home.  This system also requires the most work on an older home as all the excavated materials from the exterior of foundation must be hauled off site and disposed of and replaced with gravel backfill.

The second system I’m going to talk about is the interior system.  This system is installed inside of your basement which could be a problem if the basement is finished.  With this system the concrete is broken along the basement wall and removed, then drain tile installed.  Holes are drilled in the block so the water that is entering the exterior of the block is drained into the drain tile installed inside of the basement.  The concrete blocks are hollow so the water has a path to drain down into the new drain tile.  This system also doesn’t work very well with poured concrete walls as there is no hollow cavity in the poured concrete wall.  A sump pump gets installed when this system is installed in just about every basement waterproofed even if it didn’t have one before.  The big problem with this is now a homeowner who never had a sump pump before has one which can cause a lot of problems.  If the electricity goes out your basement will flood.  They make a battery backup system but I’ve never seen them keep up with the water that will come in on a major storm.  Sump pumps also have to be maintained pretty regularly as they will fail if not.  I have seen some contractors installing this system dump the water into the sanitary sewer so they didn’t have to install a sump pump.  This practice is against all codes and is illegal.  Also it’s a way to introduce toxic sewer gases into your home.  Along with all the negative things about the sump pump with this system, the most negative thing of the system is that it doesn’t protect the structural integrity of the basement wall.  The water is still entering the wall washing away and decaying the masonry slowly over time.  The earth on the outside of the wall is still causing damage to the wall as it freezes and expands on the exterior of the foundation, thus causing it to buckle.  I’ve had to replace a number of basement walls that had this type of system as the walls buckled from the frost.  If you think exterior waterproofing is expensive, you should  get a price to replace a wall.  The only advantage of this system is it is cheap to install.  Many people have this system installed if they’re not going to be in the home for long.  Home inspectors generally frown on this type of system as it’s generally not accepted as a long term permanent repair.

The last system you may hear about is the combination interior/exterior system.  A big state of Ohio company invented this system. They generally sell work by getting leads from telemarketers and sending high pressure salespeople to your home.  They generally charge the same or more as the exterior system and you still end up with a sub par job.  This system on the inside is identical to the interior system.  There sales pitch is they take care of the exterior water and structural issues by excavating the exterior of the foundation down to the frost line, install a membrane, drain tile, and then gravel like the exterior system has but only half way down.  They say this protects the structural integrity of the wall because they’ve taken care of the area that exposed to frost which is a little over three feet deep.  It sounds good in theory but really just doesn’t work.  The problem is the exterior of the wall is already deteriorated.  Also water still is entering the wall from below they’re exterior system.  The biggest problem with this system though is I’ve never seen it installed properly on the exterior of home.  Since I’ve been in business I’ve dug up a bunch of these systems and they usually only go down a foot on the exterior of the wall.  This does absolutely nothing to protect the wall or foundation.  Essentially this system can be considered an interior system.  The work they do on the outside seldom does anything to help your problem.

Contact me directly if you have questions or comments.  DiFranco Contractors  strives to deliver a quality job.  I’m there to oversee the work and I’ll make sure it’s done right.  I guarantee it!

-Gianni DiFranco