Let’s say you have an unfinished basement and you want to turn it into usable livable space, but you have one serious problem. And that problem is this water, more specifically water seepage from the outside coming in and it’s wetting everything. If that sounds like your basement, then you will need a drainage system installed as a primary solution.
If what are dealing with is simply excessive humidity, generally caused by vapor drive, through walls and floor. Well, there is a simple solution to that, and it’s a solution that you can complete in a weekend. This solution is Drylok Masonry Waterproofer. It’s so easy to put on, and again, you can put it on in a weekend. It works on cement block walls, and all types of masonry.
Test For Seepage And Condensation
Before you apply Drylok, though, you need to make a simple test tape. The test tape is a 12 inch by 12 inch piece of aluminum foil taped tightly on all four edges to an interior basement wall. Remove it after several days. When you remove the foil square, check it on the inside for moisture. If you find that you have vaper drive. water on the inside of the foil or on the wall, you have vapor drive. You have water coming through from the outside. Drylok will help mitigate the vaper drive concerns. There are reasonably priced test kits available on Amazon.
If you have water on the outside of the foil, then you have condensation. And by the way, both condensation and seepage can occur at the same time. If you do have condensation, then you may need a dehumidifier in that room. If you find that you have a vapor drive problem, you’ll want to go outside and check for drainage issues that might create this seepage. Check for leaky gutters and downspouts that block drainage pipes first. Check for improper grading that directs groundwater runoff towards your foundation. In the Pacific Northwest the primary consideration is often water pressure on the structure that is unseen. This water pressure comes from seasonal water table ascension due to the geology of the region and cumulative saturation issues. Again, if this is your basement then a drainage professional and drainage system will be required.
Prepare Your Basement Walls
Once you’ve done what you can to identify and prevent the seepage from the outside, and/or had a drainage system installed if needed, it’s time to prepare your basement drainage walls on the inside for Drylok. Prepare the surface to be waterproofed by removing any loose mortar, dust and dirt with a wire brush. A good tip before using a patching product is to wet the area where you’re going to be working, fill any holes and cracks with a fast setting, hydraulic cement. Be sure to seal the floor and wall joints, which are often overlooked as a source for water seepage. With all products, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
The worst enemy to waterproofing product is efflorescence and it appears as a white powdery residue on the surface. efflorescence comes from natural occurring salt that’s already in this masonry and makes it’s way to the surface. We need to get rid of all of it before we do any waterproofing. To get it off, use muriatic acid according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to follow the warning labels. Since you are using an acid rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry.
Apply The Barrier Thoroughly
Now we are ready to waterproof. To do this, you’ll want to use a good quality synthetic bristle paintbrush. You’ll take the Drylok and apply the brush. It’s not like putting on paint. You need to really work Drylok into the pores of the block. Rather than just brushing on light paint, you’ll want to go back and forth. Get in all the contours and fill them in really well. Drylok works by penetrating the surface pores. It fills them and expands as it dries. By expanding into the pores, it becomes part of the wall to form a tough waterproof barrier. That’s guaranteed to stop water, even under pressure. I don’t want to leave any pinholes open or spread it too thin. That’s all there is to it!
After 24 hours apply a second coat with either a brush or a roller. So you see, there really is no reason that you have to live with a drab wet basement. We did all of this in just one weekend using Drylok Masonry Waterproofer, and you can do the same thing too.
Remember… if not simply vaper drive then you will likely need a drainage system professional to install a more permanent solution.