A waterproof foundation is necessary for a strong, durable, and safe house. Waterproofing your foundation increases its strength, helping to prevent bending and stresses from water and soil pressures. Foundations support the weight of your home transferring the load from the footings into the ground.
The foundation helps your home with extreme weather and wind forces. A not adequately waterproof foundation allows moisture to seep in, causing structural damage, invading insects, and encouraging mildew and mold growth.
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, roughly 60 percent of U.S. have leaking basements, with an additional 38 percent at risk of mold and mildew. This can be easily avoided by taking steps to ensure your foundation is appropriately waterproofing basement walls.
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Water Can Damage Your Home’s Foundation
Your home foundation is vital to your home. Proper care and regular inspections can catch minor issues from developing into large ones. The number one threat to the foundation is water.
Groundwater and runoff water produce hydrostatic pressure outside and around and under the foundation. All of this pressure can cause cracks to weaken your foundation. This is why it’s vital to take action immediately.
A leaky foundation allows water to get into your basement or the underlying soil. If water reaches the ground, it can cause it to soften and cause a lot of damage. There are several concerns that a leaking foundation can cause in addition to soil softening.
- Damage to the structure of the foundation
- Weaken building materials
- Destroy expensive items
- Costs thousands in repairs
- May cause health issues
When Should You Waterproof Your Foundation?
The best time to waterproof the foundation is when it’s being built. In many states, this is now part of building code requirements. However, older homes may not have any waterproofing, and they may also have outdated foundation waterproofing methods that don’t do as well at preventing water from leaking in.
Depending on the soil type, location, and slope, a foundation can have longer-lasting exterior waterproofing. Regardless of the kind of waterproofing system the foundation has, all homes become vulnerable at one point or another.
If you start noticing the occasional water stain on the basement walls or floor, it’s recommended to deal with it quickly. Before panicking, make sure the stain isn’t due to someone spilling something or isn’t due to the washing machine.
Once these are ruled out, you can assume that the stains are probably created by groundwater outside or water coming in through cracks.
Musty smells are another obvious sign your foundation may be damp. This type of smell is evident and unmistakable. More than likely, the odor is caused by home appliances. If basements don’t have good ventilation, it is difficult for the water to evaporate. However, it may also mean that something else is going on.
If you notice signs of mold and mildew such as:
- A damp or musty smell: One of the biggest signs of mold is one of the main signs you have mold.
- Black spots or stains: Mold often appears as black spots or stains, but it can sometimes appear as fray or green furry spots, white streaks to colorful splotches.
- Peeling wallpaper or paint: If you see bubbling, cracking, or peeling wallpaper, this is a sign that moisture may have grown under it and weakened the glue. If possible, you want to peel the wallpaper back to ensure there isn’t any.
- A damp or humid basement: Basements are the perfect spot for mold to grow. Its cooler temperatures and the darkness in the basement make it the ideal breeding ground.
- Condensation on windows and pipes: Mold loves damp areas, and condensation creates moisture.
- Allergies and other health problems: The toxins released by the mold can cause health issues. There are a multitude of symptoms that may arise such as sneezing and coughing.
Is Foundation Waterproofing Necessary?
Foundations can be described as a large hole in the ground, which is one of the main reasons they are susceptible to flooding. Poor site drainage, through-wall penetrations, concrete block mortar joints, and any type of opening can allow water to come in.
There are multiple reasons that waterproofing your foundation is necessary, some of which are listed below.
Reduce the risk of flooding
Repairing a home after flooding can cost upwards of $12,000, depending on what type of damage occurred. And this doesn’t include anything in the house that needs to be replaced. Waterproofing reduces the risk of flooding by creating a barrier between the foundation and the water. French drains can direct water away from your home; creating an adequately sloped yard allows the water to flow away from your home instead of towards it.
Keeps your foundation dry
Waterproofing your foundation reduces the risk of water getting into your home by diverting it while adding a waterproof barrier. This helps decrease the risk of your foundation sinking, keeps your home dry, and reduces the risk of foundation damage.
Moisture in the air causes humidity, making your home hotter, especially during the summer. In addition to raising humidity, it can cause rust oxidation on metal objects, destroy paper products, foster mold growth, and reduce overall comfort.
Protects your home
Homes and water don’t mix unless you have a swimming pool. Water can warp boards, cause wood to rot, and ruin your possessions. Waterproofing minimizes this risk. In addition to helping the inside of your home, it also prevents damage from occurring outside of your home.
Your foundation will be less prone to sinking or shifting, plus there won’t be standing water outside of your home. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and no one wants to deal with those bloodsuckers.
How Long Should Foundation Waterproofing Last?
How long a waterproof foundation lasts depends on various factors such as the type of waterproofing was done, the quality of products, if it was applied correctly, and how much water it’s exposed to.
.Typically, waterproofing should last from 5 to 10 years when done correctly. Homeowners’ should have a waterproofing professional come out and inspect it every 3-4 years.