Waterproofing: First Line of Defense to Water in the Basement

Eventually, just about every basement develops a water problem of one kind or another

The primary causes of basement leaks are through a home’s foundation as water collects around it and hydrostatic pressure forces water through cracks where the floor and walls meet. The floors of basements themselves rarely leak, unless there are serious cracks in the cement. Here are some tips for preventing leaks and repairing them once they do occur.

Sump Pump

A sump pump system uses a series of pipes under the basement to collect water that builds up around the foundation. The pipes are connected to perforations in the sump pump well, which is constructed in the lowest lying area of the basement. Hydrostatic pressure and gravity funnel the water into the well and a pump drains it away from the foundation.

French Drain

The French drain system works just like a sump pump system but is more sophisticated and is used for major problems. Perforated plastic pipe is buried along the leaking perimeter walls at a lower level than the basement floor. these pipes are also connected to a sump pump, which pumps the water away from the building. The pipe is covered with cement leaving weep holes to collect the water.

Hollow Baseboard Molding

This system relies on hollow PVC pipe epoxied to the basement floor along the wall. Weep holes are drilled into the pipe and the water is gravity fed into a sump pump well for removal. The system is hundreds of dollars less in cost than a French drain system.

Interior Sealant

Interior waterproofing sealants are generally used in conjunction with the three water removal systems above. It is spread on the interior floors and walls in a basement, and prevents the cement from absorbing and holding the dampness. The sealants prevent the buildup of mold and mildew on the surface of the structures.


Humidifiers support interior wall sealants in preventing dampness and moisture buildup on surfaces of a basement.


Poor ventilation in a basement can cause condensation to build up on pipes and other surfaces. The instillation of a good ventilation system can alleviate this simple problem. However, ventilation systems and humidifiers do nothing for water that is coming in through basement walls.

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