DIY Waterproofing

Got a little water getting into your basement once in a while?

If you regularly get water coming into your basement, you might need a professional foundation repair or waterproofing company to correct the situation.

But if you have just a little water seeping into your basement after a heavy rain or after a rain that comes with a strong directional wind, it’s possible that maybe you can fix the problem yourself.

Even if you are only seeing a little bit of water a couple of times a year, that still is enough to indicate your property has a problem and it needs to be addressed.

A Word of Warning

I’m not recommending or advocating that homeowners take on any foundation repair work or waterproofing work on their own. This article is not delivering any professional advice. I always recommend a homeowner consult with a professional. In this article I am simply reporting on what I have seen a couple of homeowners do on their own.

Where to Start

Oftentimes, a homeowner will see water on their basement floor and their first thought is they need to somehow better seal their basement wall. And if you have an unfinished basement, perhaps that would be an option. But it’s usually not the right option.

You can buy a crack-sealing kit at your local big-box home store and spend a Saturday applying it to your problem wall. These products can work. But if you have never done it before, you will most likely not do it correctly and it won’t be done perfectly enough to actually stop the water from coming in.

You Start Outside

Trying to stop the water that’s outside your foundation from coming in is too difficult; Instead, try to make it so there is no water outside your foundation in the first place. That’s the key.

Your Options and Strategies

First, any rainwater that lands on your house needs to be directed away from your house with a gutter system. You can’t have rainwater cascading down a downspout and hitting right next to your foundation. You have to put together something that will direct that water away from your foundation. You should be able to find a product at your home store and cobble together something that will work.

You could regrade the area right next to your foundation. If the soil next to your house is higher than the surrounding soil, water will have the tendency to move away from your home instead of towards it.

That’s pretty simple. You’ll just have to buy a bunch of dirt or top soil and put it down. Not exactly a fun way to spend a weekend however.

Maybe simply bringing in a bunch of dirt and adding it next to your foundation will help direct water away. But maybe that won’t be enough.

You could bring in a lot of dirt, regrade the area surrounding your foundation, lay down plastic, then cover the plastic with either more soil or decorative rock or wood chips. If the grading and the plastic are done correctly, any water hitting that area will be moved away and none of it will be able to seep below the plastic.

One homeowner had a basement window that would leak during heavy rains due to water building up at the foundation underneath it and then rapidly coming in at the base of the window. His house had a drain tile system installed that was suppose to direct water into a sump pump, but it wasn’t doing the job in this one area.

So he put together a makeshift French drain to move the accumulated water away from his foundation.

He hand dug a 10-foot long, deep narrow trench from his window area straight out away from his house. The trench sloped a little bit away from the foundation. He filled the bottom of the trench with rock. Then he put in a piece of black flexible outdoor tubing. The tube was covered with more rock and then topsoil on top of that.

After the project was done, when water would collect near his foundation, the excess water would enter the tube or the trench around the tube and then be escorted 10 feet away where it would sink into the ground.

Hand-digging a trench like that took a while. And apparently it worked. Once he built the trench, he never had water come in again.

Some homeowners have gotten creative and figured it out.

All properties are different, however, and your property could have characteristics that make it too difficult for you to fix yourself. It’s possible that your foundation has some big cracks and is just in really bad shape and you won’t be able to fix it yourself.

Whether you or a professional takes on your water-related problem — good luck in getting it taken care of.


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