There are many ways in which moisture can enter into a basement. The most common ways in which moisture can enter into poured concrete basement include:
- The pores of the concrete
- Cracks in the floors and walls
- Coveseams (where the walls meet, and where the walls meet the floor
It is important to keep in mind that while there are ways to reduce the movement of water and moisture through the pores, cracks, and coveseams, the success of these methods will depend heavily on the source of water, amount of water present, and the condition of the concrete. Test areas should always be conducted to determine suitability, and exterior waterproofing should always be considered to redirect water away from the basement. If you have any questions, you can also contact our technicians at 866-306-0246 and they can go over the best products to use for your application.
- Silicate Sealers: Silicate sealers are one of the most popular types of sealers to use on poured concrete basement walls and floors. They chemically react within the pores to form a hardened crystalline barrier within the pores. The barrier can take anywhere from 72 hours to 90 days to full react, but once hardened, will reduce the size of the pores and therefore, the movement of water and moisture through them. Silicates can NOT stop water or moisture coming through cracks, gaps, or openings – for those, crack repair products should be used.
- Silane Siloxane Water Repellent Sealers: Silane Siloxane sealers are often applied 7-10 days after a Silicate has been applied. While silicates help with the movement of water, Silane-Siloxanes help with the movement of moisture. On average, two coats can reduce moisture by up to 2-7 LBS. Silane-Siloxanes can NOT stop water or moisture coming through cracks, gaps, or openings – for those, crack repair products should be used.
- Crack Repair: Hydraulic cement is not an effective form of crack repair. Over time, water will start to push the cement out of the crack. For actively leaking cracks, you want to use a hydrophobic polyurethane. For dry cracks, you want to use a flexible material such as the JFX35, or one of the products by Sika.
When dealing with a stone, cinderblock, granite, or sand basement, moisture sources increase and the waterproofing process becomes slightly more difficult.
- Stone basement: Stone basement walls and floors are hard to waterproof because you are dealing with a porous surface, and grout (if grout is even present). While water repellents and paints can be used, there is no way to guarantee whether or not they will be successful, or how successful they will be. Typically, with this type of a basement, homeowners should start with exterior waterproofing to redirect water away from the foundation, or contact a basement waterproofing contractor.
- Cinderblock basement: Cinderblock basements are difficult to waterproof because cinderblocks are hollow and can fill up with water. Densifiers and water repellents can be used to slow down the movement of water and moisture through the pores, but if enough water pressure is building up from within the pores, it can be pushed through the cinderblock or grout. Depending on the severity, you can run a test with sealers, but the most effective form of waterproofing will be done from the outside.
- Concrete block basement: Concrete block basements are similar to cinderblock, but a bit easier because the concrete is not hollow. Densifiers and water repellents can be used to reduce the movement of water and moisture through the pores so long as the grout is in great condition. It is still best to waterproof from the outside and redirect water away from the foundation.
- Granite basement: Granite basement walls and floors are very similar to stone basement walls and floors, and sometimes even more difficult. While water repellents and paints can be used, there is no way to guarantee whether or not they will be successful, or how successful they will be. Typically, with this type of a basement, homeowners should start with exterior waterproofing to redirect water away from the foundation, or contact a basement waterproofing contractor.
- Sand basement: You can’t waterproof a sand basement floor unless you were to pour concrete. Sand can’t be waterproofed and coatings can’t be applied over a loose surface. The floor is typically one of the largest sources of water and moisture so if you have a sand basement, you may want to consider calling a basement waterproofing contractor.
Even with these types of basements, many homeowners choose to apply densifiers and water repellents to a test area. While some tests prove to be hugely successful, others do not. The success of the product will depend on the condition of the walls and floor, the type of material used, the source of the water, and the amount of water and moisture that comes through.