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The foundation is the most important part of any home or commercial building. It anchors the building to the ground distributing the weight of the property into the earth. A good foundation will also help with moisture control, keeping your house dry, free from damp and musty odors. Whether you are looking for new construction foundation waterproofing or foundation waterproofing for your existing house, it’s always important to work with experienced and reputable foundation waterproofing contractors near me.
We are the new home builders with over 20 years of experience on the Chicago new construction market.
In Chicago, look no further than the team of professionals at Masonry Chicago. With decades of expertise, hundreds of happy customers, and in-depth knowledge of the local geology they will ensure your foundation waterproofing systems last for many years to come. Get a free quote now at 773-231-5371 or email [email protected]
Why should I waterproof my foundation?
Your concrete slab foundation can last up to 100 years, but the number one culprit for shortening that lifespan is water. Whether you have standard concrete foundations, a crawl space, or a basement foundation, some or all of these are signs that you have a foundation problem caused by water possibly due to wear and tear, or an improperly installed waterproofing system.
If you have signs of dampness, water seepage, or even worse, standing water in your basement or house this could be a sign of a leaking foundation. If the standing water is in a room at ground level it’s also possible that the water infiltration is coming from your house walls or leaks in the sealant around windows and doors.
Mildew and mold
If you’re seeing mold and mildew on your walls that’s a sign that water is getting in somewhere. If it’s on your basement walls then it’s likely your foundation wall waterproofing is failing. Remember, mold can cause health problems when inhaled so fixing any water infiltration issues with your basement wall is very important.
Cracks in the concrete
While cracks in the concrete walls of your basement or your concrete floor will let water in they can also be a sign of previous leaks. Concrete is a porous material and water can get in slowly damaging it over time. If you’re in an area with cold winters, like Chicago, when the ground freezes the water in your foundation will also freeze, expanding, causing cracks to get bigger and your wet basement issues to get worse.
If you’re noticing musty odors in your ground floor rooms or basement that could be a sign of leaks and damp. The smells could be coming from rotting wood or damp carpets, neither of which are good things to have in your home.
Foundation walls discoloration
If your foundation walls have marks on them that don’t seem to be mold they could be signs of water infiltration, due to minerals seeping out of the concrete. So we give a resounding yes to the question ‘do foundation walls need to be waterproofed?’, especially if your basement is in an area with a high water table.
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Masonry Sealing & Waterproofing Solutions - Basement Waterproofer in Chicago
Three steps to waterproofing your foundation
Whether you’re waterproofing block foundation or waterproofing foundation wall there are three main components for foundation waterproofing, ideally used together to give the maximum protection to your home, basement walls, and basement floor.
- Waterproof coating and waterproof membrane
- Drain system
- Ground-level measures
1. Waterproofing materials
There are several waterproofing materials to choose from including liquid waterproofing membrane, paint on barrier materials, and stick on-membranes. The purpose of all these waterproof coatings is to repel water, keeping it out of the foundation.
They are made of rubber or solvent-based materials so care needs to be taken when applying them. They’re not suitable for filling large voids or large cracks so those should be repaired before application takes place. This is why it’s always best to work with a professional when applying any waterproofing products.
The best solution to keep your house and basement dry is to install a proper drain system with your foundation. This will prevent water accumulation around your foundation and relieve hydrostatic pressure (the pressure that builds up with water around your foundation), which can cause problems over time.
The most effective option is a French drain which is a drainage system comprised of a trench filled with gravel and rocks and perforated drainage pipes that are designed to direct water away from your house. The holes in the drain pipe point downwards to ensure water movement.
You can also have a perimeter drain around your footing and interior drainage in your basement, backed up with a sump pump to help remove any water that gets into your basement. If you live in an area prone to heavy rain it’s always wise to have a backup sump pump, as a single one can get overwhelmed and fail due to heavy downpours.
As well as foundation waterproofing measures that are installed in the foundation you should also apply ground surface treatment measures to keep surface water from accumulating around the foundation and direct surface water away from the house.
- Make sure your gutters and roof drains are clear and work properly, to prevent run-off rain from the roof from gathering around your foundation.
- Try and grade the ground so there is a gentle slope away from the house – this can change with time so should be checked every so often.
- Ensure you have compact backfill around your foundation walls.
Material specific waterproofing products for basement walls
If you are wondering “how do you waterproof a cinder block foundation?” or “can you waterproof a brick basement?” we’ll try and answer your questions here.
Cinder block foundation waterproofing
Cinder block foundations are a popular choice for some as they are fast to build and cheaper than poured concrete foundations. However, cinder block foundation walls are more prone to leaks as the mortar between the blocks gives more opportunities for water to get in.
Like a traditional poured concrete foundation, drains should be installed around your foundation and a membrane should be applied to the exterior foundation wall. However, if you are having water issues with an existing block foundation you might want to consider installing interior drainage and applying a sealant to the interior walls. There are several types of sealants specially designed for waterproofing cinder blocks and concrete blocks.
Brick foundation waterproofing
Bricks are generally not used for modern foundations but they may be present in older homes as they used to be a popular basement walls building material. As with any foundation you want to ensure adequate drainage is in place to direct water away from the foundation.
If you are having problems with leaking brick foundation walls, ideally, you should dig out the soil around the exterior foundation walls and apply a cement-based masonry sealer on the external brick walls. You can also apply a waterproofing coating on the interior walls but this will not be as effective as waterproofing the exterior of the entire foundation, although it will be a much easier job.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to waterproof foundation?
The process of waterproofing your foundation is more than just applying a waterproof coating to the concrete. It’s a complex system designed to give you a dry basement and home, using a mixture of coatings and membranes, which can be applied to both the interior and exterior of your basement walls, along with a drainage system that prevents the water from building up around your foundation in the first place.
Is it necessary to waterproof foundation?
Unless you live in an area with a very low water table and very little rainfall foundation waterproofing is an important part of the construction process. In fact, many cities’ and counties’ building codes require foundation waterproofing.
Failure to properly waterproof your foundation can lead to lots of problems related to moisture; such as rot, mold, mildew, and even structural issues.
What is the best waterproofing for brick?
Brick is a porous material and generally, the best type of waterproofing product for brick is a penetrating clear sealer. This should be breathable and penetrate deep into the brick for maximum protection.
As brick foundations are generally found in older buildings it’s important to work with a masonry expert when waterproofing them. If you’re in Chicago, speak to the brick masonry professionals at Masonry Chicago on 773-231-5371 or email [email protected]
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