2 Ways to Help Improve Your Basement's Waterproofing

Posted on: 18 November 2016

If your home's basement and foundation are leaking from exterior ground water, it is important to remedy this moisture problem to prevent mold, mildew, and rot from occurring in your home. Here are two ways you can help improve the waterproofing of your home's basement.

Divert Ground Water with a French Drain

Plan for Your French-Drain Installation

One of the best preventative measures to keep your home's basement dry is to install an exterior French-drain system around your home's foundation. This acts as a barrier to collect water from a high water table or other water saturating the soil around your home and to divert it away from your home and basement. To do this you will need to determine around which basement walls of your home you need to install the exterior French drain. You can install the French drain around all the perimeters of your home or just those exterior basement walls that have moisture problems.

Dig a trench around your home's foundation at a depth of at least 18 to 24 inches and a width of 12 inches to accommodate the drainage pipe. If your home's basement foundation is deeper than 24 inches, you will need to excavate the trench to just below the foundation slab. This will prevent any water in the soil from coming up higher than the French-drain system and prevent water from seeping between your basement walls and your foundation slab, keeping your basement dry.

Excavate the Trench

It can be helpful to rent a gas-powered trencher to help you dig the trench, as there is no need to shovel all the soil from the trench manually. You can rent a trencher at a local equipment-rental business, paying for the equipment's use by the hour or per day.

Make sure you dig the trench with a slope of one inch for every eight feet of length to help divert the water to a lower end of your property. To measure the proper slope in your trench, place an eight-foot long two-by-four or wooden pole onto the dirt inside the trench. Hold one end of the pole or two-by-four flat against the soil in the trench. If you have the correct slope dug into the trench, the opposite end of the wooden pole or two-by-four will extend out and be at least one inch above the soil.

Install the Pipe

Pour a layer of medium-sized gravel or crushed stone into the bottom of the trench. Select a PVC drainage pipe with pre-drilled holes along the bottom of the pipe and place it into the trench. Make sure the holes face downward. Wrap the PVC drainage pipe with landscape fabric to keep weeds and silt from clogging the holes of your drain pipe. If your local home-improvement store has drainage pipe pre-covered in fabric, this can save you a step in covering the pipe on your own. 

Fill the trench with additional medium-sized gravel or crushed stone, filling the trench to the top of the surrounding soil level. Alternately, fill the gravel to a few inches of the surrounding soil level and cover the gravel with a layer of soil to landscape it to match your yard's existing landscaping. 

Divert Roof Runoff

With the additional soil that you dug from the drainage-system trench, you can add to the soil around your home to create a slope for additional help with water runoff. This will prevent any surface water and water falling from any non-guttered part of your roof from saturating and seeping down your home's foundation walls and onto the slab in your basement.

To have a proper slope to divert this moisture, the ground should slope away from your house by at least six inches for the first ten feet of length. Scoop and compact the soil onto the area next to your home's foundation, building it up closest to the exterior wall and sloping away as it extends out from the exterior wall.

Use these tips to help waterproof your basement and keep it dry. Talk to a company like Champion Waterproofing for professional help.