If you have a basement that you never use, this is wasted space; you could store things in the basement, or you could turn it into additional living space in your home. Before you do anything in the basement, however, you need to make sure you waterproof it. Below are three different waterproofing methods to help you get started.
Exterior sealant waterproofing creates a barrier between the outside foundation and the inside walls of your basement. A contractor will dig a trench that is deep enough to reach the foundation footings. This trench is generally a few feet deep, so this will take some time. Once the trench is dug, the contractor cleans the soil and moves any loose concrete from the foundation wall. If there is any damage to the foundation wall, such as cracks, holes, etc., the contractor will use mortar to fill in the cracks or holes to even out the surface.
When the foundation walls are ready, the contractor applies a thick coating of polyurethane. This material looks like tar, but it is a sealant that is made to work well beneath soil. The membrane needs time to cure; how long this process takes depends on how much material was used. Once cured, the polyurethane will keep water from entering in through the foundation. When they are finished, the contractor will fill up the trench with soil.
Exterior Drainage System
If your basement is susceptible to flooding, exterior waterproofing along with an exterior drainage system would work well. This type of waterproofing is much more involved, and must be installed by a professional.
The contractor will place gravel or rocks into the trench at an even level. They will then lay a drainage pipe over the gravel or rock; the type of drain used is generally a French drain. With this process, rock or gravel is first placed in the trench, and then pipes that have perforated holes running along the length of them are laid over the rock or gravel. The pipes redirect any water that may flow toward your foundation.
Interior sealant is placed on the walls and flooring inside the basement. This will not prevent water from getting into your basement, but this sealant will stop humidity from building up on the ceiling and walls if there is moisture in the air. This will stop mold and mildew from growing, and is especially important if you will be using this space as living space. Mold and mildew can be very dangerous for someone if they breathe it in regularly.
You can purchase this sealant in a spray can at any home improvement store. The can will come with complete instructions on how to spray the sealant. If your basement is not large, you can use the interior sealant on your own. If your basement is very large, however, you should consider hiring a contractor to spray it for you.
Talk with a basement waterproofing contractor about this information and they can give you many more details.