Exterior Basement Waterproofing Demystified-Part 1.

       January 1, 0000    1135


If you are considering exterior (outside) waterproofing you owe it to yourself to, don't pay to fix your basement twice like many, many of our past customers who hired substandard contractors (Some of them large companies with fancy marketing and slick Salesmen). In order to help You wade through all The B.S. (That's Baloney Stuff, Folks!) in Your estimates and understand this kind of project: I will explain to you why most companies who call themselves basement Waterproofers aren't actually Waterproofers; And I will explain the systems commonly employed nationally especially what is wrong With Them; I will Explain How to Fix Your Problems; And What we recommend that you do differently

When a basement is built what the code minimums require is damp proofing. Damp proofing is to trowel a mortar parge coat on the wall which is basically toweling mortar on the wall like stucco; then applying a dam proof tar or asphalt sealant. This basic technique has been used for the last 100 years.

Just imagine all of the advances that have been made in the last hundred years yet builders still seal the wall using this archaic process. It is guaranteed to fail every time; in fact in Cleveland, Ohio alone there are over 125 water-proofing companies in the yellow pages. What these "so-called water-proofer" do is dig up the basement and actually re-apply the exact same sealants and utilize the exact same techniques that already failed in the first place.

This usually means re-parging the wall with porous mortar and smearing some tar on it like a monkey! Have you ever known anyone that had an asphalt driveway? How often did they Have-To Re- Seal it? I can tell you I have, known many people with black top drives. When I was a kid growing up two of my neighbors had an ongoing debate about their driveways.

They couldn't all be wrong. Or could they? Did you know that in the building codes there are actually two separate definitions for damp-proofing (tar) and waterproofing. Damp proofing: by definition means "something that helps to slow the penetration of water into the substrate".

Water proof sealants are almost all exclusively used and installed commercially.(that's because they are more expensive).The extra costs are what stop the average contractor from offering you , the homeowner, a product that is effective and will last and "stand the test of time". We developed and recommend you use multi-step exterior waterproofing system which uses a cement-based fiber re-enforced wall resurfacing system and no less than two waterproof rated sealants. This is by no means the cheapest of methods, however, and it may or may not be the best system to put into place. Which system you should use depends entirely on the specific nature of your problem. There are no miracle systems than can solve all basement problems.

I'd like to tell you a story you've got to hear about a job I recently did for a Mr. Ron Sew yak on state route 20 in Oberlin. This is a sad story about a man who had to have his basement fixed three times in ten short years. Mr. Sew yak had had the walls of his home rebuilt ten years ago using conventional masonry techniques. They were rebuilt using 12" blocks and type n mortar. A conventional parge coat was applied and tar. New tiles and backfill were added. This is what is considered "outside water-proofing". Four years later the walls were leaking again!!! Exasperated the homeowner had Ohio State Waterproofing install their inside outside "waterproofing system" (inside) and they hoped their problems were over. Again he thought his problem was solved.

Sadly, I met Ron a few months ago. He asked me to come out to his house because his basement walls were severely bowed bulging and shifted off the first course and out of plumb. I was able to observe portions of the outside "waterproofing” system from ten years ago and the inside/outside system from six years ago both had fatal flaws but. Neither system was the cause of the problem. After careful inspection I assessed the real problem-bad framing. That's right, it turned out that the first contractor (who did many things poorly) built the walls directly back up to and underneath the existing framing deficiency which caused the wall system to fail in the first place. A partial sill plate and a lack of cribbing on the gable end walls were behind their basements problems from the beginning. After the first winter ten years ago, the newly re-built wall began to crack... this opened water ways which made the walls leak. Ron's second contractor performed an inside system which, while done poorly, also stopped active water puddles on the floor. Unfortunately it did nothing to stop the structural issues, which worsened and worsened, until he was forced to call me. So in a ten year period the walls have been repaired three times.

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