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Foundation Waterproofing 101: Every Homeowner Needs To Know

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Foundation Waterproofing 101: What Every Homeowner Needs To Know
Foundation Waterproofing 101: What Every Homeowner Needs To Know

Are you looking for information about foundation waterproofing? If so, you’ve landed on the right page because that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this short article. You’ll learn what foundation waterproofing is, why it’s essential, the best foundation waterproofing method, and more.

What Is Foundation Waterproofing?

Foundation waterproofing is about keeping the soil around a foundation dry to protect the home’s structural integrity. This is because most foundation problems are caused by excess moisture in the soil.

There are various foundation waterproofing methods available, some more effective than others. The most effective foundation waterproofing method is a drain tile system because, unlike barrier methods like paints, sealers, and coatings, it can prevent moisture from building up in the soil around the foundation. We’re going to talk more about drain tile systems in just a bit.

Why Is Foundation Waterproofing Important?

Foundation waterproofing is essential because most foundation problems are caused by excess moisture in the ground around the foundation. Here are a couple of ways this could happen:

  • Your home is built on top of expansive soil – Expansive soil contains a lot of clay, and because of this, it swells when it soaks up moisture and then shrinks when it dries out. This swelling-shrinking cycle creates movement in the ground under the foundation, which can lead to foundation trouble over time. Therefore, if your home is sitting on top of expansive soil, you want to ensure the soil’s moisture level remains low. Proper foundation waterproofing can make this happen.
  • The soil in your area is prone to erosion – If the soil under your home is erosion-prone, excess moisture can cause voids to form under the foundation. If the foundation settles into the voids, there will be structural damage.
  • Foundation problems caused by hydrostatic pressure – Excess moisture in the soil around a foundation that can’t drain off will eventually cause hydrostatic pressure to build up and push against the foundation. Eventually, your foundation walls could start to bow inward and even crack. This can also happen with basement and crawl space foundation walls.

Because most foundation problems are caused by water, homeowners can help prevent foundation trouble by controlling groundwater around the foundation. The goal of foundation waterproofing is to make sure the soil around the foundation stays dry. This helps prevent problems caused by problematic soils and problems caused by hydrostatic pressure.

A Drain Tile System: The Best Foundation Waterproofing Solution

When it comes to foundation waterproofing, nothing beats a drain tile system because, unlike barrier waterproofing methods, a drain tile system doesn’t just keep water out. It prevents excess moisture from building up in the soil around the foundation. In other words, a drain tile system is the perfect way to keep the soil around your home dry.

There are two types of drain tile systems: exterior and interior. Here’s how they work:

Exterior drain tile system

An exterior drain tile system is installed around the outside perimeter of your home’s foundation at the footing level.

  • First, the contractor excavates the soil around the foundation down to the footing level.
  • Next, a shallow trench is dug around the outside perimeter of the foundation and lined with gravel.
  • A perforated drainage pipe is placed into the trench and then covered with more gravel.
  • The excavated soil is replaced.

Any excess moisture in the ground enters the drainage pipe through the holes and gets directed toward a sump pit. Once the pit fills with water, a sump pump turns on and expels the water away from the foundation.

Interior drain tile system

An interior drain tile system is installed around the inside perimeter of your basement or crawl space. An interior drain tile system installed in a basement means tearing up the basement floor.

  • If the interior drain tile system is being installed in a basement, the first step is using a jackhammer to break up the floor along the perimeter next to the wall.
  • A shallow trench is dug and lined with gravel.
  • A drainage pipe is placed into the trench and covered with more gravel.
  • If the basement is going to be finished, the slab is replaced. Some people opt to leave the drainage ditch open if they’re not going to be finishing the basement.

Excess moisture in the soil will now find its way into the drainage pipe and be channeled toward the sump pit. Once the water in the pit reaches a certain level, the sump pump kicks in and ejects it away from the foundation.

Learn more – DIY Foundation Repair – Worth The Risk?

What About DIY Foundation Waterproofing?

All homeowners should be familiar with the common signs of foundation problems.

When homeowners think about doing their own foundation waterproofing, they usually think about paints, coatings, and sealers. Those will buy you some time. However, they are only a short-term solution by themselves.

If you want a long-term foundation waterproofing solution, you need to install a drain tile system, and that’s a job for the pros because it’s a major construction project.

For more information, see DIY foundation waterproofing

Other Ways To Keep Your Home’s Foundation Dry

If an exterior or interior drain tile system is outside your budget right now, there are still some things you can do to control groundwater around your home. In fact, we recommend these even if you do have a drain tile system.

  • If necessary, regrade the yard around your home, so it slopes away from the foundation. This will prevent water from draining toward the foundation and soaking into the soil.
  • Clean your gutters regularly so that dead leaves and other debris don’t cause runoff to spill over the side of your house and soak the ground around the foundation.
  • Install downspout extensions to carry water at least 4 feet from the foundation before releasing it.
  • Install an underground downspout and pop-up emitter. Runoff will flow into the underground downspout and toward the pop-up emitter situated somewhere in your yard. When the water in the emitter reaches a certain level, the emitter will pop up and release the water away from the foundation.
  • Keep water-hungry flowers, shrubs, trees, etc., away from the foundation. You don’t want a reason to add water to the soil around the foundation.

If you’re thinking about foundation waterproofing for your home, contact us today to schedule an evaluation. We serve areas in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Kearney, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and parts of Northeastern Kansas.

WRITTEN BY

Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.

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