Jun 11, 2009

Basement Waterproofing - Some Myths

Myth #1: Basements are expensive to create & maintain Most home owners in Bangalore are reluctant to build basements because they have been convinced that Basements incur exorbitant costs and will not withstand Bangalore monsoons without expensive waterproofing. Well, lets first understand how water behaves below the soil. If water is allowed to collect below the soil around the foundation walls of your basement, hydrostatic pressures build up and the water eventually pours through the sides even if the walls are tiled, cladded, waterproofed from inside. It would be nearly impossible for your structure to resist that kind of pressure. The key would be to diligently waterproof the exterior side of the foundation walls creating an impervious membrane not allowing the water to even touch the masonry. This would cost a little more than your plastering costs as Waterproofing liquids are added to the regular cement plaster mix before application. The cost would be about 100Rs more for every 10 SFT. But suppose, the builder did not diligently plaster the exterior surfaces with waterproofing compounds, so then what can you do now. Myth #2: If waterproofing is not done outside, it can be done inside with expensive solutions sometimes involving adding a 50mm Concrete layer to the inside walls or Expensive Waterproofing compounds. Well, let me tell you that you would just be drowning tons of money and it wouldn't work. This is because once water is allowed to collect outside the basement walls and Huge hydrostatic pressures are built up, the waterproofing done inside would eventually give way after a few months. But surprisingly by simply adopting some very simple and inexpensive techniques, you could avoid basement leaks in this situation. Simply dont let the water collect near your foundation walls. You would be amazed at the results. All around the basement walls, either compact the soil to a depth of 3 feet sloping the ground surface away for a distance of 6' or simply cement or build a turf on the surrounding areas, sloping the surface away for a distance of approximately 4' to 6'. A note of caution here, most Bangalore homes have their compound walls about 3' to 10' away from the buildings walls. In this case you would have to cement the soil all the way to the compound walls as the soil caught between your basement wall acts as a water collection tank !! Ensure that the compacted/cemented surrounding area is sloped visibly and drains into your storm drains outside the site. You could go on to put grass, shallow root shrubs, flowering plants over about 3 inches of soil over the cemented portion. Another aspect to take care of would be the rain water from your roofs. Try & have rainwater spouts open onto graded ground at least 1' feet away from the foundation walls. You could also simply build up more soil to about 2' height in the surrounding area, just ensure its sloped well and all the water easily drains off the site. You could use all that money saved from doing expensive waterproofing creating a lovely den, gym, library or studio in your basement.


  1. Thanks for sharing such a useful information. It is very useful and informative.
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  2. That is an informative share cause water leakage is often a topic that is quite ignored in the filed of home improvement. I recently read the happy homes blog for basement waterproofing solutions.

  3. Moisture problems inside the home can be very frustrating for a homeowner. The damage and possible mold growth caused by water problems that go unchecked can be extensive, invasive, and expensive to repair.