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Damp proofing vs Waterproofing

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, August 21, 2010

Diverting runoff is core to keeping water out of your home, however, but by no means is the final step in protecting your home.  Today we will educate you on two common water preventions methods...."damp-proofing" and "waterproofing".

Many builders spray on a thin coating of asphalt, which meets the minimum building code regulations.

Damp-proofing is what most builders apply to homes as a minimal cost initiative to meet building code regulations. It is a simple thin spray-on coating of asphalt, but as you might guess, with settling and shifting of the home, this thin layer of protection quickly cracks and ceases to protect.  Those who seek long-term protection of their house will have it waterproofed.   

Waterproofing is a mix of asphalt AND rubber. The rubber works by continuing to cover even when basement walls develop small cracks due to settlement and shifting. The rubber's elasticity keeps it from being rigid, so when the material in the foundation expands, contracts or breaks, the waterproofing compound stays sealed.

There are myriads of waterproofing compounds. Some use plastic, some synthetic rubber, and some use bentonite, a natural clay that can absorb 20 times its own weight in water. Waterproofing your foundation will not only keep your basement dry, it will preserve the foundation, resulting in fewer repairs and less overall long term maintenance.

Waterproofing your foundation keeps the wet out, but the water still needs to have a place to go. Drain tile installation around the foundation solves a lot of problems right from the start, as it channels water away from your house before it has the chance to do any damage.

Many builders install the drain tile on the top of the foundation. This method isn't nearly as smart as installing the drain tile alongside the foundation instead. (Editors Note:  Care to guess which installation method is cheaper and faster?)  Think about it: if the pipe runs along on top of the foundation, the water level has to be several inches higher before the pipe can start collecting the water. Getting that drain tile right into the ground means that the water will be diverted from the time it starts hitting the ground: you won't have to wait for it to increase six inches in depth before it drains away.

If you live in a place where the soil becomes very dry, your builder can install drain tile with an extra pipe that rises just above the ground in a "T" fitting. Keep the pipe capped except when you are using it to add water to your foundation. When the weather is very dry, you can take a hose and irrigate the drain pipe, which will send a controlled amount of water around the foundation and stabilize the soil, preventing your foundation cracking. Let the hose run on low overnight once a week as long as the weather is dry.

Keep in mind that leaks happen everyday and some are unnoticeable. A good inspection of your home or business is always recommended. Call A-1 today to ensure the best possible solution for all your leak and foundation needs.


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A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, Inc. is a fully registered home improvement contractor. Contact us today to talk to a knowledgeable, master waterproofing professional.