An Ultimate Guide to Waterproofing your Michigan Basement with Ease

Last Updated on May 4, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Basement is an essential part of homes in Michigan. Sadly, many homeowners tend to experience issues with these areas. These problems may relate to seepage, foundation cracks, and water flooding.

Basements get musty and damp. Thus, it’s a good idea for property owners to look out for effective ways to solve these issues. After all, nobody wants water causing damage to the foundation of their home. After all, it weakens your home structure.

Is stress taking your mental peace away? Well, one promising solution to the problem is basement waterproofing. Some reasons why this process should be on your list are:

Prevents Toxic Mould Growth

Prevents Toxic Mould Growth in Michigan

The entire essence of cellar waterproofing is to prevent moisture from building up. Moisture paves a path because of the interior and exterior house elements. Water saturations are the outside elements while plumbing pipes wreck-havoc on the inside.

Bacteria, mould, and mildew thrive in warm, damp, and damp environments. These elements make the vault a breeding ground for diverse health problems. Thus, investing in basement waterproofing can prevent the growth of mold. Remember, this is the very first step towards a clean cellar.

Reduction in Repair Costs

A cellar with water penetration demands a hefty amount to repair. Water damage in vaults extends to walls, wood boards, and painting. Repairing a vault by yourself takes a dig at your pockets.

Saves Insurance Claim Costs

Studies show around 20% of insurance claims relate to water damage of some kind or the other. The insurance claims can be pretty expensive- whether it’s the foundation cracks, flooding expenses, or rotted wooden beams.

Many homeowners tend to turn a blind eye because a small trickle can lead to annoying water damages. Yes, it doesn’t need to be a big storm. All it takes is a few drops here and there to add up to the extensive damage. Thus, a simple investment in basement waterproofing can be your way out for saving a hundred dollars in the future.

Protects your Basement Floors

michigan basement floor

A cellar floor is nothing but a thin concrete layer about two to four inches in depth. Although, it doesn’t have a structured role in the foundation but is at risk of becoming compromised. It’s the hydrostatic pressure, after all.

Also, when the groundwater presses in the upward direction on the floor, cracks may develop and allow water to seep in. This, in turn, can lead to standing water.

Prevent Foundation Cracks

Trapped foundation moisture expands and contracts with the rise and fall in temperature, which leads to cracks.

You may want to turn a blind eye to these cracks, thinking it may not be your structure. But, believe that these cracks could be hazardous to the integrity of your house. Home repair experts suggest fixing your cellar wall leaks. After all, you don’t want to indulge in expensive foundation repairs.

Reduce Energy Costs

A warm cellar drives humidity in your home, especially during the summer months. These factors, in turn, make your house expensive to cool.

Your foundation cracks may be letting cold winter air inside your home. The efforts of keeping your house warm are no reason if you have a damaged vault. Worry not, since waterproofing is your answer to insulting your paradise and making the heating and cooling processes more efficient.

Upsurge in Property Value

One of the minor things that impress buyers the most during a home inspection is the waterproofed basement. Yes, you heard that right.

When you plan on selling your home, ensure having your vault in top-notch condition. And, why not? It’s going to get you a better price. In Michigan, real estate agents are all thumbs up for a dry cellar in good condition for this reason alone.

What are the Dos and Don’ts of Basement Waterproofing?

What are the Dos and Don'ts of Basement Waterproofing?

Now that you’re well aware of basement waterproofing benefits, you might want to do it immediately. Cellars take on the water just because they’re built below grade. While inspecting your home, you might come across moist walls from time to time. Or, even worse, flooding during the rainy season. Not only do the cellar walls peel paint, rot wood, but these also damage the stored items. While builders take extensive steps to waterproof them at construction time, a house may create cracks over time.

Yes, even the structurally sound basement walls absorb the soil water and transfer the same to the basement interior. As wall water evaporates, the cellar air becomes humid.

You may want to consider a high-quality dehumidifier for removing excess basement humidity, but the best solution would still be waterproofing the walls. Depending on the moisture problem reason, the fix could be a simple DIY remedy, or you can take assistance from a foundation contractor to get started on the right foot:

Determine the water source

Since the concrete is porous, you may want to see wet streaks for determining the source of water. Start by looking along the cracks, the window corners, between mortar joints, and around the pipes.

If all wall surfaces are wet, you’ll still want to do sleuthing. Perform a simple condensation test, dry the wall area, and then attach an aluminum foil to the wall by using duct tape. Peel off the foil after 24 hours and check how the foil feels on the underside. 

If the foil is wet, know that the water seeps from the outside wall. If dry, moisture may originate from somewhere else in the basement, probably from a shower. Install a vent fan in the bathroom to direct the steam outdoors.

Never make wall repairs standing cellar water

A crack in the basement wall allows an inch of water during the rainy season. But, before repairing the damage, ensure removing all the water from the floor. A flooding vault increases electrocution risks. Thus, always turn the power off before using a utility pump.

You will notice the pump discharging water to the yard surface through a garden hose. Once you have a water-free basement, proceed with fixing, inspecting, and waterproofing the walls.

Fill the cracks with hydraulic cement

Cracks are generally found at the bottom of cellar walls. A broad flat base made up of concrete, and reinforced steel is poured first- a design to support the walls. Although the procedure is standard, it can create a cold joint.

A cold joint is nothing but a weak foundation spot between the footing and wall. Cracks develop between the floor and wall where settling and shifting occurs, along with soil’s lateral pressure.

Address the window well leaks

basement wall leaks

One of the most common vault wall leak sources is the window wells. It is because these retain water in case of improper drainage system installations during the house building process. The process may even result in water pooling around the cellar window bottom.

Apply a masonry waterproofing product to the interior basement walls

If your foil test shows water soaking from basement walls, try sealing the wall interiors using high-quality waterproof paint. Choose a sealant that comes premixed and applies as quickly as a coat of paint.

Just brush or roll the paint in a thick manner to fill the tiny surface holes. Allow it to dry before applying the second coat fully. The sealant forms a watertight bond after drying completely to prevent seeping moisture. All you need is a five-gallon container to treat square feet of wall.

Never apply a sealer over efflorescence

If your previous owner painted the walls, ensure removing the paint before applying the sealer. It should be a sealer that adheres to the bare masonry. Your old house may have several coats of colors, which you can remove with a sandblaster. If not blasting, you can consider wire brushing. However, this process is tedious, but you can still view it due to its inexpensiveness.

It is also vital to remove efflorescence before applying the sealer. Efflorescence is white deposits that form on the concrete wall surface after being subject to constant moisture. Using muriatic acid works wonders, in this case.

Take Steps to Keep Basement Water Away

Sometimes, the solution to a wet wall is pretty straightforward. Just remove the foundation plantings like flower buds and bushes that need watering, allowing water to seep into the basement. Also, inspect the basement to repair guttering and downspouts to ensure that you’re directing water away from your home.

It’s always a good idea to grade your yard away from the foundation- at least a two percent slope.

What Should You Expect from a Waterproofing Estimate?

Wet basements are unsettling and messy. When water floods or seeps into your unfinished basement, it may prevent you from using the storage space. Once you know what to expect from a basement waterproofing estimate, you’ll be in a position to deal with the inconvenience and costs.

What are the Waterproofing Options?

You can waterproof the basements from the insides or the outside. When you wish to waterproof the interiors, a channel will be dug around the inside perimeter. The cellar-proofing technicians install a french drain that connects to a sump pump that extracts water.

If your vault needs exterior waterproofing, the repair team excavates around the foundation home.

Related: Basement Drain Backing Up When Washing Clothes?

How do you calculate the waterproofing estimates?

One of the most determining factors during your waterproofing estimation is the basement size.

The basic estimated costs include:

  • Material costs
  • Equipment costs for transportation to and from your home
  • Cleanup Charges
  • Hourly labor charges
  • Worksite preparation costs

These charges are without general contractor charges. Thus, if you’re considering an expert to oversee your job, add his supervision costs also. Add to the project material resources some sales tax.

Some other charges may be permit fees, inspection fees that may include in your estimate. Before hiring a company for cellar waterproofing, ensure it is bonded, licensed and insured.

How much time will the cellar waterproofing estimate take?

Generally, most estimates take a maximum of one hour to complete. However, if your waterproofing project has any involvement or your home is large, the assessment may take a little longer.

The estimator completes a thorough inspection of your home from the insides and the outsides. Thus, always be sure to ask your technician the essential questions about the waterproofing process. Some common questions include:

  • When was your home constructed?
  • How long are you living in this home?
  • When does your basement leak?
  • Did you encounter basement leakage problems before?

Answering these questions, you’ll be in a position to know the exact amount you’ll have to spend on waterproofing your vault.

Does Your Basement Need a Dehumidifier?

Even after installing a waterproof system, the humidity levels of your basement may be high. All you need to consider is the humidity levels, they must be lower than 60 percent. Consider the installation of a dehumidifier if you wish to prevent dust mites and mould.

The capacity of your device usually measures on the basis of the amount of water it can remove from the basement. You may need a large capacity humidifier if you wish to get rid of 25 to 70 pints of water from the air, the experts recommend.

Just keep in mind the features and price while selecting a humidifier.

Final Thoughts

Ensure ordering bids from several companies before selecting one. Also, request a written contract and verify if it contains an assessment of the cellar problem and details about the repair, completion time, and start date.

Waterproofing your cellar is an effortless way to improve the life of your building. If you’re using the underground room as your storage space, consider waterproofing as it protects your property. Water seepage and flooding keep at bay with waterproofing. Reducing energy consumption is another perk of waterproofing your vault.

With such excellent benefits, cellar waterproofing is hard to ignore. After all, nobody wants a wet basement! Contact foundation repair experts to discuss the right basement waterproofing solution for your paradise.

Hopefully, this ultimate guide could help you with providing the necessary knowledge about waterproofing your basement.