Make Your Wet Basement Dry... in a Week!

HELP! I Have a Wet Basement

Did you know that most new homes develop basement leaks within 10 to 15 years and that "Over 60% of basements have moisture seepage, while 38% experience mold and fungus growth due to an elevated moisture level" (The American Society of Home Inspectors.) Traditional, decades-old basement waterproofing methods have not passed the test of time and wet basements have become the most frequent complaint of homeowners.

What to do? If your basement is already leaking, you could hire a waterproofing contractor to install the standard interior French drains and a sump pump. Or, the contractor may recommend excavating down to the footers and waterproofing the foundation walls on the outside.

Wet Basement Control by RadonSeal

Sounds good but these waterproofing methods are not cheap. On average, exterior waterproofing will run you $15,000 (not to mention having to replace landscaping) while interior perimeter drains cost around $6,000. You may be asking yourself, "How the heck can I possibly waterproof the basement myself? I am not what one would call a do-it-yourselfer."

Do-It-Yourself Solutions that Save Money and Time

Whether you need to waterproof a new or old basement, damp concrete floor, wet concrete block wall, crawl space, stone foundation or leaky brick wall, RadonSeal® has a long and well proven history (est. 1997) of providing expert customer service and the most advanced, professional-quality basement repair products on the market. Our line of concrete sealers, foundation crack repair kits, and concrete floor repair kits are not only for professionals but also easy enough for use by the average homeowner.

Instead of investing in cookie-cutter waterproofing systems, which may not perform well or for very long, do-it-yourself basement waterproofing can be accomplished with a little know-how and by using the best products for your specific basement leak(s). We guarantee you will get long-lasting results without having to break the bank on expensive waterproofing methods.

We know from 15+ years of experience that basement waterproofing solutions are not always clear-cut! If you have questions about your basement or a particular project please contact a RadonSeal® service technician for expert advice.

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Find Where the Water is Coming From

The first line of basement waterproofing defense should always be made from the outside. Divert rainwater from the foundation by proper grading, gutters, downspout extensions, and sealing cracks or openings. These simple exterior waterproofing repairs will go a long way but by no means are they the end all solution.

Secondly, locating the source and knowing why your basement leaks on the inside can make your do-it-yourself waterproofing project surprisingly simple and inexpensive. Review the table below for common reasons why basements leak and product solutions:

Basement Water Leak Causes DIY Basement Waterproofing Solution
Water Seepage through CONCRETE BLOCK WALLS Seal the concrete block walls with RadonSeal® Plus.
Water Seepage through BASEMENT FLOOR Damp proof basement floors using RadonSeal.
FOUNDATION CRACKS in Poured Concrete Walls Easily repair leaking cracks using DIY Concrete Crack Injection Kits.
FOUNDATION CRACKS in Concrete Block Walls Repair cracks in block walls using ElastiPoxy Crack Filler Kit.
STRESS CRACKS in Concrete Floors Quickly repair stress cracks using CrackWeld® Floor Repair Kit.
Water Seepage through CLAY BRICK WALLS
Waterproof brick and mortar with LastiSeal® Brick & Masonry Sealer.
Seepage through FLOOR-TO-WALL JOINT Properly repair leaky floor-to-wall joint using ElastiPoxy.
WIDE GAPS between floor and foundation Wall Repair wide concrete gaps (>1/2") using ElastiPoxy.
EXPANSION CONTROL JOINTS (saw cuts) Repair control joints using ElastiPoxy.
Leakage around foundation WALL PIPE/CONDUIT Seal gaps around leaking penetrations using PipeTite Gap Filler Kit
Leaking WIRE TIES Waterproof wet wire ties with PipeTite Gap Filler Kit
MAIN SUMP PUMP FAILURE Install a Hi & Dry Water or Battery Powered Backup Sump Pump

How To Waterproof Wet or Leaking Foundation Walls

Foundation walls will appear wet or start seeping water only intermittently after heavy rains. You may also notice spots of efflorescence ("white powder") on the concrete surface which is a telltale sign of capillary water seepage. If this sounds all too familiar, now is the time to act before your wet basement gets worse making repairs much more difficult.

RadonSeal Concrete SealerIf your foundation walls are already wet or leaking, allow the concrete to dry out for the best basement waterproofing results. You can speed up the drying time by drilling weeping holes in the bottom of concrete blocks, install a fan in the basement to improve air flow, or simply wait for dry weather. Once the concrete is sufficiently dry, begin sealing the foundation walls using RadonSeal® Deep-Penetrating Concrete Sealer.

Why RadonSeal? RadonSeal is not your average concrete sealer like ones found from big box stores. Waterproofing paints, cementitious coatings, and membrane coatings will eventually crack, peel, wear away, as they are pushed off by hydrostatic water pressure and efflorescence. It could take a couple to several years, but eventually concrete paints and coatings will fail needing to be reapplied again. RadonSeal is different!

Negative side water pressure and efflorescence cannot budge it. Once cured inside the concrete the internal seal is PERMANENT which is backed by an unmatched limited lifetime, money-back warranty! RadonSeal works by penetrating deep into the concrete (up to 4"), chemically reacts with lime and alkalis, expands inside the pores, and cures as a mineral (integral). It waterproofs concrete internally against water seepage, water vapor, and even strong enough against radon gas. RadonSeal combines concrete waterproofing, damp proofing, concrete preservation, and radon mitigation in one sealer!

"Sounds to good to be true. What's the catch?"

There is none. RadonSeal does not change the appearance or profile of the concrete, contains no chemical solvents or VOCs (bonus!) and can be easily applied using a hand-pump "garden" sprayer (or paint roller).

Choosing The Right Waterproofing Concrete, Brick, & Masonry Sealer

Waterproofing an Old Stone or Brick Foundation

Many late 19th and early 20th century homes have foundations constructed of limestone, sandstone, or fieldstone. The weak link in these type of foundations is normally the porous, soft, and crumbling mortar. When mortar crumbles and cracks, it opens up easy avenues for direct water seepage.

Fieldstone Foundation – Before applying a waterproofing sealer, coating, or paint it is recommended that you first remove any loose or crumbling mortar with a wire brush or a wire wheel attachment for an electric drill. Once the old mortar has been properly cleaned, repoint using a lime-based mortar. Allow the new mortar to cure for 2 weeks (minimum) than seal over it using RadonSeal Plus.

Brick Walls – To properly waterproof old clay brick (Chicago brick) we recommend using our LastiSeal® Brick & Masonry Sealer. Like RadonSeal, LastiSeal penetrates into porous brick and cures inside as a hard plastic. The cured seal will never peel or crack because it does not form a surface film. It is resistant to hydrostatic pressure and will help strengthen and harden old brick and mortar.

When sealing an old brick surface, it is required that at least 2 applications of LastiSeal be applied (24+ hours apart). Extremely porous surfaces will sometimes require a third application. Once cured, the seal inside is practically permanent and is backed by a 15-Year Waterproofing Warranty.

How To Waterproof a Damp Concrete Floor

Homeowners have been finding out the hard way that waterproofing paints and cementitious coatings alone are just not suitable for sealing concrete floors. If you apply an epoxy or polymer coating, concrete paint, or concrete overlay, years of water vapor pressure and efflorescence coming through the concrete pores will soon enough make it to fail, crack, or peel.

Seal Your Basement or Garage Floor - The proper waterproofing method would be to deep seal the concrete floor using RadonSeal Concrete Sealer. RadonSeal provides the permanent waterproofing solution for concrete slabs by stopping capillary seepage due to hydrostatic pressure or CrackWeld concrete floor repair kitwicking moisture. By restricting water vapor inflow it will also greatly reduce efflorescence and concrete dusting. RadonSeal does not change surface appearance or profile leaving the concrete suitable for the use of paints, adhesive, epoxy, stucco, tiles, flooring, and cementitious coatings. Acts as a great primer!

Use RadonSeal to dry out wet or damp basement floors, garage floors, concrete driveways, patios, and pool decks. RadonSeal is not designed to seal cracks, gaps, or seams. Crack repair kits may be needed.

How To Repair A Leaky Concrete Floor Crack - A temporary repair would be to route the crack 1/4" wide by 1/2" deep and fill it with self-leveling caulk or with a cement patching compound. Instead, permanently repair the crack with CrackWeld® Concrete Floor Repair Kit (pictured). The low viscosity resin self-levels inside floor cracks and provides a strong, rigid repair! The beauty of the product is that you do not need to chase the cracks before application. Suitable for even hairline cracks!

How To Repair Cracks in Poured Concrete Foundations

Most homes, both new and old, develop some floor and foundation cracks. If the cracks aren't leaking, it is only a matter of time till they do as the exterior waterproofing coating gradually deteriorates. So, if your basement cracks are already leaking, now is the time to repair them to avoid further water damage and potential mold growth.

When it comes to making foundation crack repairs temporary solutions simply do not last. Caulk is weak and hydraulic cement does not bond well to concrete and eventually will loosen, or leak around the patch.

Repairing cracks yourself may appear to be a daunting task but surprisingly, it is quite easy. RadonSeal® PROFESSIONAL and DIY Concrete Crack Repair Kits allow you to repair cracks in concrete walls or floors like a pro! You can expect to save $100's and the repair is permanent! Just select the appropriate crack repair kit for your basement cracks (refer to table above).

Stop Water Seepage Through a Leaky Floor-to-Wall Joint

floor to wall joint
Click for a larger image!

The most common complaint from homeowners – "Water is coming up from the corner floor-to-wall joint!" Or, "There is lots of water pushing up from underneath the slab!" However, this is usually not true.

  1. In most cases, while the water moves through a poured concrete wall, it sinks and comes out at the bottom of the wall. In the case of concrete blocks, the hollow cavities fill up and the highest pressure is at the bottom of the water column. This seepage makes it appear like the water is coming up from the floor-to-wall joint. The solution is usually easy – seal the walls with RadonSeal® to stop the water migration.
  2. Sometimes, water building up outside the foundation seeps through the joint where the wall sits on the footing and then up through the floor-to-wall joint. The solution to this problem would be to chase the joint 1/2" deep (with a hand-held grinder) and fill the joint using ElastiPoxy Joint & Crack Filler Kit (providing a flexible repair). Alternatively, you can avoid having to use a grinder and inject the joint with our Easy-Peel Foundation Crack Repair Kit – more expensive but the expanding polyurethane will also seal the leaky wall-to-footing joint.
  3. In rare cases, water actually comes up from underneath the slab and at the same time, it will also seep through any cracks or expansion control joints in the floor. It may push through the pores in the concrete and in extreme cases, form hissing mini-geysers on the floor. The solution is installing a sump pump to relieve the hydrostatic water pressure and sealing the floor with RadonSeal Concrete Sealer.

Answers to Questions about Waterproofing Basements

We receive many emails from homeowners looking for answers to questions aCinder block wallbout how to solve their damp basement issues. Here are a few recent ones that you may relate to:

Q: "I have a damp basement wall with efflorescence and some crumbling (see picture). Since this picture was taken, the wall has mostly dried up (as the weather has gotten colder and the air dryer). Which product do you recommend I use to seal my basement wall?"

A: Prepare the concrete first by removing the efflorescence using a wire brush or wire wheel on a electric drill. Once removed, apply RadonSeal Plus to seal the basement wall. Please take the time to read about sealing porous cinder blocks.

Q: "Will RadonSeal work on brick and mortar on a house or only for concrete/cinder block?”

A: RadonSeal can seal brick, but not as well as our LastiSeal® Brick & Masonry Sealer, which is specifically designed for sealing brick and porous stone. RadonSeal is based on a chemical reaction so there is a strong chance it will discolor the brick. LastiSeal works similar to RadonSeal, but the advantage is that LastiSeal will not change the appearance or friction of the brick surface.

Surprising Solutions That Will Save You a Bundle

Is your basement leaking or sump pump running in rain or sunshine? Suspecting a spring under your basement? Call your water company to check it! The water main to your curb box or the pipe to your house may be leaking, particularly if made of plastic. Usually, you can hear slight hissing in the pipe entering your basement.
Footer drains, which are crucial to relieving the water pressure on your foundation may get clogged by silt or tree roots. If there is access, hire a drain cleaning contractor to clean them with by high-pressure water jetting or with an auger snake. Old clay tiles may have collapsed and just a small section may need replacement.
Make sure the floor drain is not clogged. Some experts recommend getting the entire drain cleaned by a drain cleaning company on an annual basis. Make sure that the drain has a U-trap, so that it does not let in soil gas saturated with water vapor and radon gas.

Comparing Basement Waterproofing Methods

Each method has its pluses and minuses. None, however, provide a solution for both basement walls and floors, and all cost much more than the using RadonSeal basement waterproofing products:

A plastic channel system ("interior gutters") glued around the perimeter of the floor to collect water seeping through the basement walls and route it to a sump pump. Instead of keeping water out, it works after the water has entered - a bad idea! You cannot finish the basement walls because it would trap all the moisture evaporating from the channels, causing molds and mildew. It does not do anything against water seepage through the floor. Usual cost $3,000 to $5,000.
A "floating slab" design with a wide gap (1/2" or more) around the floor in order to allow water seeping through the walls run down below the slab. A bad concept! The walls should be constructed waterproof in the first place and the gap will let in tons of soil gas saturated with moisture and radon gas. Framing the walls would trap water vapor and lead to molds and mildew.
Sump pumps relieve excessive water pressure by draining the gravel bed underneath the slab. Not effective for leaking basement walls. Digging the pit and installing a sump pump costs up to $1,000. Install an airtight cover to prevent the release of water vapor and radon into the basement. Complete reliance on a sump pump is unwise – it may fail or the power may go off. If the basement is finished, make sure to install a backup sump pump to protect your investment.
The perimeter of the floor has to be jack hammered, a perforated pipe laid in gravel next to the footings, and the concrete filled back in. The French drain carries water to a sump pump. Do not leave a gap next to the walls because it would let in vapor and radon. Usual cost around $6,000, including the sump pump. It will reliably drain the gravel bed underneath the slab. But if there is no gravel or it is silted up, the center of the floor may still wick water. And it will do little for seepage through basement walls.
This requires removing landscaping, excavating down to the footings, laying new perimeter footing drains in a bed of gravel, cleaning and waterproofing the walls, and backfilling. Since tar coating on concrete walls cracks and breaks down, use a rubberized (polymer) membrane waterproofing coating. Usual cost well around $15,000. But it will do little for water seeping through the basement floor and it is not permanent.