Looking for information about waterproofing a foundation wall? If so, don’t hit that back button because that’s what we will review in this article. We’ll go over why foundation walls need waterproofing, how to waterproof a foundation wall, and more.
What Is a Foundation Wall?
A foundation wall is essential to any home’s construction as it bears the weight of the entire building. The foundation wall is typically made of poured concrete or CMUs (concrete masonry units) and is built below ground level to ensure the structure is stable and secure. In a home with a basement foundation, the foundation walls may be referred to as “basement walls.”
The foundation wall distributes the building’s weight evenly and prevents it from settling or sinking into the ground. It also plays a crucial role in resisting the lateral forces exerted on a structure by wind, earthquakes, or even heavy rain.
Construction of a foundation wall involves digging a trench and pouring a concrete footing to anchor the wall and prevent it from sinking into the ground. The wall is then built upwards using concrete or masonry blocks reinforced with steel rebar. The thickness and height of the wall vary depending on the size and weight of the building it’s supporting.
A well-built and properly designed foundation wall is crucial for the safety and longevity of any building. It ensures the building stays level and secure and provides the necessary support for the entire structure. A poor foundation wall can lead to significant structural issues.
Why Do Foundation Walls Need Waterproofing?
Simply put, foundation walls need waterproofing because they’re below ground and surrounded by soil that gets wet. Here’s what can happen:
Water can seep through invisible cracks in a foundation wall you didn’t even know existed and enter your home’s basement or crawl space. Over time, this can result in severe structural damage that can compromise the integrity of the entire building.
Moisture penetrating through a foundation wall can also promote the growth of mold and mildew, which can not only damage foundation walls but also pose a health risk to the building’s occupants because a percentage of air in the basement or crawl space flows into your home’s living area. Waterproofing foundation walls denies mold the moisture it needs to thrive.
It’s also important to note that waterproofing foundation walls can help to reduce energy costs. By preventing moisture from seeping into the walls, the insulation in the building will remain more effective, resulting in lower energy bills.
How Do You Waterproof a Foundation Wall?
Effectively waterproofing a foundation wall involves 1) installing a drain tile system to ensure excess moisture can’t build up in the ground around the foundation and 2) applying a vapor barrier to the foundation wall.
1. First things first. Install a drain tile system
A drain tile system prevents excess moisture from building up in the ground around the foundation by collecting groundwater and channeling it away from the foundation before release.
There are two types of drain tile systems: exterior and interior. An exterior drain tile system is installed around the outside perimeter of the foundation at the footing level. An interior drain tile system is installed around the inside perimeter of a basement or crawl space. For a basement, this means using a jackhammer to break up the slab.
2. Next, apply a vapor barrier to the foundation wall
A vapor barrier is a thin layer of impermeable polyethylene sheeting that can block moisture diffusion through your basement wall. The vapor barrier will catch any moisture that has seeped through the foundation wall and direct it to the drain tile system. For more information, see Vapor Barriers.
What about DIY foundation waterproofing?
As a homeowner, you may be tempted to waterproof your foundation by yourself to save some money. However, our expert advice is that DIY foundation waterproofing is not a good idea. Foundation waterproofing requires extensive knowledge and experience to achieve the desired results and ensure long-term protection for your home.
One of the primary reasons why you should refrain from taking on this task alone is that foundation waterproofing requires specific tools, equipment, and materials that only professionals possess. Without these, your attempts at waterproofing could be futile and may even worsen the problem.
Furthermore, foundation waterproofing involves more than just sealing cracks to prevent water from seeping through. It involves identifying and mitigating the underlying causes of water infiltration, such as poor drainage and inadequate grading. A professional contractor has the expertise to pinpoint these underlying problems and apply suitable solutions to prevent future leaks.
How Much Does It Cost to Waterproof a Foundation Wall?
The cost of waterproofing a foundation wall varies depending on various factors, such as the size of the wall to be waterproofed, the type of materials used, the severity of the water problem, and your geographical location.
Waterproofing a foundation wall can range from $2,000 to $10,000 on average. However, this can be higher or lower depending on the extent of the damage and the type of foundation.
If you’re thinking about waterproofing the foundation walls in your Chicagoland home, contact The Real Seal today to schedule an evaluation and receive an estimate.