Basement waterproofing sealers are commonly used to seal pores and capillary tracts of concrete to prevent water from entering. A basement waterproofing sealer is needed anytime a basement is built at ground level or below ground level where ground water can build up in the soil, raise the water table and thus travel through the concrete. The higher the water table the more at risk the basement will be to hydrostatic pressure exerting itself to basement floors and walls. Hydrostatic pressure causes water to travel through cracks, joint openings and pores. Hydrostatic pressure can also cause mold, mildew and other moisture related problems in basements. By using a basement waterproofing sealer that can resist hydrostatic pressure the moisture and water are unable to cause damage to the concrete foundation.
Most Popular Basement Waterproofing Sealers:
Behr Basement & Masonry Waterproofer: This product works great and looks great at first until the first sign of heavy rain. When the product comes into contact with moisture it starts to peel up since it is not a breathable sealer. Thinner consistency than paint but if moisture is present or if the basement is exposed to a high water table the product fails. Readily available at The Home Depot.
Ghostshield 9500: This product is not a waterproofing paint but an invisible sealer that will not peel or delaminate if water is present. Through densification and hydrophobicity the product is able to put an end to water and moisture migration through a cementitious substrate. It is also an economical option since it is concentrated and makes 5 gallons. Readily available at The Home Depot.
UGL DryLok: Product claims to resist 10lbs of hydrostatic pressure with a 10 year warranty. Since this product is latex based is is worse than the Behr product at peeling up when it comes into contact with moisture. It is not breathable and states that it does not help to resist or reduce efflorscence. Readily available at The Home Depot.
Basements are known for water, moisture, mold and mildew problems. Since basement foundations are underground they are usually in close proximity to the water table. This creates a problem since water tends to mitigate towards the walls of the basement; especially during rainy seasons and during springs inevitable snow melting. There are many companies out there that offer basement waterproofing solutions but only a handful that truly live up to their claims. Over the years we have found the best way to prevent basement moisture and water damage is early prevention. By sealing a homes foundation when it is first poured is the best kept secrete when it comes to basement waterproofing.
When looking for a sealer look for a penetrating, waterproofing sealer. Acrylics, epoxies and urethanes will all peel up and will not adhere at the first sign of water. Silicates alone are marketed as waterproofers but do not effectively complete the job. Silicates are known densifiers; however if the sealer is a silicate/siliconate blend you are in luck since the smaller silicate molecule will densify and the larger siliconate molecule will chemically react and waterproof your basement. Silane/Siloxane sealers are excellent choices for basement concrete block and/or cinderblock walls. They are really the only effective solutions for waterproofing basement concrete block and cinderblock walls. And whatever you do, despite their claims, do not use DryLok to waterproof your basement. You will have numerous and countless adhesion problems since DryLok is latex based.
As the areas of our homes that are probably the most vulnerable to damage, basements require a little more care and consideration than many other parts of our houses. Water damage typically will not plague a home, even on the ground floor. However, since basements are actually located underground, they are at a higher risk of damage from the elements, especially water damage.
Water damage typically occurs from flooding. While flooding can be a surprise, such as from flash floods or natural disasters like hurricanes, the flooding that can regularly plague basements generally builds up over time. Areas near rivers, lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water have high water tables. This just means there is a large amount of water pooled beneath the surface of the ground. When the water table is high, there is a greater chance of flooding because water from rain cannot sink into the earth to as great of an extent as in places with a low water table.
Basements in areas with high hydrostatic pressure, which is when the water table is high, are prone to water damage. While concrete seems strong and impervious to water flowing through it, it is actually a porous material. Its mixing process results in a large number of tiny air pockets that allow water and moisture to pass through the material. While trace amounts of moisture are not a problem, water can physically pass through the concrete and drip through the walls, leading to mold and mildew build-up, as well as damaging your home and possessions.
The best way to prevent this type of damage is by using a concrete sealer. If you use an acrylic sealer, the water will just seep through and push the sealer off the surface from within the material. The acrylic sealer will bubble and flake and water will still drip into your basement. The better choice is a penetrating sealer. These sealers will penetrate past the surface of the concrete to react chemically within the material. The chemical reaction not only increases the concrete’s density and strength, but it also fills in the pores and hairline cracks that allow the uninhibited passage of moisture into the concrete. Without a free network offering passage throughout the concrete, the water will have nowhere to go, backed up outside of the surface and barred from entrance. Only then will your concrete’s safety be improved and protection achieved.
Basements are the parts of our homes most vulnerable to damage from the elements. This damage frequently manifests itself in such problems as flooding, the excessive build-up of mold and/or mildew, and the passage of potentially harmful gases through the basement walls into your home. As the walls are typically just made of concrete rather than being insulated properly, your home is open to these sorts of problems.
The best way to deal with these problems, of course, is to prevent them. Virtually all basements are constructed from concrete. Concrete, while incredibly strong, is also an extremely porous material. Beginning on its surface, concrete is filled with tiny pores and hairline cracks that extend throughout the material. While concrete is strong enough without any further treatment, it is not as strong and protective as it can be.
Enter concrete sealers. Concrete sealers are products designed and manufactured to help protect the concrete surfaces of your homes. For a basement, the best option would be a penetrating concrete sealer. Sealers of this variety are applied to the surface of the concrete. Once applied, their small particles of protective sealant seep into the concrete through the tiny surface pores, continuing their passage via the pathways of pores and hairline cracks that are natural to concrete. However, once the sealant passes through these miniscule openings, the chemicals react with chemicals present within the concrete, permanently filling up the holes and cracks.
This process not only protects your concrete from the passage of water or harmful gases into your home, but it also fundamentally strengthens the concrete. The concrete becomes denser, filled with more particles of calcium silicate hydrate (or CSH), a naturally occurring part of concrete with which the concrete sealer reacts chemically to increase. The best way to prevent damage to your concrete basement is to treat it early on with a quality penetrating concrete sealer.
Our Take: We like this penetrating concrete waterproofer found at HomeDepot.com.