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Can I do my own basement waterproofing?

Thanks to video sharing sites such as YouTube, we can now watch how to do all sorts of things we never used to be able to. From improving our make up skills and cooking the perfect steak to changing the battery in our car and doing home renovations, there are videos online telling us how to do just about anything.

If you’re thinking about waterproofing your basement to save some money, unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s more than likely you will only be creating a temporary barrier from water ingress. This means you may end up paying a professional to fix problems further down the line, as DIY basement conversions will often create potential risks to both the basement and the structure of the building through poor workmanship and inadequate products.

What is basement waterproofing?

basement waterproofing working

An example of basement waterproofing using a cavity drainage membrane.

Walls and floors in rooms below ground level are subject to lateral damp penetration by either hydrostatic pressure or capillary action. These forms of water ingress can be avoided by using specialist waterproofing techniques that will transform basements, cellars and vaults into habitable areas.

The cavity drainage system uses a high density extruded and studded membrane which acts as a dry lining to walls, ceilings and floors with an air gap behind. This allows for the free movement of water which is channelled into a drainage system for evacuation outside of the building. The water is removed through natural drainage or pump installation without penetrating into the building itself. The internal wall finishes can either be a plasterboard dry lining system or plastering direct on to the membrane. The floor finish is either screeded or timber boarded.

What can go wrong with basement waterproofing?

The reason why it’s advisable to seek help from a professional is because there are many things which can go wrong with basement waterproofing including:

  • Your own handiwork might not comply with BS 8102. This is a British Standard which outlines best practice when planning a basement waterproofing scheme. Although it’s not a legal requirement for individuals or even companies which specialise in basement waterproofing to adhere to the guidelines, doing so safeguards you against the potential risks associated with this kind of work.
  • When installing a new waterproofing system, it’s vital that the drainage under the membrane is designed and installed correctly with flushing points and a ‘sump and pump’ chamber. These need to be designed and tested by a professional to ensure they work properly. Incorrect installation could cause your basement to flood.
  • One of the main threats to the effectiveness of basement waterproofing systems is poor workmanship. Bad design or implementation could lead to damp problems or flooding. Something as simple as fitting a radiator or bracket incorrectly could lead to puncturing the membrane, causing water ingress.
  • Another issue that often results in problems are defects caused by using materials that are inadequate for the job. Professionals will know exactly what products are necessary to create a completely waterproof basement – mistakes are easily avoidable when using experts who know what they’re doing.

Peter Cox are property maintenance experts with years of experience in basement waterproofing. If you would like more information about basement waterproofing and the benefits of carrying out this work, please feel free to contact Peter Cox  book a survey appointment or call us on 0808 273 2138and we will be more than happy to help.