Owning a basement is a very convenient aspect that adds tremendous value to your home. A mistake that many homeowners tend to make is ignoring basement maintenance. When ignored, problems will become worse and worse, eventually demanding a big investment for repairs. Fixing a structural damage in the basement can cost more than building the basement itself.
This is why it’s best to take care of the basement for the long run and avoid damage such as leaks. Leaking is the most common problem with basements. A wet basement can rapidly lead to structural damage if ignored, so you should research how much it costs for complete basement waterproofing and make an effort to protect it.
Reading this article will definitely answer some of your questions, so give it a quick read and see what waterproofing a basement involves. Keep in mind that a wet basement can be the result of a myriad of factors and one problem can lead to another. For instance, if you don’t fix cracks in the foundation and if you don’t keep the gutters and drains functional, waterproofing won’t keep your basement from getting damaged. Keeping a close eye on the conditions in your basement is key for good maintenance.
How Much Does It Cost to Waterproof A Basement? Let’s find out.
Straight to The Costs…
As in most cases, defining an exact cost for waterproofing your basement won’t be possible. It all depends on your basement’s size, the materials you choose to use, the labor in your area and many other aspects that vary from one case to another. Even so, we can get pretty close to the final cost.
The first step in finding out how much does it cost to waterproof your basement is figuring out where the moisture is coming from in the first place. The average cost of waterproofing a regular basement is around $4,000, with a range of $3 to $9 per square foot. Repairing cracks start off at $1,500 and can go up to $6,000 depending on how serious the problem is.
Fixing the cracks along with adding new drains and gutters will be the most expensive situation, costing the average homeowner up to $10,000. Basement waterproofing contractors will work with your budget, but the severity of the problem is often the one dictating the final cost of the project.
Should You Choose Waterproofing or Damp Proofing?
It’s important to understand that basement waterproofing is not the same as damp proofing. Basements can easily be damp proofed at a slightly lower cost per square foot, with excavation included. When talking about waterproofing, the cost is a little bit higher (maximum $6 vs maximum $9 per square meter).
The difference between damp proofing and waterproofing is that the first one protects the house from soil moisture only, while the other protects the house from both soil moisture and liquid water. Damp proofing is usually done as a coating – spray or other products applied on the wall. Waterproofing requires more work, but it is much more effective in the long run and it has a better return on investment.
A List of Interior Basement Waterproofing Solutions
The solutions used for waterproofing differ according to where they are applied: interior or exterior. When calculating how much does basement waterproofing cost, you need to take these products into account too, as they may influence the final cost. Here’s a list of the most used interior basement waterproofing solutions:
For a cheap yet effective method to waterproof your basement, consider concrete mix. It can easily be applied to the walls and the price ranges from $3 to $6 per square foot. This concrete mix is a thick combination of substances that is meant to keep water out of the basement even though it is absorbed by the exterior walls. There are two downsides to this product: when it dries up it has a grainy aspect and it can only be applied to unpainted concrete.
Silicate Concrete Sealer
This solution will require professional application, so consider that when opting for it. If you are looking for how to waterproof a basement yourself, this is not a suitable option. The price tops off at $9 per square foot. A silicate concrete sealer is a liquid mixture that penetrates the wall on which it is applied. The result is a chemical reaction that keeps the walls dry without causing the grainy look as in the case of concrete.
This is perhaps the most straightforward way to waterproof your basement. It is an acrylic type of paint that can be applied regularly on the walls. The paint acts as a bond that keeps moisture away. It is not the most efficient method, but it does the job for a limited period of time in moderate conditions. Any option that is based on penetrating substances keeps the moist outside because they get absorbed in the walls, letting moisture to escape instead of having it trapped.
Interior Water Drainage
Besides using the proper products for waterproofing interior walls, you should pay attention to the water drainage system. All basements have to be properly drained in order to avoid long-term damage. The best system for drainage is using perforated pipes, but it involves removing and replacing concrete and placing the pipes underneath. The pipes eventually connect to a sump, just as an exterior drainage system. The downside is that if the system ever gets damaged, the concrete must be removed and replaced once again. The cost averages at $2,000.
Another type of drainage system, the French one, consists of pipes that are installed beneath the surface. They direct water away from the structure and can be installed and repaired with less effort than in the case of perforated drain pipes. The downside of French drains is that the cost can go up to $10,000, depending on the surface and materials used. Plus, the initial installation time required for installing French drains is around 10 hours.
A List of Exterior Basement Waterproofing Solutions
Basement waterproofing can also be done on the exterior, preventing the water from getting inside the house instead of doing it from within. It is quite similar to interior waterproofing in terms of price, exterior waterproofing can cost anywhere between $9,000 and $15,000. Fully waterproofing your basement on the exterior can cost quite a lot, but it is the recommended method to do it.
This is the most expensive process in waterproofing a basement. Excavation has to be used when there’s no possibility to access the exterior walls of the basement unless digging into the ground. Excavation should be done around the areas where panels are leaking. Waterproofing the entire walls of a basement will require all-round excavation, and the cost can go up to $250 per linear foot, staring at around $100. The project may take 24h+ of work, depending on the size of the basement and the number of walls.
When putting together how much does it cost to waterproof a basement, you should consider using sodium bentonite on the exterior walls only if you want to save a lot on costs. This solution helps with filling cracks and absorb water. The costs of waterproofing a basement with sodium bentonite start around $500, which is very convenient for such a project. Even so, contractors don’t recommend using clay materials for this purpose.
Foundation Waterproofing Membrane
A waterproofing membrane is a bit more expensive than the cement mix, but it is similar in use. Costs may go up to $15,000, but the results are long-term ones. The membrane is very efficient in keeping the walls dry, and it is also easy to apply because of the rubberized asphalt content. The waterproofing membrane acts like a film that keeps the moisture away from the exterior. This, combined with an interior solution for waterproofing will ensure the good maintenance of your basement.
Other Costs & Tips
You may also want to consider additional costs such as removing driveways, air conditioning systems, vent systems, decks, patios and rebuilding/replacing them if that’s the case. These aspects add money and time to the equation. Costs for small interventions like these vary from $200 to $2,500.
Calculating how much does it cost to waterproof a basement depends on the conditions of the soil, the area you live in, the features and size of the building and so on. A tip would be to analyze all these aspects carefully and choose the most suitable waterproofing option for your case. Fixing cracks regularly and adding drainage is still a part of basement maintenance that you can’t skip, regardless of the upgrades you make.
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