The Right Basement Waterproof Sealant for Your Foundation Material

Waterproof Sealant For Foundation Material

Water in basements is a common problem for many homeowners, but it’s easy to ignore until it becomes a serious issue. What basement doesn’t feel a little damp in the spring? But water is an invasive force that can lead to significant structural issues if the cause isn’t identified and the impacts corrected.

Waterproofing a foundation can be a multi-step process involving sealing the exterior foundation. Accessing the building’s foundation can be complicated, so exterior waterproofing products are a good step to protecting your home.

Today, we’re answering the most common questions about waterproofing your basement and how to select the right sealant and drainage system to protect your foundation.

What is basement waterproofing sealant?

Basement Waterproofing Sealant

Basement waterproofing can be applied to the exterior of your basement or foundation wall. A high-quality waterproof sealant will repel water and prevent degradation of the concrete.

Exterior basement waterproofing is generally made of an asphalt-based waterproofing. Asphalt is carefully refined from the distillation of selected crude oils and is used because of its impermeability and reliability.

Asphalt waterproof sealants are spray-applied in either water- or solvent-based formulas. Make sure to seal any cracks or faults using a waterproof mastic before covering it with waterproofing sealant.

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

When is the best time to have my basement’s exterior waterproofed?

There are two times to waterproof your basement. In order of preference, they are:

  1. When it is being built. Exterior basement waterproofing must be done by exposing the foundation, so the best time to waterproof your basement is during construction before fill and landscaping remove the access to your exterior foundation wall.
  2. During a warm, dry period. For a number of reasons, if you need to excavate your foundation once construction is complete, you want to do it with an eye on the weather. The most obvious reason is, if your foundation is already leaking, you don’t want to increase the chance of water intrusion by exposing your foundation during a rain event. And even if there is no rain in the forecast, you want to wait until the ground is thoroughly dry. Wet and damp soil needs to be shored up to keep workers safe and has the potential to delay work.

You also want to do your waterproofing when the weather is fairly warm. Trying to apply waterproofing membranes when temperatures are too cold will increase the amount of time these products need to cure before you can backfill the foundation. Always follow manufacturer’s recommendations on application temperatures.

Drainage Board System

What is hydrostatic pressure, and how does it affect foundation drainage?

While managing exterior water sources through proper downspout drainage and landscape grading will help reduce opportunities for water infiltration, the fact remains basements are built below grade and subject to hydrostatic pressure from groundwater. Even the most well-sealed foundations may degrade under the influences of this pressure over time.

A drainage board system installed around the outside of a sealed foundation will help protect against groundwater and debris like silt and rocks. Along with supporting an effective drainage system, Mar-flex GeoMat Drain Roll is made of 100% recycled material and can be used towards LEED building credits.

Waterproofing a basement can be a complex undertaking, but it is critical to maintaining the integrity of a home. Wherever possible, waterproofing should be considered a proactive activity, rather than waiting for a flood. Manufacturers of waterproofing materials, like Mar-Flex, have a variety of solutions to suit your needs. For more information, visit our website.

How do you make a waterproof basement from the beginning?

This is a question we found via Yahoo Answers, and thought it would be within our expertise to answer here:

Foundation waterproofing should always be undertaken during initial construction. It is nearly impossible to apply basement waterproofing products once backfill, where sediment is deposited around the foundation, takes place. Before discussing the proper basement waterproofing products to use during construction, however, it is important to make the distinction between waterproofing and dampproofing a foundation. Dampproofing, which is less expensive, was used frequently in the past to prevent moisture from reaching subterranean walls. In fact, it was often referred to as “waterproofing” until the two terms were officially codified in the International Residential Code. We will address the difference in greater detail in future articles, but the bottom-line is that dampproofing merely prevents moisture from soaking into below-grade structures. Dampproofing will not prevent damage due to hydrostatic pressure or protect against a large buildup of water against a foundation wall. You can find more information on the benefits of waterproofing products here.

Once you have settled on basement waterproofing, you will begin to assemble your basement waterproofing system. We call it a waterproofing system because it utilizes three elements: a waterproofing membrane, drainage tile a drainage board. These pieces compliment each other and work together to ensure basements remain water-free for many many years. In fact, Marflex offers a limited lifetime warranty on waterproofing systems combining our top-of-the-line green waterproofing products, the FUSION UV waterproofing membrane and Shockwave drainage board. The waterproofing membrane goes on first and is sprayed directly on the exterior of the below-grade structure. This will prevent water from reaching the concrete and contains a large enough polymer concentration to resist hydrostatic pressure by stretching without breakage. The drainage board will prevent water from building up around the structure by helping it to quickly flow away from walls. It is applied over the waterproofing membrane and protects the membrane from soil and debris while channeling away moisture that causes pressure to build up.  The drainage tile fits beneath the structure and channels water away from the floor in much the same way that drainage boards channel water away from below-grade walls. By pairing a true waterproofing membrane with a high-quality drainage board, you can ensure your foundation walls will be built to last.

What Contractors and Builders Need to Know About Foundation Waterproofing Sealing

Waterproofing Sealing

Owning and maintaining a building is a constant battle against water intrusion. Whether through leaky roofs, broken window seals or foundation cracks, homeowners, tenants and contractors are always looking for solutions to keep the water out.

Concrete foundations are built for their durability, but despite their solid-seeming appearance, concrete foundation walls are very water permeable. Diffusion is slow, but anyone who has ever been in an unsealed basement knows the smell of mold and mildew growth that comes with gradual moisture intrusion.

Foundation waterproofing sealing is a critical component of constructing and maintaining a building’s foundation. A high-quality waterproofing system not only provides a membrane to keep liquid water out but also keeps water vapor out as well. Whether you’re building a new foundation or repairing an existing one, choosing the right foundation waterproofing will extend the building’s longevity and reduce long-term maintenance costs.

Talking to Homeowners About Foundation Waterproofing Sealing

Foundation of Waterproof Sealing

Getting a homeowner to commit to resealing a foundation can be a task, especially if the work involves exposing the exterior foundation, which is an expensive undertaking. Often, homeowners may incorrectly believe their foundation has already been waterproofed when, in fact, they have only been dampproofed, which is the minimum code requirement in many jurisdictions.

During heavy rain events, water can infiltrate through solid concrete. Many building owners will wait for visible foundation cracks and water accumulation before calling a contractor. By helping them understand the other signs of moisture intrusion, you may be able to solve larger problems, like mold growth and foundational deterioration, before they happen.

Signs to look out for include:

  • Staining on drywall
  • Peeling paint
  • Bowing or warping of panels
  • Damp spots in carpeting
  • White spots on walls
  • Musty odors

If building owners are aware of these other signs of water damage, they can be more proactive in beginning repairs. Hidden moisture infiltration can damage electrical panels and appliances, cause chronic health problems, and potentially hurt property values, so addressing them quickly is of the utmost importance.

What Waterproofing Products Do You Need?

Waterproofing Products

Foundation waterproofing sealers can be applied on the exterior of the foundation, which is recommended since it keeps water out of the foundation, while interior sealing won’t prevent future cracking and degradation.

Mastic can be applied in localized areas to patch joints, seams and visible cracks. Choosing a foundation waterproofing sealer that is a heavy duty, elastomeric emulsion will help prevent moisture intrusion.

When specifying a waterproofing product, make sure to check whether it is rated for waterproofness or dampproofness. A comprehensive waterproofing system will help keep water out during heavy rain events or spring thaws, while dampproofing will limit moisture intrusion from surrounding soil and groundwater.

A product like Mar-flex’s 362 All Season Mastic is a great choice for patching cracks and sealing foundation joints and seams before waterproofing. It can be applied by hand or with a trowel and leaves a flexible waterproof coating able to handle freeze-thaw cycles throughout the seasons. This flexibility also means that 362 Mastic can be applied at any time of the year.

For broader surface application, Mar-flex 5000 is a heavy duty, solvent-based or water-based polymer-emulsion blend that penetrates concrete or masonry to provide long-term residential waterproofing protection. Drainage boards are also available to extend the residential warranty for new construction applications.

Applying Foundation Waterproofing

Applying Foundation Waterproofing

Before applying the foundation waterproofing sealer, make sure to address any significant sources of water. These could include overflowing downspouts, improperly graded landscaping, or sunken paths and walkways that lead to water accumulation. It’s important to remediate these issues before installing a waterproof membrane in order to ensure its effectiveness.

Next, make sure your surface is clean and dry. Concrete needs to be free of loose particles as well as oils and greases to make sure your foundation waterproofing sealer adheres properly. If you’re waterproofing a new foundation, make sure the concrete has had enough time to cure or that you select a waterproofing membrane that is compatible with green concrete, such as the Mar-flex 5000.

Once you’ve addressed any exterior issues and prepared your surface, you are ready to begin installing the waterproofing system. Make sure you communicate important information like curing times and any warranty requirements to homeowners so that the project only needs to be done once, as re-excavation will be costly.

For more information on how to choose and apply one of Mar-flex’s foundation waterproofing products, visit our website.

Choosing Interior or Exterior Insulation: The Pros and Cons

Insulation is one of the most complicated choices builders and architects face during construction. Interior insulation is cost effective, but can reduce usable space and doesn’t protect against water. Exterior insulation is expensive and susceptible to insects. Regardless of the insulation choice, efficiency, toxicity and resiliency must all be taken into account as well. The Mar-flex team has put together a quick “cheat sheet” to outline the differences, advantages and disadvantages of each type of insulation.

ADVANTAGES of insulation on the EXTERIOR of basement walls:

  • Minimizes thermal bridging and reducing heat loss through the foundation

  • Protects the waterproofing membrane from damage during backfilling

  • Serves as a capillary break to moisture intrusion

  • Protects the foundation from the effects of the freeze-thaw cycle

  • Reduces the potential for condensation on surfaces in the basement

  • Conserves indoor space, relative to installing insulation on the interior

DISADVANTAGES of insulation on the EXTERIOR of basement walls:

  • Costs may be high depending on materials and approach selected

  • Expensive for an existing building unless a perimeter drainage system is being installed at the same time

  • May be susceptible to insect infestation, however Mar-flex offers insect resistant materials

  • Contractors may be unfamiliar with proper detailing procedures that are critical to performance

  • Buildings with high radon will need a radon mitigations system to use exterior insulation

ADVANTAGES of insulation on the INTERIOR of basement walls:

  • Interior insulation is much less expensive to install than exterior insulation for existing buildings

  • Almost any insulation type can be used, however rigid foam EPS is recommended

  • The space is isolated from the colder earth more effectively than when using external methods

DISADVANTAGES of insulation on the INTERIOR of basement walls:

  • Many types require a fire-rated covering because they may release toxic gases when ignited

  • Reduces your usable interior space by a few inches

  • Doesn’t protect the waterproofing coating like exterior insulation

  • May become damp if perimeter drainage is poor

Waterproofing vs. Dampproofing

  • Did you know that there is a significant difference between waterproofing and dampproofing? Dampproofing simply slows down water penetration, but will not completely waterproof your foundation. Dampproofing, however, does protect against water vapor transmission. For the value based homeowner, dampproofing is an alternative to waterproofing, usually done with an easy to spray-on membrane, which dries into a seamless coating. Mar-Flex’s DampFusion Water Based acrylic dampproofing membrane is an economical solution to many damp basement or foundation issues. Value priced for the everyday consumer.

What is an Egress Window Well and Why Are They Important?

Mar-flex_Window-wells_Rhino_insetWe have received several questions on our Facebook page asking about the benefits of egress window wells. What is an egress window well? Why would you want to install an egress window well, and how to know which one is right for you? Mar-flex is a premier national manufacturer and distributor of all types of window wells. As an industry leader, it is our duty and privilege to help the public by addressing these questions.
Egress window wells perform the same basic functions as a standard window well. They keep backfill, rocks and dirt away from below-grade windows. They also help water drain away to prevent leaks and hydrostatic pressure around the window frame. What makes egress wells unique, however, is that they allow individuals inside the basement to exit through the well. Some wells have ladders, others have stairs. From an installation standpoint, the major difference is the fact that egress wells are usually larger than standard metal window wells. This larger design allows individuals to fit through them.
There are a number of good reasons homeowners choose to install an egress window well. The most obvious is that it can let you get more enjoyment out of your basement. Egress window wells allow more natural light into basements; they can literally brighten your day. Extra illumination is nice, but that isn’t the most important reason for exploring an egress window well for your home or business. A quick escape from the basement saves lives. Below-grade spaces that lack direct routes to the outdoors can be extremely dangerous in the event of a fire. We won’t get into the details of what can happen to individuals trapped downstairs. They are, as you can imagine, grizzly. What matters is that you can prevent such a horrific event. That’s why a growing number of cities and townships are requiring homeowners to purchase egress window wells. Check your local building codes to see if your region is among them.

Charlotte Home Lacks Proper Basement Waterproofing

We talk a lot about the importance of proper basement waterproofing, but not everyone understands the subject as well as our team of Division 7 experts. Preventing water from damaging foundations is what we think about all day long. It is our business after all, and we consider it the most important factor a property owner should consider.

You don’t have to take our word for it, however. A team of home inspectors from Charlotte recently put together this video which does a great job explaining the importance of proper foundation waterproofing and the risks water poses to below-grade structures.

Marflex is not associated with Carolina Home Inspectors. We simply found their video to be an excellent educational resource. Of course, the home they were inspecting faced a very specific set of waterproofing challenges. There are, however, some things that all homeowners should be aware of regarding basement waterproofing. Chief among these is the importance of combining a waterproofing membrane with a drainage board and drainage tiles. We refer to this as a “waterproofing system.” Click here to learn more about how these elements work together to preserve below-grade structures.

The Basement Waterproofing Pros Celebrate “Cellar Dwellers”

You know Mar-flex as a team of unparalleled basement waterproofing professionals, working tirelessly to create the best waterproofing membranes, drainage boards and egress window wells in the world. But we are also serious sports fans, and there are few places that love sports more than Philadelphia.

Philly may be “The City of Brotherly Love.” But when it comes to losing teams, that affection comes in the form of “tough love.”

At Mar-flex, we’re urging compassion for the lovable losers. Yes, dare we say… the cellar dwellers. (Hey, we protect basements, come on, we have to look out for our own.) For us, protecting something below-grade is easy: a waterproofing membrane, drainage board or waterproofing system can get you fixed up easily. And while these below-.500 teams didn’t have to worry about the worst that can happen to a basement, they didn’t have to worry much about winning, either.

So let us celebrate the cellar dwellers with five of our favorites:

The Washington Generals

The Harlem Globetrotters’ favorite punching bag, the Washington Generals, racked up a mind-boggling 13,000 losses to their world-famous opponent. Their last win was in 1971, which caused children in the stands to cry. Tough crowd.

The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers

After LeBron James left Cleveland for sunny Miami, it was a tough period for the Cavs. In 2010-11, the team lost 26 games in a row. The only people who were happy about that were the 76ers, who were no longer stuck alone with that matching record.

Caltech Men’s Basketball

Known much more for excellence in math than proficiency on the hardwood, the ballers of the Caltech’s men’s basketball team racked up losses almost to infinity. Divided by pi and multiplied by the Pythagorean theorem. Or something like that. Yes, 207 losses in a row. The crushing 10+-year streak mercifully came to an end in 2007.

The 2008 Detroit Lions

Only one team in the history of the NFL has gone 0-16. The 2008 Detroit Lions. Although their season was a disaster, head coach Rod Marinelli had one of the all-time great quotes in sports. Desperately trying for a single victory, the embattled HC defiantly said, “My shovel is sharp and my pick is sharp and my will is outstanding.”

The Pittsburgh Pirates

It’s one thing to have a bad year. It’s another thing to have a bad decade-and-a-half. From 1993 until 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates had losing seasons.  This is not only a record for in Major League Baseball, its a record in all of North American sports.

Mar-flex feels the pain of the cellar dwellers. But we do our best to prevent your basement from being a loser. How? Simple: WINNING waterproofing solutions. We can hook you up with a waterproofing membrane, drainage tiles or whatever custom-built solution you need.

Want to turn your basement into a winner? Contact Mar-flex at 1-800-498-1411 for more information about how our technicians can transform your below-grade space into a winner.

How to Choose a Sustainable Foundation Waterproofing Product

If you are looking for an environmentally friendly way to waterproof your basement, Marflex has you covered. Consumers from Charlotte to Chicago are discovering that they no longer have to choose between going green and getting the flooded basement blues. Thousands of builders, contractors and architects have been pleased to discover that our greenest products are also among our most effective.

Fusion UV is our top-of-the-line waterproofing membrane, and it also meets the highest LEED standards.
ShockWave is the most effective drainage board on the market today, and it is produced using 100% recycled post-industrial waste from the automotive industry.

When these products are combined with a drainage tile product, such as our DrainAway line, it forms a foundation waterproofing system that’s as good for the environment as it is for your wallet. A complete waterproofing system combining Fusion UV and ShockWave is eligible for our limited lifetime warranty.

So, how should you choose a sustainable foundation waterproofing product? Seek out products, like those sold at Marflex, that meet your needs as well as the needs of the Earth. After all, living in harmony with the natural world is what sustainability is all about.