Should You Waterproof Your Newly Constructed Basement If It’s Already Up To Code?

If you've just purchased a newly constructed house, you may already be surveying the unfinished landscaping and bare white walls, eager to put your own finishing touches on your new residence. However, even if your home is finished and up to code, there are a few less aesthetically-pleasing projects that may need to be undertaken in order to fully protect your home from water damage, termites, and other potential problems. Read on to learn more about when installing waterproofing even after your basement is finished can be a good investment, as well as some other final touches you'll want to make before settling into your new home.

How can installing waterproofing in your basement help minimize future home maintenance expenses?

Most newly constructed homes have only "damp-proofing" -- a tarry substance that's sprayed on the outer surface of your home's foundation to prevent soil moisture from seeping all the way through your walls. Although this damp-proofing is usually enough waterproofing to get your home up to code, it won't offer much protection against larger amounts of moisture, particularly if your foundation is in a low-lying or flood-prone area. You could find yourself facing a basement full of water after your first thunderstorm.

More extensive basement waterproofing can also help protect your home against termite damage. Termites are drawn to dark, moist spaces and tunnel through the soil to reach new food sources, making a damp basement the perfect place for them to burrow. The last thing you want is for your brand-new home to suffer a termite infestation that could cause permanent or even irreparable damage, so it may be best to install waterproofing.

What are your best basement waterproofing options?

When waterproofing an already finished basement, you'll need to concentrate most of your efforts on the inside. An exterior water barrier made from a rubber membrane can provide thorough and effective waterproofing from the outside, but it may be difficult to install if the majority of your foundation wall is below ground. Instead, you'll need to focus on sealants that can be applied to your basement walls to prevent water from entering. When combined with exterior damp-proofing measures, these sealants can go a long way toward keeping your foundation dry.

However, one exterior modification you can make that should significantly diminish the amount of water your basement takes on in a severe thunderstorm is the installation of a French drain. Although this drain may sound sophisticated, it involves a very simple design -- just an angled drain with a single drainage pipe, often covered with gravel or topsoil. Having a French drain constructed around your foundation will force any runoff away from your home, minimizing the water pressure on your basement walls during thunderstorms or other heavy precipitation. Lower water pressure on your foundation walls minimizes the odds that your waterproofing will fail in inclement weather.

What else may you need to do to protect your home from issues like foundation cracking or water leaks? 

One way to ensure that your basement doesn't flood even if your waterproofing is breached is to install a sump pump. If your home's builders made only cursory waterproofing efforts, they may not have installed a sump pump pit -- in other situations, your basement may already be designed to accommodate this pump below ground level. Fortunately, even if a pit hasn't yet been constructed, the installation of a sump pit and pump is a relatively inexpensive and easy process. You'll generally be able to pay a contractor $300 to $500 to build this pit and install the pump for you, or you may opt to do it yourself over the course of a few weekends to save some money.

For more information and options, contact a professional waterproofing company, such as Safe-Guard Waterproofing.