Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 by Amanda Waldmann
If there’s one thing the past 18 months have done, it’s make everyone think their DIY abilities are infinite. In my house alone we’ve put in new flooring, landscaping, and painted a few rooms, all with varying levels of success.
But when you’re dealing with water or foundation problems in your home, you really can’t gamble on the outcome being mostly fine. Let’s look at what you should stay away from, and what you can do yourself.
You’ve seen it at the store. You’ve watched a guy paint a leaking canoe with it and set sail. “I could just put that on my basement walls,” you’ve thought. And it’s true, you could paint over your leaking walls with this strange rubberized paint. And it would even work for a day or two. But that’s all.
Waterproofing paint, like I mentioned above, tends to have some sort of rubber polymers in it that fill in and “block” wall leaks. It will definitely work on a very short term basis. The problem is that water is more powerful than anything you could put in paint - and even stronger than the concrete itself. Water will wear down the paint quickly, at which point you’ll have the same leaks; you also may have new leak sources as the water spreads in the face of that initial resistance from the paint. If you look through our photo galleries, there are signs of this paint on leaking walls throughout, because some homeowners try it before they realize they need a real solution.
Caulk and Spackle
Ditto all of the above, but potentially even less effective. Please don’t waste a weekend covering your basement in spackle. (Yes, we’ve seen it.)
We get a few calls a month from customers who have tried (or watched their spouse try) to dig up the dirt around the foundation in order to apply something to the outside that keeps water out. It could be more of our wonderful rubberized paint, it could even be just a tarp that they glue in place. No matter what it is, it doesn’t work, and they end up calling us.
Not only do external systems in general tend to fail, but DIY external solutions can even be dangerous. Not only are you not solving the water problem, you’re actually destabilizing all of the soil around the foundation, making it more likely to shift and exert pressure as it absorbs new water and putting your home at risk for bowing walls and settlement.
What you can do
We’ve mentioned before that there are some quick and easy things you can do to mitigate the water entering your basement. While they usually won’t solve the ultimate problem like a waterproofing system will, they’ll at least lessen the onslaught and give you time to get set up with a professional.
Extend your downspouts
This is by far the simplest one. You can buy materials to extend your downspouts at any home improvement store, and they’re not that expensive. By extending your downspouts away from your foundation, to a location where water will continue downhill or otherwise away from the house, you can eliminate a large part of the influx.
Consider your landscaping
Did you have any large landscaping projects done in the months before you noticed water in your basement? It’s possible that you or your landscaping company accidentally changed the grading of your lawn (the way it slopes toward or away from your house). Fixing this could be a large undertaking that requires the same professionals who made the changes, or it could be as simple as building up or even relocating some flower beds.
This is always the easiest solution. We offer free inspections so that you know you’re not under any pressure, and we pride ourselves on being honest and doing what’s best FOR YOU. If that leaking water is actually just a broken pipe? We’ll tell you. We’re not going to sell you stuff you don’t need. No risk, all reward. Call today to schedule your free inspection.