Basement Waterproofing Case Studies: Waterproofing a Basement After a DIY Fail

Friday, June 16th, 2017 by Amanda Waldmann


When we have a major weather event, the office is often inundated with calls, and customers can get frustrated when we have to schedule their appointment a few weeks out. Or maybe they just do some googling after they first schedule an appointment and are inundated with the amount of questionable DIY fixes they find for water problems. Regardless, it isn’t uncommon to have a customer call and cancel their appointment, stating that they’ve fixed the problem themselves. Inevitably, though, we always hear from them again.


That was the case with this customer in Battle Creek. There was water coming up through the basement floor in parts of their partially finished basement, so they scheduled an appointment last summer. Within a few days, though, the appointment was canceled because they’d fixed it themselves.


Or so they thought.


We heard from them again this spring when the DIY fix had failed and water was once again coming up through the floor. They understood now that basement waterproofing isn’t really an amateur sport, and they wanted the problem taken care of permanently.



The basement had a sump pump, but it wasn’t very strong, and a sump pump is only useful if the water has a way to get to it. In the case of hydrostatic pressure (which is what causes water to seep in through the floor), water can rise through any part of the floor and unless there’s a major slope to the basement, might not ever make it to the pump. Instead, it will sit and cause problems by raising the ambient moisture content in the air.


The first point of order was installing our WaterGuard below-floor drainage system around the perimeter of the basement. This allows water to flow into the system at any point and be funneled to the sump pump. Speaking of which, we added a TripleSafe next to the existing pump to add power with three motors and a battery backup, which guarantees the pump will keep working even in a power outage (like those caused by storms...which cause floods). The WaterGuard is tied directly into the sump pump, taking the reliance on gravity out of the equation and ensuring water will get to the TripleSafe and be discharged outside.


On the discharge line, we installed IceGuard. This will prevent backups in the winter that can occur in the event of a frozen line, which is common in rough Michigan winters. The grated cover provides an escape route of sorts, so if water hits a blockage in the line it’ll simply spray out rather than backing up into the basement, which would cause flooding. We also installed a Lawnscape outlet on the end of the line; this allowed us to bury the discharge line by creating an outlet that lays flush with the ground and doesn’t allow clogging. Burying the discharge line eliminates the eyesore of the line in the yard, but also removes a trip hazard and landscaping headache (have you ever tried to mow the lawn around one of these?)


While it’s tempting to try and handle a problem yourself, it’s rare (if not impossible) for these solutions to work. Water is stronger than any kind of sealant on the market and has to be controlled rather than eliminated. By installing a basic perimeter system and powerful sump pump, this basement will be kept dry from now on.


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Ayers Basement Systems
2505 S. Waverly Hwy
Lansing, MI 48911
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