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Basement Waterproofing: What NOT To Do

A basement finished with drywall that has grown mold.

A wet basement is a moldy, musty, unusable space even when there's no flooding. While there are many waterproofing techniques available, only a few can reliably solve this problem.

With hundreds of dealers spread across the United States and Canada, and with more than 20 years in the business, Basement Systems has just about seen it all.

Basement waterproofing is a job that's best done by a specialist in the field -- someone who is certified to waterproof your home, and who waterproofs basements every day.

A portion of the calls we get are from homeowners who have already tried to waterproof their basement once, and that system failed. This is always a very frustrating situation for a homeowner to be in -- especially if that homeowner finished the basement and/or have used the space to store their valuables.

At Basement Systems, our warrantied systems have been used in thousands of basements, and are the proven way to ensure a dry, usable space.

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Count on us to transform your wet basement into dry, usable space -- warrantied! Call us for a free wet basement repair estimate!

Seven Don'ts Of Basement Waterproofing

There are several simple (but important) differences between a basement waterproofing system that will keep your home dry and one that will fail.

At Basement Systems, we've identified seven significant avoidable problems that lead to damp or wet basement issues. Taking steps to avoid these problems will greatly reduce the more common issues we come across in the business.

a wet basement with rotting wood and posts and a waterproof coating coming off the walls.

Don't Ignore The Problem

Often, homeowners who only see flooding will look the other way when their basement is wet, hoping that it was a one-time incident only.

This is not the case! If nothing has been done to stop your basement from flooding, then there is no reason to believe that the problem will not return.

If you're planning on selling your house someday, the time to waterproof is now. A wet basement will reduce the value of a house by 10% or more. Waterproofing your basement with a system that includes a transferable warranty will pay back for itself in the value of your home. Meanwhile, you can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that the problem has been permanently addressed.


A backhoe excavating dirt from around the edge of a home foundation

Don't Waterproof From The Exterior

There are contractors who will claim that the only way to truly keep a basement dry is to waterproof it from the exterior. This involves digging out the foundation from the outside and installing a new drainage system on the outside of your foundation walls.

This process works -- for a while. These systems are impossible to service without excavating again, and they will eventually clog with dirt and roots.

Exterior excavation is a time-consuming process that costs about twice as much as waterproofing from the interior. During the excavation, your landscaping, porches, and walkways around the home will need to be removed.

More about Exterior Vs. Interior Waterproofing


a basement drain designed with a large open gap along the edges.

Don't Leave An Open Gap On The Floor

Many basement waterproofing systems -- especially the old-fashioned ones designed with plastic piping -- are installed along the interior walls, with a large exposed gap. These gaps are meant to allow the system to collect water leaking off the walls.

Unfortunately, these gaps will also collect dirt and debris off your basement floor, leading to a clogged system. The open gaps will also release odors and humidity in the basement, and will be an ugly eyesore.

Our drain system includes a 3/8" wall flange that extends up above the floor, collecting water from the walls. Our wall products can be tucked neatly into it, it won't collect debris, and it has a neat, professional appearance.

More about our Basement Drainage Systems


An ugly sump pump system flooded with water and looking disgusting.

Don't Compromise Quality

As with any home improvement solution, some basement waterproofing solutions are much better than others. When choosing what will be protecting your home from floods, make sure that your solution is a high-quality option that won't fail when you need it most.

To ensure your sump pump system will not overheat, we recommend a submersible system that will naturally be cooled by the water around it as it pumps. The pump should be designed with cast-iron, which can better transfer heat away from your pump.

Your pump should also include an airtight lid to keep back humidity and odors, as well as a sump pump alarm, which will alert you in case of a system failure.


A sump pump can be seen underneath several inches of muddy, dirty water.

Don't Install Just One Pump

Like all appliances in your home that contain moving parts, a sump pump will eventually cease to operate over time. Likewise, if your sump pump relies on electricity, a power outage can cause your system to cease functioning.

Basement Systems dealers highly recommend a three-pump system for keeping your basement dry. This would include a primary sump pump for normal operation, a backup sump pump, and a battery backup system.

This will give you a second line of defense for all major sump pump issues, including burnout, clogged systems, blown fuses, power outages, and overwhelming waters during torrential rainfalls.


A basement ventilation system ejecting conditioned air from a basement.

Don't Ventilate Your Basement

There is no way to ventilate your basement that will benefit your home.

If you're venting air into the basement, what kind of air are you venting? Cold winter air will be expensive to condition. The hot, humid are if summer will only become more humid in your cold basement. And what kind of air are you venting your home with during foggy, rainy, or damp weather?

If you're venting our out of the basement, remember that you've paid good money to condition that air -- that money is literally going out the window! And as you're sending this air out of the home, isn't new air from the outside replacing it?

More about Basement Ventilation


A dehumidifier sitting on two coffee cans, with a mud stain a third of the way up the system from floodwaters.

Don't Count On Just A Dehumidifier

Some homeowners will try to address moisture in their basement by installing a hardware store dehumidifier in their home. These dehumidifiers usually cost a couple hundred dollars and are usually kept running continuously all summer long.

If the dehumidifier is not self-draining, its collection will fill in about 12 hours, after which it will shut off. Unless the homeowner replaces the tray twice a day, they system is not operating.

These systems are not powerful enough to circulate are, and they usually don't remove enough water to deter mold growth. This is not the solution you need!

More About Basement Dehumidifiers

We Provide Professional Waterproofing Services In Your Area!

The Basement Systems network of contractors have the experience, training, and patented products you need to ensure a reliably dry basement. Our warrantied solutions are just what you need to reclaim your basement as usable space.

If you'd like to know more about what we can do for your home, contact us today for a free basement waterproofing estimates. Our free estimates include an on-site inspection of your problem, a personal consultation in which we answer any questions you may have, and a written cost estimate. We'll also send you a full-color complimentary copy of our 88-page waterproofing book.

To schedule your free appointment, call or e-mail us today!

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Quality, Innovation, Patents, Awards

Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.

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