What is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Waterproofing?

When discussing exterior or interior waterproofing for your basement it is hard to decipher which one to choose. 

There are two schools of thought about keeping water out of a basement. One viewpoint believes in stopping it at the source. The other lets it in and manages the water to move it away from your basement.

To put it simply, your first choice is to always fix it from the exterior. If that’s not possible due to various reasons (other homes will be affected, inaccessible areas, etc), then an interior waterproofing solution will need to be implemented.

Waterproofing Defined

“Waterproofing” is the act of making something impervious to water. 

Waterproofing Basements

Waterproofing basements are about denying water access. The process involves:

  1. Putting catchment drains on the exterior of the basement at floor level to lead water filtering down away.

  2. Treating the outside of the walls with a waterproofing compound or membrane

  3. Backfilling the space outside the basement with quality soil, not builder’s rubble

  4. Hard-surfacing the result and making sure water can’t pool on it.

What Doesn’t Work

Correctly excavating and fixing leaking basements takes time. So the Exterior Waterproofing (waterproofing from the outside) is definitely a good investment. Some Homeowners prefer to try to skirt the issue by getting interior waterproofing. It is important to note that not all water issues can be fixed permanently through interior waterproofing.

Applying some sealant on your basement wall will not hold up in the long run, especially when water (under pressure) is pushing through the cracks and seals in your wall. Interior waterproofing may be able to manage the flow of water once it’s inside the basement, but that’s not waterproofing, it’s water management.

For Small Leaks 

For very minor leaks and cracks, an interior solution will work more often than not, especially if the exterior fix is not an option. The important thing to know is that the water trying to make its way into your basement creates hydrostatic pressure, and is constantly trying to push its way through any crack or pore it can get into.

Another Option

A great alternative if exterior waterproofing is not safe or financially feasible is the installation of weeping tiles and a sump pump. This method involves cutting out a perimeter drain in the basement floor and using this to lead the water to a deeper point called a sump.

At this point, you install a submersible pump to remove the water from the home. All water moving forward is then directed to the outside and away from the house.

About Nusite

Nusite Contractors Ltd. has been proudly serving GTA homeowners for over 30 years! We are a family business and take pride in customer service and professional work. You can contact us here to schedule a free consultation and written estimate! We would be happy to help!

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