When the basement gets damp or starts leaking, we seem to always want the cheapest, fastest, and most convenient fix. DIY wall sealants easily come into mind. You can walk into your local hardware store and get one for a couple of dollars, apply it within minutes, and walk away smiling that your walls no longer leak.
Step back and reconsider your decision or you could pay the price for acting in haste. In this post, we’ll show you why using DIY sealants is a bad idea. We’ll also show you the best way to approach leaking basement walls.
Can I Depend on Sealants?
Sealants are only as good as their last application. Many people think because they’re fast-acting, they’re long-lasting. When hydrostatic pressure starts building up or soil shift occurs, the crack will re-open.
Efflorescence and moisture may build up and break the sealant. Water will get into your basement and continue its destructive work.
Instead of using low-cost sealants, use other waterproofing techniques that address the issue from the root. But first, get a basement contractor to inspect the crack and advise you on the way forward. They’ll make recommendations that can solve your leakage completely. You won’t get far with DIY waterproofing, and you’ll see why in the next section.
Disadvantages of Wall Sealants
The major downside of wall sealants is they won’t actually solve your water leakage problem. A few months down the road, the sealants weaken, cracks open, and your basement starts leaking again. That’s a common script for many people. So, you’ll be basically firefighting until you acknowledge the real cause of moisture lies elsewhere.
Some of the products are definitely not worth their price. The water pressure beneath the foundation is strong enough to force a considerable amount of water through tiny gaps. If the sealant is applied from the inside, water will either go around it or pop it out. If you settle for a substandard product, you could end up wasting money for nothing. Your damp basement will still persist, and you’ll have to look for a viable solution, which means spending even more money.
Another downside is that containment is likely to be a problem. You’ll have to wait for a couple of hours. Plus, there’s the likelihood the waterproofing sheet has air gaps or the soil is badly compacted, in which case the epoxy will just flow to the soil. In other words, bleeding will cause your crack injection to fail.
Perhaps you didn’t know this, but wall sealants are somewhat inflexible. What this means is they won’t accommodate crack movements due to shifting soils or hydrostatic pressure. Both can tear the area around the cracks and create a new avenue for water.
Toxic fumes are another drawback to using basement wall sealants. If your basement is poorly ventilated, you could inhale the toxic fumes and start feeling drowsy. You have to take extra care when applying, and this means getting a respirator or opening basement windows to let in fresh air.
Why Hire a Basement Contractor?
When it comes to resolving leaky basement walls, your best option is hiring a contractor. They’ll do an inspection and tell you what’s wrong, where the problem is, and what you can do to fix it, so they take out the guesswork.
Until you tear up a basement floor and install an interior drainage system, you might not know how much work goes into keeping the basement dry. Installing the BasementGutter™ interior drainage system is not your typical DIY project. It requires an experienced basement contractor who knows how to install drain tiles and lay out the drainpipes.
Let’s say you apply the sealant and the leak continues. What happens? You’ll get frustrated and maybe even give up. You’ll have wasted your time and money. Leave it to the professionals to diagnose the problem and offer a solution that lasts.
Where excavation is involved, the professional basement contractor will handle without disrupting your life or inconveniencing you. They’ll finish the waterproofing in a couple of hours and leave you with a clean, dry basement.
If you’re struggling to seal a leaking basement using a sealant, get in touch with the basement waterproofing experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free inspection and quote. We’ll look at your basement and tell you straight up what’s wrong, then apply the best fix.