At first glance, do-it-yourself basement waterproofing looks straightforward. And in theory, doing the work yourself should be cheaper than hiring a professional. That’s why some Baltimore-area homeowners are tempted to go this route.
However, in many cases, DIY home waterproofing is a mistake. Consider the most common errors do-it-yourselfers make and why DIY waterproofing can cost you more in the long run. Once you recognize the pitfalls of trying to waterproof your basement without help, you’ll understand why it’s better to leave it to a professional.
Common DIY Basement Waterproofing Mistakes
Waterproofing your basement or crawls space may not sound hard, but homeowners often make mistakes when attempting the job without any training or experience. Here’s what can go awry during DIY basement waterproofing:
- Failing to find where the water is coming from: Concrete basement walls are porous, so streaks of wetness may appear anywhere along the wall. To the untrained eye, it can be hard to tell where the water is originating. Even if you identify one of the underlying issues, other factors could contribute to your wet basement without your knowledge.
- Repairing cracks with standing water present: It’s important to dry the structure before fixing cracked basement walls and floors. If you seal cracks with water underfoot, you could end up making the problem worse.
- Neglecting leaky window wells: This feature found in many homes can become problematic if the drainage system on your property is installed poorly. Left unchecked, water could pool in the window well and seep into the basement every time it rains, despite your other waterproofing efforts.
- Using the wrong waterproofing materials: It’s tempting to buy cheap solutions, but commercial-grade materials are necessary for a job well done. For instance, the most commonly recommended concrete crack sealer is hydraulic cement, which contains additives that make it expand and set rapidly when mixed with water. If you don’t get the right consistency or apply the cement incorrectly, the cracks won’t seal well.
The True Costs of DIY Basement Waterproofing
If you make any of the mistakes highlighted above, here are the consequences you may face:
- Subpar results: Any do-it-yourself job can fall short. You might use the wrong tools, attempt an improper repair, or install products incorrectly. Despite your best efforts, you could be left with a poorly waterproofed basement that still leaks and causes problems. You might even make things worse or create a safety hazard if you go about it the wrong way.
- Wasted time and money: All the time you spend looking up how-to videos, shopping for supplies, and trying to waterproof your basement could be a waste. After all, you’ll likely end up hiring a professional to fix your mistakes, costing you more in the end than if you had left it to a professional in the first place.
- Worsened underlying problem: Implementing a DIY fix may conceal the actual problem. For instance, if you fill cracks in the basement floor without investigating your foundation, you could be bandaging a point of structural instability that will only worsen over time. In the best-case scenario, you’ll discover the problem before it’s too late, but the repair costs will be higher by then. And the worst-case scenario is that the undiagnosed issue will cause a dangerous collapse or foundational shift, putting your family at risk.
- Accidents and injuries: Without the proper tools, techniques, and gear, you could hurt yourself attempting to waterproof your basement. This is especially true if you dig a trench around your foundation without proper shoring, which increases the risk of a cave-in. The cost and downtime of recovering from an injury are not worth it.
Approved DIY Tips to Waterproof Your Home
Fixing basement cracks and attempting to waterproof the space yourself is ill-advised. Still, there are plenty of other DIY home waterproofing tasks you can do to reduce the risk of a wet basement. Here’s what we recommend:
- Clean your gutters: Proper roof drainage is a significant part of protecting your home from water infiltration. Clean your gutters at least twice a year to help rainwater drain properly. Also, extend your downspouts at least six feet from the foundation to help prevent over-saturating the soil around the foundation.
- Landscape your yard intentionally: Excessive soil dampness and erosion are problems that can lead to a wet basement. Control moisture levels and prevent erosion with trees, shrubs, and other plants on your property. The deep, complex root systems of larger plants help stabilize the soil and improve drainage.
- Keep your sump pump and dehumidifier in good repair: If you already have a sump pump and dehumidifier, you’re well on your way to keeping the basement dry. However, these appliances require some attention to remain in good condition. You can test them yourself to make sure they’re working right, but you should also schedule maintenance once a year to prevent problems before they start.
Professional Basement Waterproofing in Frederick & Montgomery County
Waterproofing specialists draw on years of experience to ensure a job well done. Unlike the average homeowner, they have an arsenal of tools and training to help them diagnose and repair wet basements. If you hire a professional to waterproof your basement from the get-go, you’ll save time, money, and hassle in the long run.
The team at Budget Waterproofing is ready to lend a hand. We have over 30 years of experience waterproofing basements and crawl spaces in Maryland. Our technicians employ a combination of techniques to extract the existing moisture and prevent future water infiltration. To request a basement waterproofing estimate, please contact us today at (410) 609-1240.