Basement Waterproofing: What Is Negative Waterproofing?

When water is allowed to seeped into your basement, you will be dealing with a potentially dangerous and uncomfortable situation. Left untreated, even small amounts of moisture will allow corrosive minerals to damage the integrity of your basement walls and mold to create potentially dangerous respiratory conditions. Although the preferred method for stopping this damaging moisture to fortify your wall from the outside, this process can involve hundreds of man hours or access to heavy machinery.

Fortunately, negative waterproofing allows you waterproof your basement from the inside with very little equipment or expertise.

Locate, Dry, and Map the Leaks

Waterproofing your entire basement is often unnecessary and not cost effective. A targeted approach, designed to stop moisture from flowing specifically where it's flowing into your basement can be just as effective as waterproofing the entire space.

Locate: to target your waterproofing, you will need start by locating the damp areas in your basement. The most common locations where water enters basements include:

  • corners: particularly the lower corners.
  • below declivities: if you notice that the ground slopes outside your basement you are more likely to see water pool at these low points.
  • shaded locations: the side of your home that receives the least amount of sunshine, particularly if you live in a climate where snow/ice can accumulate during winter

Dry: once you target specific areas on your basement walls, you will need to dry the walls to see exactly where the moisture collects and spreads. To accomplish this task, you will need to dry the basement walls and wait for a moisture pattern to emerge. The two most common drying methods include one very low tech approach and one that will likely require renting equipment.

  • hair dryer: for smaller basements, using a small hair dryer can be suitably effective for drying damp basement walls. Set the hair dryer on its highest setting and direct the hot air on the damp surface until the wall looks similar to the surrounding surfaces.
  • industrial dehumidifier: these industrial fans essential suck moisture out of the air. If you choose to rent one of these industrial devices you will likely need 24 to 48 hours to complete dry the space so that damp walls completely dry out.

Map: now that you've dried your basement walls, you have the opportunity to map the moisture pattern on your basement walls. There are two steps to take when mapping this emerging moisture pattern.

  • photograph: taking a pictures of the basement walls every few hours can allow you to track specifically where the water is pooling and spreading. When taking these photos, it helps to give each location a letter or number to help you cross reference the photographic evidence as you collect it.

  • mark: since you will eventually cover any damp areas on your basement walls, you can use a permanent marker or spray paint to mark the moisture pattern as it manifests on your basement walls.

Negative Sealing

Once you've located, dried, and mapped the moisture patterns on your basement walls, you're ready to negatively seal them. You simply need to apply negative sealing waterproofing product to the damp areas you marked and photographed in the aforementioned steps.

  • negative sealing products: be sure to use a negative sealing product that's specifically designed to seal the material that your basement wall has been fabricated from. These are clearly noted on the negative sealing product, but it's important to double-check before applying the product to your basement walls.
  • multiple coats: negative sealing typically requires multiple coats. Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

To learn more about basement waterproofing, contact local contractors who can help immediately.


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