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Exterior vs Interior Basement Waterproofing – How to Choose

If you have a wet basement or have experienced a flooded basement, you may be looking at your options. That’s smart. Professional basement waterproofing is a long-term solution to your water intrusion problems. But which is better for your home? Exterior or interior basement waterproofing? It depends. Full disclosure: We’re primarily an interior basement waterproofing company. In our experience, most homes in the Mid-Atlantic region will have a wet basement within 10 years after being built without a professionally installed interior water pressure relief system.

Let’s take a look at each type of system.

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

If you’re building a new home in the Mid-Atlantic region, it makes sense to include basement waterproofing in your budget. Exterior basement waterproofing is easily done during the construction phase.  This is commonly called “damp-proofing” and it gets the builder past the two-year foundation seepage warranty they generally provide on a new home.

An exterior system can also be installed around an existing home, but it involves tearing up your landscaping and potentially your patio. This is necessary to excavate around your home’s foundation in order to put in an exterior footer drain next to your footings that can hopefully be daylight somewhere on your property. (This is not always the case.) During this process, a waterproof coating or membrane is adhered to the wall as well to prevent wall seepage.  This is always quite costly. 

An exterior French drain can also clog relatively easily, causing water to back up into your basement, which defeats the whole purpose.  Machinery, vegetation, rodents, etc… often fowl up the flow of the drainage causing the water to build up next to the home and make its way into the foundation.

Interior Basement Waterproofing

For an existing home, we have proven that interior basement waterproofing is the more cost-effective and long-term solution. Keep in mind that waterproofing technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years, so even if your older home has some sort of system, it may not hold up to the increasingly heavy rains we are getting.

With interior waterproofing, you still get the footer drain around the interior perimeter. This involves using jackhammers to remove a portion of the concrete floor around the exterior walls. Once the drain system is installed, we pour new concrete to cover the drainage.  

Because the French drain system is next to the footers, below the floor, and inside your home away from mother nature’s hindrance, a clog is much less likely. You may also have weep holes and convection ports drilled into the walls to keep water from saturating the concrete.  In addition, this interior footer drain manages hydrostatic pressure pushing up underneath your slab during extreme prolonged precipitation.  Footer drains installed on the exterior of the home have no way of managing this under the slab hydrostatic water pressure.

The drainage system will connect to one or more sump pumps, which will pump water up and out of your basement before it causes damage. We do recommend getting a battery backup pump so that you’re as protected as you can be during a primary pump failure or if the power should go out.

RELATED READING

Why You Need a Battery Backup Sump Pump

Choosing Between Basement Waterproofing Companies

Because of the nature of the soil and water tables in the Mid-Atlantic area, basement waterproofing is a booming business. So, how do you choose between basement waterproofing companies?

As with any contractor, there are several things you can do to find the company that’s right for you. That includes:

  • Ask neighbors, friends, and family who they used and who to avoid.
  • Read Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and check their rating with the Better Business Bureau. (BBB)
  • Look for a company that has been in business for more than 10 years.
  • Make sure the company is licensed and insured.
  • Make sure you thoroughly understand their warranty and check their service capabilities.  Do they even have their own trucks, building, warehouse, personnel, to service their customer base during a major rain event?

Once you’ve narrowed it down to 2 or 3 companies, have them come out to give you a quote, and then decide which company offers the best price, financing, and warranties/service. Keep in mind, a lowball price is not always a good thing, because you get what you pay for.  Sump pumps break and you want to be sure you are working with a company that can service their customer base and stands behind their warranties.

RELATED READING:

How to Choose a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

Schedule a FREE Basement Inspection

At Value Dry Waterproofing, we specialize in interior basement waterproofing. We work with homeowners in Maryland, Delaware, and northern Virginia. Visit our Service Areas page to see if we serve your area. We offer FREE basement inspections to homeowners.

Our trusted inspectors will document what they found, and we will present you with custom solutions to your water intrusion problems.  Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped tens of thousands of homeowners like you. Schedule your inspection today to take the first step towards a dry basement.

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