The Case Against Basement Waterproofing Products Like Paint and Sealers

With snow melt and heavy rains in the winter months, many homeowners in Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware start to see water seeping into their basements through their foundation. The water may be coming up through the floor or you may notice damp or leaking basement walls. If you have a finished basement, you may not notice these issues until you have a wet carpet or notice mold and mildew forming on the lower finished walls or baseboards.


A telltale sign of water seeping into your basement’s concrete walls is the appearance of efflorescence. You’re more likely to see this in an unfinished part of your basement, such as the room where your furnace and other utilities are located. Efflorescence is a chalky white material that can build up on your basement walls.

The substance itself isn’t dangerous, but it is something to pay attention to. It is the residue of dissolved salts left on the surface of a porous material (such as concrete) after the water transporting those salts has evaporated.  Efflorescence most often results from groundwater seeping into the basement foundation walls. If you don’t address the water intrusion problem, your basement walls can eventually crack or buckle.

Waterproof Paint and Wall Sealants

For most of us, our first instinct when there is a problem is to turn to Google. We ‘Google’ the issue to see if there is an easy and cheap solution to our problems. In the case of a damp basement and efflorescence, a lot of people will search for “wet basement” or “basement waterproofing products.”

Some of those search results will include paints and sealants for sale. The manufacturer will boast that their products create a watertight seal so that you won’t have any water intrusion, mold, or mildew growth. However, over the years, we have seen these products fail again and again.

Putting a sealant on the interior wall does not stop water from seeping into the wall from below and from the other side. Over time, that water will evaporate causing efflorescence to build up behind the sealant and eventually causing it to crack and peel. And of course, once the moisture level rises and this paint or sealant has failed, your foundation will leak.

These products are, at best, a temporary fix.  Think of them as a painted-on pool liner, the process was used prior to plastic pool liners became the norm.  During that era, some may remember going to a closed pool as kids because the pool leaked and had to be fixed.  If paint can’t keep water in a pool, how is it going to keep it out of your home?  The hydrostatic pressure on your foundation is certainly higher than the pressure put on the walls of most pools.

Basement Waterproofing is a Permanent Solution

Professional basement waterproofing offers a more permanent fix. The water is still there in the soil outside your foundation walls and looking for a place to go. Waterproofing your basement manages water intrusion by directing the water into an interior French drain or subfloor pressure relief system, which then sends the water into a sump pump pit. Once the sump pump detects enough water in the pit, it cycles on and expels the water to the outside and away from your foundation.  Basement waterproofing companies are actually water management companies.  We have to accept that water is going to come in, much like dam builder accepts that a dam IS going to leak, so we must install systems to manage the water and give it a place to go.

A sump pump will kick on as often as it’s needed. If you live in an area with a water table that is frequently high, your sump pump(s) may run more frequently than your friend’s pump in a different area.  If your home was built where there was a stream or spring prior to community excavation, your sump pump may run more than your neighbors across the street.

The Basement Waterproofing Process

There are several steps involved in basement waterproofing, after the initial inspection. They include:

  1. Jackhammering and breaking up/removing the concrete slab around the outside perimeter of the basement floors.
  2. Drilling weep holes into the block walls beneath the surface to allow water accumulating in the walls to drain.
  3. Digging out and grading the trench so that the drainage system trench slopes toward where the sump pump(s) will be located.
  4. Installing new sump pumps and sump pump wells as needed.
  5. Placing the French drain perforated piping in the trench on top of a thin layer of gravel.
  6. Connecting the piping to the sump pump basin(s).
  7. Filling the trench with gravel surround, and top with appropriate flashing.
  8. Sealing the trench with new cement.

As you can see, true basement waterproofing is a job for professionals. It’s a lot more involved than slapping on a coat of sealant.

Schedule a FREE Basement Inspection

If you’ve noticed efflorescence in your basement or had water coming up through the floor wall going or the floor, don’t delay. Schedule a free basement inspection so we can help you get to the root of the problem. Certainly, don’t remodel your basement if you see any evidence of water intrusion!  Basement waterproofing is a long-term solution for water intrusion. It is not a cosmetic fix — as a result, it will be more expensive than slapping a coat of sealer on.  But, slapping on some sealer and remodeling your basement only to tear that all out and do it the right way will be even more expensive than calling Value Dry Waterproofing the first time!

Our Experience

We have been in this business for more than 20 years. During that time, we have developed a reputation of honesty and quality workmanship. When we perform your basement waterproofing inspection, we want you and any other responsible parties to be right at the inspector’s side. We want you to be fully informed about what we find, and what it means as far as the extent of water intrusion into your home.

Our Process

We will then develop a plan together based on the size of your basement and the severity of the water issues and your future plans for the basement and home. We offer financing which includes zero payments and no insurance for 12 months. We understand that money can be tight, but we also know protecting the structural integrity of your home is critical.

While we can’t control the weather, we can assure you that with our basement waterproofing, we will manage the water pressures your home is experiencing. By installing an interior sub floor pressure relief system and installing one or more sump pumps, we will manage the water in a way that helps protect your foundation, your finishings,  and your personal belongings.

As part of any basement waterproofing plan, we will highly encourage that you install a battery backup sump pump. This will help keep water pumping out and away from your basement if the power should go out.  We also always recommend that you install an EZ-Breathe ventilation device.  In face we earned the EZ-Breathe distributor of the year accolade again in 2021!

Fill out the contact form to schedule a free inspection or call us at (888) 768-2583.


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