Waterproof Basement Paint

Many homeowners are uncertain as to whether or not they should put waterproof paint in the basement of their homes.  The basement is a multi-faceted room that can be used for extra living space or as storage space for items that are out of season or use.  It is essential for the basement to remain dry.  For this very reason, basements are often not included in the total taxable square footage for a home.  With the current conditions, many homeowners are looking for ways to maximize their home’s space usage, and the basement is a great option that has a lot to offer.  

You walk down the stairs after a heavy rainstorm only to find water everywhere.  It is one of the most exasperating experiences that a homeowner can encounter.  You can prevent this from happening simply by waterproofing with specialized paint.  If you are uncertain if your basement really needs waterproofing, check first for signs of moisture.  

There are several moisture indicators that will make it absolutely necessary for you to use waterproof paint in your basement.  First, check for dampness in the lower half of the basement walls.  You should also look for sign of mold or mildew, which will also have a musty smell when present.  Moisture also loosens adhesives and you should also check for peeling paint or loose floor tiles.  Excess water causes drywall and wood to rot and become discolored.  Because water is corrosive, you want to finally check for rust on metal fixtures in the basement.  If you find any of these signs of moisture, you should not hesitate to begin waterproofing your basement.  

The most important factor in waterproofing your basement is to use a quality waterproof paint.  Still, you want to be cautious because even the best paint may fail to block moisture if you walls are not in the best condition.  You will need to brush away loose mortar and broken block off of the walls.  Make sure that you clean the walls by removing dirt, grease, dust and other surface contaminants.  You may have to remove any old paint and patch up cracks, holes, and floor-to-wall joints.  

It is essential that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  The most common error that many homeowners make is to fail to apply the waterproof paint at the correct spread-rate that is specified by the manufacturer.  A coating that is two thin will not block water seepage.  If you have an extreme case of moisture in your basement, you may need to apply a second coat.  

Many people are often confused by the terms waterproof and water-repellent, as some paint manufacturers use them interchangeably.  They do not mean the same thing.  Water-repellent paint is an exterior coating that is used for above ground concrete or masonry.  It temporarily repels water, but is not supposed to prevent the passage of moisture under hydrostatic pressure.  Hydrostatic pressure occurs when there is an increasing weight of fluid exerting pressure from above.

On the other hand, waterproof paints are intended to prevent the passage of water under hydrostatic pressure. These film-forming coatings are designed for above and below ground level and can be used for both exterior and interior surfaces.  

Hydrostatic pressure is often caused by several conditions. The most common causes are a high water table, faulty gutter systems and rain runoff that flows toward your home.  Wind-driven rain is most likely to affect the exterior walls of your home.

At times, interior condensation can be mistaken for seepage due to hydrostatic pressure. To tell the difference between the two, tape a piece of aluminum foil to an inside foundation wall.  After several days, remove the foil.  If the wall side is wet, you have a water seepage problem.  If the room side is wet, condensation is the problem.  It is possible to have both problems at the same time, if both sides of the foil are wet.

A dehumidifier can solve the condensation problem, but a quality waterproofing paint system is necessary to stop the seepage. Remember that not all coatings are intended for waterproofing. Most acrylic latex paints, for instance, are not formulated for this job.  Be sure to check with your local paint or hardware store to find the best quality waterproof paint for your basement.  

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