# How to protect your foundation from water: 8 steps

Most homes have a plinth so important for its precious free space. However, in older homes, basements are usually damp and sticky and not suitable for a new bedroom or lounge. Before converting the plinth to anything, you need to solve the problem with dampness.

## Steps

#### Step 1. Calculate the perimeter of your house

You should check that the soil near the foundation seems to move away from it, and not roll onto the foundation. The ground around the foundation sinks and moisture is absorbed more there, which forms a tilt towards your home. If necessary, fill up the earth to make a mound of at least 6 cm near the foundation. Make sure that the upper boundary of the earth is at least 16 cm below the threshold so that the earth does not touch the building materials of the house, as they may begin to rot over time.

#### Step 2. Make sure that the water from the drainpipes drains at least 1.5 meters from the foundation, otherwise you will have problems

Check that the gutters are clean and that they drain water from the foundation at least one and a half meters.

#### Step 3. Make sure that bushes and other plants do not grow too close to the foundation

Decaying roots can pave a way down for water on the surface. To prevent water from getting to the foundation, you need to make sure that the plants grow at a small elevation, at a distance of at least 35 cm from the foundation.

#### Step 4. In key areas where water is leaking, try covering the walls with a sealant such as Drylok or Xypex

Drylok is a waterproofing agent that does not allow water to pass through. When the product dries, it expands and becomes part of the wall. Xypex is more like a waterproof cement that adheres immediately to the wall surface. Xypex needs moisture to form its waterproof crystal structure. If there are places in the Xypex layer where water leaks a little, the water will crystallize on its own and close these channels. Xypex is also 2-4 times more expensive than Drylok. The problem with this solution is that the water that forms at the foundation and under the walls will be under high groundwater pressure.

#### Step 5. Seal cracks in concrete walls and where pipes pass and tie bolts

If you see a crack in the concrete, it is most likely going through the entire wall and is a potential source of water. For filling cracks in masonry, the fast-setting DRYLOK agent is very effective, provided that there are no temperature changes and structural fluctuations. Another surefire way to repair cracks in a wall is to fill it with epoxy glue, which will fill the entire crack and hold the edges together. In general, it is best to hire an experienced crack repair technician for this job. At home, you can make epoxy and polyurethane mixtures, but they will be less reliable.

#### Step 6. Consider digging a sinkhole

This is a well in the floor of the foundation, equipped with a pump. When the water in the well reaches a certain level, a pump starts to work, which pumps out water from the well and pours it out 3 or more meters from the foundation. Equipping a well requires a mixture of experience and skill as you will be using a jackhammer or some other tool to dig a well in a concrete foundation. You will also need to line the well, connect the pump and lead the pipe out from it.

#### Step 7. In case of serious drainage problems, try French drainage (or perimeter drainage)

French drainage consists of long pipes that run below the floor around the perimeter of the entire foundation. Installing a French drain is similar to installing a drainage channel with the only difference that you need to dig a trench around the perimeter of the building, about 30 cm deep and fill the pipe in it with coarse gravel, and then fill everything with concrete. For French drainage, a drainage channel and a pump are required to pump out the water that enters the drainage system.

#### Step 8. Take out the devices that will apply the hydro-glue to the foundation

Hydroclay is a waterproof version of bentonite clay that is known for its ability to absorb large amounts of water. Usually glue is applied from the outside, it fills all the voids and paths along which water comes to the foundation. The glue seals the foundation temporarily. The same glue is used in waterproof tunnels, wells, drains, courtyard fountains, elevator wells, etc.

• Before embarking on a serious foundation remodeling project, take a look at what happens to it during heavy rain. If it can withstand the vagaries of the weather all year long without leaks, most likely it will not let you down in the future (as long as you keep the gutters clean and take care of the foundation!).
• Be aware that when water seeps over the concrete, salt and limestone deposits (white streaks) form on the concrete. Before using any of the sealants, these streaks MUST be removed. This is the most common reason for poor wall tightness. To remove stains, you need to pour hydrochloric acid on the wall and scrape. Sprinkle a little water on the wall with hoses, then wipe the water off the floor. This usually needs to be repeated several times. You will see how hydrochloric acid reacts with deposits on the wall.
• When installing a sewage pump, make sure you follow local water and sewage regulations. Most installations require a non-return valve to prevent water from entering the drain through the inlet.
• Follow the relevant instructions depending on the type of water protection you have chosen. Usually problems with the Xypex tool arise due to the fact that all the rules were not followed and the workers were not competent enough to do everything right. The Xypex coating is made up of two layers, with a second thin layer of different cheaper mixes. Many workers are trying to reduce the cost of Xypex and Drylok by applying only the final coat.

### When breaking up concrete, place plastic wrap on the floor so that nothing gets on it

• It is important to cover the house with a protective film during construction work. Old stocks of plastic wrap and styrofoam sheets work well for protection. This layer is often destroyed by the primer and water begins to get there. This sealing method no longer meets international building codes, as well as many state, city and country building codes. DRYLOK manufacturers recommend covering the outer part of the foundation with DRYLOK masonry sealant. Remember, a sealant is just a coating. Before filling the foundation, cover the surface with a protective film so as not to damage it with stones and tools.
• Battery powered pumps are now available for pumping water. Look for the pump "basement watchdog." This is a great pump that pumps out water well and has an extra pump in case the power goes out or the main pump fails.

## Warnings

• Mold can be a serious health hazard. You need to keep your foundation dry with desiccants.
• If waterproof paint does not work, then you need to first drain the water that is pressing on the walls from the outside. Then you can install the drainage systems described above without touching the basement room.
• When breaking concrete, always wear safety goggles, face mask or respirator.