Basement Waterproofing

Before you do anything with your basement you must make it water resistant. Neglecting basement waterproofing can result in discomfort when entering the room. It can also damage insulation and rot drywall structures. Since it is rather easy to do even if you are not a professional, it makes sense to take care of this project in your house.

Basement waterproofing cost can greatly depend on the main cause of the problem. There are many different things that can lead to unwanted moisture, and the only sure way to find out which one is the problem is to go through all the possibilities and see if they need to be fixed.

Lack of gutters can aim rain water right down the walls and around the concrete base. Sooner or later water will leak through hairline cracks and concrete pores in your foundation. Both can be easily fixed if you notice that this is the case. First of all, cut the problem at the root and install a gutter in a fashion that it guides rain off the roof at least five feet away from your walls. When it’s done you can continue with the rest of the symptoms and small factors, like cracks.

Wrong sloping of the terrain causes water to run to the walls at ground level instead of flowing away from it. If this is the case make sure you install proper drainage so that the cause of the problem can be fixed. There is no amount of basement waterproofing paint that holds off water if the design is fundamentally wrong.

Water can come up from the ground through pores as well, and all it takes is poorly sealed concrete floors and damp soil to be under it. You can easily test it by taping a small piece of plastic off a plastic bag on the ground and leaving it for a few days. Any water on top is going to be the result of humidity, which can be fixed through ventilation, but any water under the bag will be the result of water coming up from the ground. Paints and other basement waterproofing materials can be implemented to fight this problem and proper drainage also makes it to be less severe. You always want to waterproof the concrete floor first before installing any other kind of basement flooring.

Once you find out the true cause of water getting into the basement, you can start fixing these problems. Get some shoveling done so that rain runs away from the base of your house and install gutters. Find cracks on the wall, floor and ceiling and properly take care of them. If there is a small crack, even a hairline crack, chisel it to about 1/2 deep and fill it with concrete patching materials. Any cracks on the floor are to be treated the same way with the added difference of using real concrete to fill the holes.

Use additional waterproof paint before you do anything else with your walls. There are products that can be mixed with water and painted on the walls and then they penetrate the surface up to a 1/16-1/8″ deep. Repeating the process makes sure that the pores are properly filled and water doesn’t interfere with whatever you had in mind for your basement remodeling project.

Basement Insulation

When doing a basement remodeling project in your home you will face the problem of old and deteriorated or completely missing basement insulation. You will need to get it replaced with modern materials and properly installed sheets so that you can enjoy the comfort of a well done insulation.

In North America, insulation used against heat leaks is important for many reasons. If you properly install insulation in your home you will notice considerably lower heating bills and a warmer feel to your feet on the lower levels of the building. Rooms will be colder during the summer and warmer during winter, and the basement space will be much more comfortable to stay in. If you have a specific purpose for it you may find this process mandatory to go through.

In old buildings, basement insulation options are rarely put into practice. In most cases it is either in very bad condition or totally missing, letting heat and moist air flow freely. Both are disastrous for a well designed room, and considering how easy it is to avoid, there is no reason to spend another year before finally getting it done. Drywall walls are easy to install, but without proper basement insulation systems they are as good as non-existent.

You can either use fiberglass or polystyrene foam sheets, both coming with their good and bad points. Fiberglass is easy to work with and gives really good heat resistance figures. Installed properly it stops heat flow and with an additional layer of vapor barrier it can be used for all surfaces of the room, including walls, ceiling and floors. On the other hand fiberglass is still suspected to be carcinogenic, not unlike asbestos. While asbestos is now banned fiberglass is a similarly structured material with similar attributes. It is still not proven to be either dangerous or safe, but due to a more organized structure it is known to have less risk involved.

While working with this material always make sure you use goggles, a good quality face mask, and long sleeve clothes. A full body chemical suit is advised because many people report to suffer severe itching after having worked with the material.

Polystyrene foam basement insulation is also easy to work with, and is easy to get but comes with its own problems. The material may contain the carcinogen benzene or other manufacturing residues, which are to be avoided. It is a highly effective material for low temperature insulation, but due to its highly flammable nature fire regulations apply. It can’t be exposed to heat sources directly, which means you have to work around wires and hot water pipes. It also has to be hidden behind a drywall or made flame retardant.

In addition the insulation sheets, there are also spray foam insulation products that are often recommended for outside walls because they provide better coverage and a more complete insulation layer. They are also good for filling in small spaces around openings like those created for basement windows.

Whatever the type of insulation you happen to choose for your home you will have to use some sort of humidity barrier. It comes in the forms of polyethylene sheets and can be easily stapled to the insulation material. As an additional step you can use tape to cover the staple holes so that the room becomes heat and water tight. It eliminates the problem of unwanted moisture, mold and mildew, but most importantly lowers your heating bill by letting you heat your rooms using less energy. It also results in warmer floors on the level above the basement.

Basement Flooring

The purpose of the basement you are remodeling is the most important factor when you are trying to find out which basement flooring material you are going to have to use. Your options are several but the best fits of some show themselves after only a few minutes spent on going through your ideas.

Many flooring materials are non-insulating. For rooms you want to use for extended periods of time a solution that lets heat slip out is not appropriate. Painted concrete is perfect for storing cans of paint and some garden tools, but there is no good reason for skipping more comfortable ways of doing it if you are going to use the room yourself.

Rubber sheets are the best alternative to sheer concrete if you don’t need anything delicate there. This material beats other basement flooring systems in several areas. It is strong and durable, can be laid quickly and easily and there is no need for adhesive. These sheets can be bought in an interlocking fashion or in one big piece made for custom size. It also helps with basement waterproofing. This cheap recycled material should be used as a bare minimum.

Another of the easy to install basement flooring options is a set of interlocking hardwood sheets. You don’t need to be a professional contractor to get this type done as the pieces can be laid without nails or use of adhesives. The sheets interlock with each other using studs or grooves. The comfort level is also one of the best amongst the options you have, thanks to insulating underlayment cushions generally used to even out the foundation concrete.

It absorbs shocks, hides bumps on the concrete and gives a warm feel to the feet. Before spending money on a system like this always make sure you don’t buy material that expands over time, or when in the presence of humidity. Taking this extra safety step can help you prevent tile cracks and bumps.

Given that you lay something for waterproofing, carpet can be the most thankful flooring material you can use. It doesn’t shrink, nor does it feel cold, and is easy to install. It gives the best comfort and chosen well gives the most durable solution. High humidity levels can destroy your work though, always make sure the concrete and walls are as water resistant as they can be. Carpet is also inexpensive compared to other flooring options. That means that you can have many basement remodeling projects in the future by changing the carpet and giving your basement a whole new look relatively cheaply.

You can lay down tiles of any description. From linoleum to wooden tiles, from terracotta to porcelain, your options are endless. They are not as easy to work with as hardwood interlocking pieces and they are definitely on the expensive side of the rainbow. Tiles often fell cold on your feet, but basement floors don’t get better looking and more durable than a well prepared terracotta floor.

Personal gyms will do well with just some rubber flooring, but a basement bar will require some more effort. Hardwood or quality linoleum might do the trick, but if you are serious about giving your basement a complete and unique feel, you may consider hiring a professional to lay a set of tiles so that you can be absolutely positive it’s done as it should be.