Basement Waterproofing Membrane

Answered by Brett ~ June 18, 2010 ~ Comments

I'm looking to protect my newly done basement in San Jose with floor sealant before moving into the home office I've completed. It's a level concrete floor and there's no sign of moisture. The membranes are mostly made for commercial use, right? I'd like to find an affordable one to try at home.

Derek F. ~ San Jose, California

Brett Kulina

Derek, it is a wise idea to protect your basement from water infiltration, especially because you have just remodeled your basement into a home office. Even small amounts of moisture in a basement can cause mold or musty odors, neither of which you want to be near while working at your desk.

Most people don't realize how porous concrete actually is, nor do they understand how the intensity of hydrostatic pressure can force ground water through even the smallest holes in basement walls. The areas of a basement foundation which are most vulnerable to water infiltration are the form-tie holes and the joints between the concrete walls and the floor slab, and these areas need to be carefully sealed and caulked if moisture problems are to be avoided.

It does not sound like you have any moisture problems currently, but keep in mind that ground water levels fluctuate throughout the year, so the amount of water pushing against the outside of your basement may increase over time. I suggest that you apply a concrete sealer to the floor and walls of your basement to help avoid any future moisture problems. There are many sealants available for concrete, and one called Trojan Masonry Sealer claims that one application of the product permanently waterproofs and preserves concrete. This type of sealant actually penetrates into the concrete and reacts with the concrete ingredients to seal the pores and voids within the structure. This is different, and more effective, than applying a sealer that simply coats the surface of the concrete with a protective film, which can eventually wear away or be damaged.

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