Methods Of Exterior Basement Waterproofing 

Exterior basement waterproofing is often associated with digging. Though, it is a more extended process involving excavation work around the entire foundation area which is subject to water penetration. Sometimes, the company which is doing waterproofing work needs a locate. This is a special permit to ensure that all the jobs will be carried out carefully and professionally. The reputable company can offer various waterproofing options to seal the foundation. They may include installing an external waterproofing membrane, weeping tiles, or cementitious solutions. All of them are used to redirect any excessive water or dampness from your foundation.

Waterproofing or Damp Proofing

When your basement and foundation suffer from extended water flow or moisture, you are commonly offered waterproofing or damp-proofing. Very often, you do not see much difference in these terms because both procedures are meant to reduce the penetration of water through the materials your house is built from. However, there are some important differences to discuss and understand. If your concern is excessive moisture in the basement, just have a quick look at the difference between damp-proofing and waterproofing to know what to expect.

Waterproofing involves the procedure of blocking any water from penetrating into the material. This water may include water vapor, flooding caused by hydrostatic pressure, or even soil moisture. This characteristic feature of waterproofing is especially important if you live in a very damp type of climate and basement flooding can occur rather often.

Damp-proofing is related to water vapor and soil moisture only. It cannot control flooding water. That is why damp-proofing may turn out to be insufficient in the areas with high water tables or extensive water in the soil. Damp-proofing can be used here only under certain specific conditions. For instance, you may want to seal the finished footing from the grade to the top. In this case, the procedure will involve a sealant that is applied to the outer part of the foundation walls. That can prevent soil water vapor from penetrating into the waterproofing material of the construction.


The basement and foundation walls are most often subject to water seeping in because they are in close contact with the soil. That is why they should be sealed with concrete waterproofing sealer. However, keep in mind that even if concrete does not absorb water, it may allow moisture penetration.  The concrete waterproofer helps make your home free of mildew and humidity indoors.  So, the waterproofing methods (concrete coating) can differ according to the conditions. Some of the most widely used ones for masonry and concrete walls are described below. Excavation and backfill jobs are not considered here.


Cement waterproofing is usually used in dry climatic conditions. This solution has many benefits. The cement coating is thick and quite durable. It is easy to apply and it provides a smooth surface that can be painted. This option works very well for crawl space sealing or patching cracks. However, the cement as a material is not flexible, so it is very ineffective when applied for cracking or joint movements. This is its significant drawback.

Foundation Waterproofing Membrane

The exterior of your foundation can be coated with a special waterproofing membrane. It is meant to block all the excessive water before it approaches the foundation wall. This way, the damage from the water caused to thee foundation is diminished. Therefore, your personal belongings or other parts of the house will not suffer at all. Your crawlspace or basement can be used for storage or for other family’s needs.

Bentonite clay or sodium bentonite is a material that effectively absorbs water. When applied to the exterior foundation all, it expands and fills in the cracks. The seal is formed which prevents water penetration. The waterproofing shield is usually made of this clay and corrugated cardboard. This coating is very effective if installed properly. If not, it should be completel redone to carry out its waterproofing tasks.

Weeping Tiles

The common drainage system which is called weeping tiles should be installed around the house foundation close to the exterior part of footing at the base of the foundation walls. Very often, this system is also called drain tile or drainage tile. It works to block and redirect water which usually accumulates at the footing (or at the foundation base). This excessive water is drained to the storm sewer located in the street or into a sump pump liner. The latter is normally located underneath the floor of your basement.

When water stays for long at the foundation base, something should be done about it. The foundation is usually made of concrete, concrete block, or cinderblock and these materials are rather porous. They tend to absorb water very fast and that results in the situation when the basement foundation wall collects all the water around depending on the water table height. In the end, your foundation turns out to bathe in the puddle of water for a long time if this water is not drained immediately. The outcomes are obvious – the base of the foundation is damaged and you get the wet basement which is occasionally flooded.

Weeping tiles are specifically meant to discharge and redirect the underground water. In fact, this system does not look like tiles. It consists of 4-inch porous pipes. However, the name dates back to the time when tiles made of terracotta were used in place of draining pipes. Modern weeping tiles are made of plastic. They have weep holes or slits for redirecting water you’re your home foundation.


Exterior basement waterproofing turns out to be a very complicated procedure. The dirt is dug out of the basement foundation walls, first. Then, a moisture barrier is applied in the form of a special dimple board that makes up a shield to excessive water and redirects it from the walls. The complete foundation excavation is used when you want to install a waterproofing system made from bentonite. Such techniques are rather costly. So, you can also consider interior drainage or sump pump system installation that is more affordable and, very often, much more efficient.

Thinking about calling a basement waterproofing contractor? Find the best exterior basement waterproofing company near me near you on Google Map- see all Tornado Plumbing & Drains locations open now.

How to waterproof a basement from the outside

How is basement waterproofing done on the outside?

At Tornado Plumbing & Drains, external excavation and waterproofing is executed in 7 steps as follows:

  1. Foundation wall deep excavating to the footing.
  2. Removing the weeping tile out of the area of excavation.
  3. The foundation wall cleaning for better adhesion of the future coating.
  4. Applying the foundation coating onto the exposed wall for successful waterproofing of the basement (remember that an elastomeric rubber coating is the best option, though not all the contractors use it).
  5. Installing of the foundation wrap or air-gap/dimpled sheet membrane on the foundation wall for better damp-proofing.
  6. Installing of the new drain/weeping tile covered with gravel.
  7. Checking and confirming that the new drainage system works properly.

External Waterproofing Systems


Priming is the first step in many waterproofing procedures and techniques. A special spray is applied to the external side of the foundation walls. The spray narrows the pores in the masonry and creates a smooth surface that is water-repellent. Primers can also bond with waterproofing layers chemically. That is why they are widely used at the initial waterproofing stage.

Primary Waterproofing

When a waterproofing material is applied directly to the foundation wall from the outside, this procedure is called primary waterproofing. Radon protection is also necessary here. The coating that consists of some waterproofing compounds has sufficient compression strength and does not allow water penetration even under the most aggressive pressure.

Secondary Exterior Basement Waterproofing – External Membranes


The second step in exterior basement waterproofing is the membrane installation. It serves as a protective coating for primary waterproofing. It works as an effective drainage system and a tool to relieve hydrostatic pressure that affects the building foundation. This membrane is also very efficient during the backfilling procedure to help settle the backfill properly.


Land Drains and French Drains

Land drains are mostly used in waterlogged areas. Because of heavy rainfalls or the type of soil, water cannot flow away. The soil becomes saturated and it does not accept any more water. So, there is a need to allow this excessive moisture to flow freely into a special pipe and further on to the designated point of its disposal. The pipe used for land drains has perforations in it and a thick layer of loose aggregate placed around. The water flows through this aggregate into the tiny holes in the pipe. The land drain pipe has to be installed with a gentle gradient to let the water move smoothly through it. Shingles are usually used as an aggregate and owing to them, the water can flow clearly in the certain direction and it does not reach the saturated soil to cause flooding.

The basement waterproofing services also involve an exterior French drain. This process means digging out a ditch along the perimeter of the foundation. The ditch is usually excavated underneath the footer and gradually directed to the surface. The procedure of the exterior French drain installation requires the preliminary removal of all the patios, shrubs, porches, sidewalks, and other obstacles located along the foundation. It means that additional expenses are needed. That is why installing inside French drains seems to be more preferable to many people.

Sump and Pump

If you want to keep your basement environment dry, you should have a reliable waterproofing system installed within it. This system is called sump and pump. It is meant to remove all the ground water from the basement foundation walls including the moisture collected by cavity drain membranes. Such a sump and pump system is quite reliable. Homeowners are likely to be sure about the effective protection of their property against flooding and other unexpected and harsh weather conditions.

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