How to Waterproof Your Basement

Controlling Condensation and Humidity
Wrapping your pipes with foam insulation will help stop condensation from forming around them. nsj-images/Getty Images

As mentioned before, condensation and humidity can make a basement damp. Condensation occurs when water from cold pipes reacts to warm air. If you don't believe that, go into your basement on a humid day and watch the condensation drip onto your floor.

To stop condensation from forming, you can install foam pipe insulation around your pipes. It's cheap and easy to install. The foam is slit open lengthwise so you simply slide it onto your pipes. Cut off any excess with a scissors or utility knife. For those in northern climes, the insulation will keep your pipes warm so they don't freeze in the winter.

You can also insulate the walls of your basement to help prevent condensation. Foam tongue-and-groove insulation panels are available that don't require a master's degree to install. However, and this is a big however, don't insulate anywhere water is seeping in. You're just going to make things worse by giving mold a fertile ground on which to multiply [source:].

Humidity is also a problem and there's not much you can do when it's humid outside. But you can reduce the level of humidity by using a dehumidifier. Some dehumidifiers are labor intensive. When they're full you have to drain them. However, some dehumidifiers allow you to hook up a hose that you can run to a floor drain. Another thing you can do to reduce the amount of water vapor in the basement air is to make sure the exhaust line from your dryer is sealed tightly. All you need is duct tape to close up any openings.

Of course, the best way to waterproof your basement is to install a drainage system. The system includes tubing and a sump pump, which moves the water out. These systems are expensive, though the cost depends on the size of your basement and how much work is required for installation. The concrete floor has to be broken up; tubing and edging have to be installed; and then the floor has to be put back together.

Your best advice may be to talk to a contractor to find out what can be done to keep your basement dry. There are other avenues, aside from these we've mentioned here, that could make more sense for your situation. But no matter what, you should definitely get that basement dry.

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More Great Links


  • Basement Systems. "Damp Proofing the Outside Foundation Walls." (Aug. 22, 2018)
  • Brasler, Kevin. "Wet basement? Try these cost-effective solutions before calling a contractor." The Washington Post. Jan. 18, 2017. (Aug. 22, 2018)
  • Damp Basement. (Aug. 21, 2018)
  • 9 Affordable Ways to Dry Up Your Wet Basement for Good! (Aug. 22, 2018)
  • "Seal a Basement or Foundation." (Aug. 21, 2018)
  • Rodriguez, Juan. "The Uses of Hydraulic Cement and How to Apply." The Balance Small Business. May 17, 2018 (Aug. 22, 2018)
  • Wagner, John D. "Drying Out a Wet Basement." This Old House. (Aug. 22, 2018)