Taking care of your new home using your own talents and elbow grease is a great way to increase your property value and confidence. Do-it-yourself projects get easier with time, whether you are learning how to fix plumbing, landscape or even waterproof your basement. But the latter requires some special know-how in order to do it safely and inexpensively.
Exterior basement waterproofing is something that you’ll probably never be able to on your own, since it requires excavating equipment to dig down to your foundation and repair footer drains. But internal basement waterproofing, and fixing up the walls of your lower level, can be an easily accomplished d.i.y. project.
The first step in any basement project is to step back and take an assessment of what kind of shape your walls are in. Is there mold, mildew or wet spots? Is the paint old, chipping or flaking? More importantly, do you see any significant cracks or damage to the wall that would allow water to seep through? If your basement has ever flooded in the past, then it’s probably time to do some work on your walls.
Most people don’t realize that your basement can get water damage and flooding regardless of whether there are cracks in the walls or not. If your basement floor drain is backed up or broken, sewage and discharge water from the rest of the home can backup. Without anyplace to drain water, your basement can quickly become a smelly mess.
To start your d.i.y. basement waterproofing project, check your floor drain to make sure that water flows through it unimpeded. Once you’ve done that, scrape any old paint off of the walls themselves, and spray any spots of mold or mildew with a solution of water or bleach. Fill any cracks with concrete compound from your local home improvement store, then cover with a specially formulated waterproofing paint.
This should add plenty of value to your home and protect a bit against future flooding. Keep in mind, though, that the only way to fully protect your basement against flooding after a heavy rain is by having a professional company clean and repair your foundation drainage system.