Why DIY Basement Waterproofing is a Bad Idea

Posted on: Jun 08, 2021


Waterproofing membrane along with some tools

When it comes to home improvement projects, many homeowners resort to do-it-yourself (DIY) methods to refine their own skills, feel a greater sense of accomplishment, and cut costs. With the proper tools and techniques, DIY can yield great results. There are, however, certain projects that truly require the skills of an expert.

As a general rule, any project that alters or concerns the structural integrity of the home is best left to the pros. Furthermore, certain kinds of cracks in the basement should not be taken lightly as they are the sign of more serious foundational problems. This is the main reason why DIY basement waterproofing is not recommended.

If you’re still torn between DIY basement waterproofing and professional basement waterproofing, we’d like to help you make the best and most informed decision possible.

In this article, we will talk about the advantages of effective basement waterproofing, the disadvantages or risks associated with DIY basement waterproofing, and where you can get professional basement waterproofing that you can count on. 

Put the toolbox down for a while, sit back, and let’s get started!

A close-up of a roller brush applying waterproofing coating on concrete

The Benefits of Effective Basement Waterproofing 

Expectations may vary regarding how waterproofed a basement can be. Some homeowners are just looking to eliminate floods, others are wanting to completely waterproof their entire basement to make it an extra living space.

A dry basement can also serve as the best storage space for your belongings since the likelihood of damage from moisture is significantly decreased or eliminated. In addition, you won’t need to worry about mould – which can be stubborn, recurrent, and bad for your health

Lastly, effective basement waterproofing can help preserve the structural strength of your home’s foundation. Hydrostatic pressure, which is caused by the presence of excess water pushing against the concrete walls of your basement, can cause and aggravate cracks on your basement walls. Water can also seep through mortar joints or between the blocks/bricks, causing gaps to form and widen over time. Such water damages accumulate and can eventually cause your house to shift under its own weight. Effective basement waterproofing is about addressing such problems. 

The first question any homeowner would need to ask themselves is this: Can DIY basement waterproofing yield all of the above benefits? In most cases, it doesn’t. In the next section, we discuss why DIY basement waterproofing typically yields disappointing results – along with a number of other reasons why it’s not a good idea. 

 Puddle forming around the basement walls

Why DIY Basement Waterproofing Is Not a Good Idea

DIY Basement Waterproofing Can Yield Disappointing Results 

The main reason why DIY basement waterproofing can give disappointing results is that most DIY resources out there will only cover limited aspects of basement waterproofing such as plugging holes, sealing cracks, and then applying a waterproof coating.

There are instances, however, wherein the cracks themselves are not the only problem. 

If your basement sits on a high water table, the hydrostatic pressure can cause further cracks to develop over time. Your basement may also be constantly submerged in water because rainwater is not managed effectively. This means that after sealing certain cracks, you may need to deal with new ones over time. Though waterproof coating can help, it is not a fail-safe standalone solution against new cracks. 

Thorough DIY Basement Waterproofing Requires More Tools, Materials, and Time 

If you’re looking for DIY waterproofing projects, you may find certain resources that provide guidance on proper rainwater management, sump pump installation, weeping tile network installation, and waterproof membrane installation for the external perimeter of your home. 

The above aspects of basement waterproofing, however, are not typically talked about in detail in DIY guides. This is because most of these are recommended to be done professionally

Should you find thorough guides online, many of these projects require specialized tools (and not to mention extra labour) for drilling concrete, excavating land, and so on. Drilling concrete means you are tampering with your home’s foundation directly – something we don’t recommend doing without professional help.  

You Run the Risk of Doubling Costs and Sustaining Injuries 

Choosing to do partial or thorough DIY basement waterproofing runs the risk of doubling costs should you commit errors. These errors can cause materials to be wasted and/or sustain damage to your basement. With these disappointing results, you may opt for professional basement waterproofing further down the line, meaning everything would need to be redone. 

Should you choose to do more thorough DIY basement waterproofing, using high-power tools and doing extensive excavations can lead to injuries. 

You Will Be Pressed For Time 

Extensive basement waterproofing projects that involve the installation of a waterproof membrane on the basement’s exterior is a project that would need your dedicated time and focus. After the soil has been excavated, the area needs to stay dry. If you don’t act quickly, you run the risk of precipitation setting you back. The same goes for if you’ve started to install the waterproof membrane.   

You Will Miss the Opportunity to Have Your Basement Assessed 

Earlier, we mentioned that professional basement waterproofing will help you get solutions that address your home’s specific problems. This is because effective professional basement waterproofing always starts with a thorough basement assessment. An assessment involves checking whether or not your basement has more serious cracks that signal a need for foundation repair. 

As a general rule, multiple cracks, wider cracks, and/or cracks visible in other parts of the home can signal that your home’s foundation is settling. If you find long horizontal cracks or diagonal cracks that look like stair-steps, it can mean that your basement walls are giving in to external pressure. 

A professional in basement waterproofing would have a sharp eye towards such signs and will be able to instruct you on what you need to do to save your home. 

Long-Lasting Professional Basement Waterproofing in Toronto

At PRO Waterproofers, we continually strive to provide innovative, reliable, and long-lasting solutions to keep your basement dry. Thorough professional basement waterproofing is our specialty. 

We take an analytical approach to every case that we are faced with. We assess the state of your basement, your rainwater management system, your property’s water table, the topography of your land, and so on. We take professional basement waterproofing to a whole new level of customer-centricity, thereby presenting you with the solution(s) that will serve you best. 

We have such confidence in our work and in the materials we use that we give up to 30 years warranty on complete foundation waterproofing systems. We also offer flexible payment options for our customers who need urgent basement waterproofing but would prefer to pay later. 

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to start with a FREE in-home consultation!


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