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What is Basement Waterproofing and Basement Tanking?


While any room in the property is susceptible to suffering from damp issues, the basement is arguably the most likely space in the building for problems to crop up. This is due to the fact that, typically, basements are based below ground level, which can allow walls to retain the earth and be saturated by groundwater. On top of that, basements are usually not very well-ventilated, causing the area to become humid, too, making it the ideal breeding ground for mould spores.

This is why it is so important to take action when waterproofing cellars, basements or partially below-ground-level spaces in your home - especially if you intend to use the area of the property. Water can make its way through any porous material, which can and often does result in costly internal damage.

The Definition of Tanking and Waterproofing Solutions

In the simplest terms, tanking and waterproofing ensure that water stays on the outside of your property and does not come inside your basement, resulting in potentially costly damage. However, the area where you are located, as well as other key factors, will determine the best means of tanking your basement.

There are two main types of waterproofing that damp proofing specialists like Garratt’s Damp & Timber Ltd. will undertake: Type A and Type C (this is because Type B relates to the construction of the property and is thus not something we would engage in).

Type A

Type A is seen as the simpler and, therefore, the most common form of basement waterproofing options offered. This cementitious method creates a barrier that prohibits groundwater from penetrating the environment, therefore tanking your basement.

The first step of the installation process is to strip the walls back to their base material. Once this is done, a sand and cement render splatter coat is applied along with a multi-coat render combined with a suitable waterproofing agent.

This type of waterproofing is most suitable when the walls are in good condition and have not been compromised by the penetration of any moisture yet. In addition to this, the property’s geography is also taken into consideration; if the location is likely to see higher levels of moisture than the national average, Type C may be the best course of action instead.

Type C

Type C or Membrane Sealed Tanking is a much more complex form of waterproofing than Type A. Rather than simply relying on a coating to stop the water from penetrating the basement, a specialised membrane is installed on walls, ceilings and floors using specialised plugs and sealing tapes, which act as a cavity membrane system to collect the water for removal. This is what makes the system so effective in areas that see increased amounts of moisture and why the aforementioned Type A method of how to make a basement waterproof may not always be the best option. In any case, Garratt’s Damp & Timber Ltd. would be able to advise on the best course of action based on your needs and locale.

Unwanted water is removed via a sump and pump system that carries it away from the property via perimeter channels installed around the base of walls and floors. While this way of waterproofing cellars and basements is more expensive, Type C acts as both a treatment and a barrier without adding any structural load to the walls.

It is incredibly important that the system is installed properly and to the highest of standards. Any faults could result in groundwater leaking through via the dry side of the membrane, where water will sit in the tanked area. It is equally important that a qualified electrician wires the pump, especially due to the nature of its job, coming into contact with water. In addition, a flood test needs to be undertaken to ensure the pump and drainage systems are working as intended.

How to Tell if Your Basement Needs Waterproofing

First and foremost, it is important to understand that all basements and cellars will require some form of waterproofing as they are below ground level. However, to know if yours requires any damp proofing work, you need to inspect for signs of damage. Signs of damp-related damage in your basement include:

  • Damp spots on the wall, which may start to discolour.
  • Mould spores on the wall, floor, or timber structure.
  • Paint peeling off the surface due to increased moisture.
  • Rusty pipes and/or metal structures.
  • Musty smell radiating off decaying materials affected by damp.
  • Dry rot.
  • Basement cracks in walls and floors.
  • Presence of a white chalk-like substance.
  • Humid environment.

If your basement or cellar displays any of the above symptoms, you should seek the opinion of damp-proofing specialists who can come in and survey the property. Book a Garratt’s Damp & Timber Ltd. home survey, where our team will inspect the area, complete with a jargon-free explanation of any issues they find and the work required to rectify the problem.

What is the Worst Thing That Can Happen if I Don’t Waterproof My Basement?

The absolute worst-case scenario is if your basement or cellar does not have a waterproofing system in place or you have a system that has been installed by someone who does not know how to make a basement waterproof, there is serious structural damage. When you consider that the basement or cellar sits below ground level, any structural damage has the potential to hamper the entire building’s foundation.

When the foundation is damaged, that can potentially make the building as a whole unsafe, requiring either the family living in the household to seek alternative accommodation or, in the case of commercial property, bringing business to a standstill, potentially costing the company thousands or even millions of pounds.

To avoid that happening to your home or commercial property, make sure to take the proper precautions and ensure that your basement or cellar has suitable tanking and waterproofing systems in place. For more information, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our expert team today either through the contact page or by calling us directly on 0208 535 7536.

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