Basement vs. Crawlspace: What Kind of Waterproofing Do You Need?

basement waterproofing

It’s happened to almost everyone. You’re headed down to the basement to get the holiday decorations, cup of hot cocoa in hand. You get halfway down the stairs and see it – WATER. Basement waterproofing will eliminate this most inconvenient and infuriating surprise! 

Smart Foundation Systems is proud to provide our customers with sound advice, honest pricing that fits your budget, and experienced technicians who serve Kansas City and its surrounding communities. 

If you are unsure about what kind of crawlspace or basement waterproofing you need, give Smart Foundation Systems a call today for a conversation about your alternatives and a FREE estimate. 

Basement Waterproofing Basics 

Basements are usually either located entirely or partially under the ground floor of a home or business. Daylight basements, only partly underground, are most often used for family bonus rooms, home offices, and man caves. Primarily underground basements are sometimes unfinished and used as laundry rooms, storage, hot water tanks, and even garages. 

While there are differences in the ways they’re used, flooding is one thing almost all basements have in common. A flooded basement is a nightmare. Not only is it inconvenient and irritating, but it is also dangerous and expensive. Waterproofing your basement before there is a problem is an essential part of homeownership. 

If you’re already experiencing flooding issues, don’t try to manage it on your own. One thing we know for sure is if the basement is leaking, it is not going to stop. 

Contact us for a professional, permanent approach to stop the flooding before it can cause extensive damage. 

There are more details involved in our waterproofing methods that we will be happy to discuss with you. However, in general, ours is a three-pronged approach to basement waterproofing. 

Approach #1 “The Mechanic’s Approach” 

When you take your car to your service technician with a squeak in the brakes, you’ll ask the technician to look only at the brakes. That’s what is doing the squeaking. He’ll fix the brakes and return your car to you. But then, a little later, you may notice something is wrong with the transmission. So, you have to take the vehicle back to the technician. This is a second trip, and the technician will charge for the transmission fix this time.

That’s how our mechanic’s approach works, too. If you notice water coming from a crack in your basement wall, we can fix that crack and give you a 100% lifetime waterproofing warranty that it will never leak again.  The end.

But, after the leak is fixed, if you notice leaks coming from under the wall, you’ll need to call us again.  At that point, you likely need Approach #2. 

Approach #2 The Smart-Dry System (Interior Basement Waterproofing) 

Sometimes if block or stone walls begin leaking, there is no way to get them to stop without completely excavating the exterior of the foundation and sealing, draining, and waterproofing it, or you can use the Smart-Dry System.

This system is a good, thorough “catch-all” that can collect water from several different sources (under the wall, through the wall, and groundwater.)  

basement waterproofing

Approach #3 Drain-Plus System 

If you have water leaking under, over, or through the wall, or you need a wall to be pushed back into place, this is the most appropriate approach for you. 

The Drain-Plus system requires excavation of the entire exterior of the wall. Next is installation of a new HARD PIPE drain system, and then wrapping the system in a dirt-filtering fabric. Then, we backfill the excavation with large gravel. 

This system allows proper drainage and is a real fix for all waterproofing needs. 

Crawlspace Basics 

Crawlspaces are much smaller than basements – usually only about 3 feet high – and if they’re used at all, it’s typically for personal storage. 

Because the crawlspace typically has direct contact with the ground beneath your house, it’s not surprising moisture will develop here. If you’ve noticed moisture buildup and stagnation in the crawlspace of your home, you should address this situation to prevent mold and mildew, rot, and rodent and vermin infestations. 

Experts recommend crawlspace encapsulation to make buildings more energy-efficient, aid in preventing mold and mildew, and keep out unwanted pests. 

Approach #1 Vapor Diffusion Barrier 

Rolling out simple sheeting plastic is a simple, inexpensive approach to controlling crawlspace moisture. However, it’s not always practical. The plastic sheeting, even with all its seams sealed, cannot stop all the moisture migration, but it does slow down the process. 

Sometimes it is necessary to install a perimeter drain and sump pump within the crawlspace to more effectively control water issues. 

Approach #2 Crawlspace Foundation Encapsulation 

This is a two-step process. First, we need to determine if we can encapsulate the crawlspace in its existing form. We also check to see if there are bulk water problems. We also need to investigate the possibility of backdrafting combustion appliances. Our trained technicians will be able to determine what will work best for your crawlspace. 

basement waterproofing

If we can encapsulate your crawlspace, that entails: 

  • 100% ground coverage with a vapor barrier, seams, and junctions of barrier will be sealed
  • Sealed crawlspace vents 
  • Insulated foundation walls and band joist
  • Condition air with one of three methods: dehumidifier, a small amount of supply air from the HVAC system, or small exhaust fan 

The benefits of encapsulation are significant. Relative humidity will stay below 60% even when outdoor humidity is much higher. Other benefits include: 

  • Reduces the chance of costly floor repair
  • Lower energy bills
  • Maintains quality of heating/cooling ducts 
  • Possible rebates/incentives 
  • Attractive resale feature 

About Us 

You can count on Smart Foundation Services to walk you through any questions you have about basement or crawlspace waterproofing. We understand that this may be frustrating, but we can make it so much easier. With our years of experience in serving our friends and neighbors in Kansas City, we can promise you no-nonsense, honest answers to your toughest questions.

We utilize only engineer-designed repair methods, provide lifetime transferrable warranties, and offer stress-free financing options. Call today for your FREE estimate. 

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