Chalky white stains on the basement walls are called efflorescence – a sign that you may have a moisture issue. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a crisis, but this a good opportunity to do an exterior wall inspection. Doing this before the wall begins to leak and potentially damage your basement could save you a lot of money and headaches down the road.
After years of restoring older homes in Victoria, we can’t count how many times we’ve seen improper grading, poor drainage, and substandard waterproofing lead to a chronically leaky foundation. Our wet climate, clay soils and high seismic activity further conspire against these most vulnerable parts of our homes.
To combat this, we have sourced two products that work together to create the best waterproofing system on the market: a blueskin membrane and a delta drainage board. This system provides unmatched resistance to abrasion, twisting and compression, preventing water from entering your home, even if the wall cracks.
We start every job on the assumption that the more information you have, the more control you will feel over the outcome. That’s why we follow a basic process:
- Investigate the symptoms – We thoroughly examine the situation both inside and outside your home.
- Properly diagnose the cause – Some companies will skip straight from the symptoms (say, a leaking wall-floor joint) to recommending a solution. That can be a big mistake. We prefer to excavate small test holes down to the footing to visually inspect the condition of the foundation and perimeter drain. This ensures a more precise diagnosis and budget-friendly strategy.
- Solve the problem – Prior to commencing work, we discuss steps, timeline and materials used, as well as the unique process we follow. As we progress, we give you regular status updates and happily answer any questions you may have.
Waterproofing your basement when the rain starts
What’s the most vulnerable part of your home? Most Vancouver Island homeowners think it’s their roof. Wrong. The feature that carries the heaviest burden and takes the biggest pounding is your foundation. Unfortunately, it’s also the most ignored aspect of your home because it’s largely underground and hidden from view. When the water starts to leak in — which will occur in most basements at one point or another — the foundation suddenly gets all of the attention.
In Victoria and most of the South Island, this problem is made even worse by our rainy weather, dense clay soils and high seismic activity. Lots of water, poor drainage and frequent earth movement put a lot of stress on concrete foundations, and even more on masonry block walls. Contrary to what most people think, concrete actually absorbs water. The water table around the outside of your house rises as rainfall increases, putting pressure against your foundation, which could eventually crack and lead to leaks if poorly waterproofed.
You can prevent this by regularly inspecting and cleaning your perimeter drains, and properly waterproofing your foundation. Most older homes in Victoria have been damp-proofed with a liquid asphalt applied to the outside of the foundation. Damp-proofing is a minimum code application that is cheap to apply, and is not the same as waterproofing. It inhibits water penetration, but does not prevent it. Over time, this coating starts to flake away and hairline cracks appear on the foundation. The tar doesn’t stretch to fill those cracks, allowing moisture to seep in. The common musty smell in basements is often a symptom of this problem.
If you want to do it right and eliminate musty odors, mold, mildew and water leaks permanently, waterproof your basement from the exterior. Every reputable contractor, including Mike Holmes, recommends this approach because it’s proven the test of time and is what modern building code requires. Using waterproof paints, sealers or interior trench & sump pump systems are cover-up techniques that don’t address the root cause of your water or moisture problem. They will not permanently rid your damp basement of side-effects like must or mold. Excavating around the exterior of your house and applying an elastometric emulsive membrane seals the wall, provides a drainage plane for water, and stretches over future cracks to provide an unbeatable triple layer of basement waterproofing protection.
Peace of mind
Our motto is fix it right. That’s why we diagnose the cause before we propose a solution, and ensure that your basement is protected from leaks for the long term.
Pulling permits, excavating, replacing landscaping and pathways: we take care of the work from start to finish to save you the headache of coordinating multiple contractors.
Preserve your yard
We are, as far as we know, the only Victoria company to offer a hand excavation option to protect your landscaping from the damage of excavation machines and Bobcats.
Prevent future leaks
If you’re buying an older home or renovating the basement in one, repairing and waterproofing your foundation might be your best choice. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve brought the home up to modern standards and done everything possible to protect your investment.
Ready to take the next step? Get in touch with us to book an onsite evaluation and quote.