When you’re faced with a moisture problem in your basement, you may be wondering whether to damp proof your basement or to invest in basement waterproofing. You may even be wondering if they are one and the same thing. After all, many people in the industry use the terms interchangeably.
If you’re planning to keep water out of your basement, it is very important for you to distinguish between these two terms. There is a big difference between waterproofing your basement and damp proofing it.
Waterproofing a basement involves treating the surface or structure of the basement walls in order to prevent water from penetrating and flooding the basement. Waterproofing may involve the use of a continuous membrane that is impermeable to water or the installation of drain tile to relieve hydrostatic pressure.
Waterproofing deals with the passage of water under hydrostatic pressure. The installation of a waterproof membrane or coating on the exterior surface of the foundation wall provides a barrier against which water cannot penetrate even when under hydrostatic pressure.
In cases of internal waterproofing, a drain tile is installed under the foundation walls. This provides water with a path of low resistance. This relieves the hydrostatic pressure acting against the foundation walls and prevents penetration of water. The water that collects in the drain tile is guided to a well where it is pumped out into a drain.
Damp proofing on the other hand deals with penetration of water that isn’t under hydrostatic pressure. It involves the treatment of the foundation surface of installation of a damp proof membrane on the surface of the foundation. These prevent the penetration of moisture that is caused by differences in vapor pressure, temperature or moisture content across the basement walls.
Damp proofing prevents the collection of moisture on the external surface of the basement walls. It may involve the installation of a plastic foundation wrap or air-gap membrane. This is usually installed on foundation walls that have already undergone waterproofing. This membrane keeps wet soils from being in constant contact with the foundation walls.
It is important to distinguish between the two treatments. This is because they provide barriers to different things. However, both are important for keeping basements dry and ensuring the integrity of your foundation remains intact for longer. It is important to apply both waterproofing and damp proofing for optimal results in your foundation.
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