DIY Basement Waterproofing – Proceed with Caution
Do-it-yourself home improvement is all the rage these days, thanks to the DIY Network and TV personalities like Norm Abrams and Lou Manfredini. Personally, I prefer the direct, no-nonsense approach of Mike Holmes of “Holmes on Homes” for my DIY education, but this blog is not about me. It’s about you.
I’m sure what you were expecting when you clicked on the title of this article was a sales pitch on why basement waterproofing should be left to a professional, but you had me wrong. First and foremost, the goal of our blog, “Basement Matters,” is to educate homeowners about basement waterproofing. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and able to install a sump pump or repair a foundation crack, more power to you. I mean that. But, there are plenty of homeowners out there who aren’t equipped to tackle a basement waterproofing project themselves and we want to provide useful information to all of you.
However, before you DIYers run over to Home Depot for some “More Saving. More Doing”, there are a few things to consider.
DIY Basement Waterproofing Considerations:
Basement waterproofing is not always as expensive as you think. That’s right. Most basement waterproofing companies can repair a crack for under $500 and will stand behind their work with a lifetime warranty. The price per crack also drops if you have more than one to be repaired. Cracks are the most common source of seepage in a poured concrete foundation, so if you fall into that majority, a professional, warranted repair isn’t that expensive. However, if you need more extensive repair like Interior Drain Tile, that may be a different story.
Basement waterproofing companies provide free consultations. You really have nothing to lose by getting a little education from a reputable basement waterproofing contractor, other than about an hour of your time. After your problem is diagnosed and the necessary repair explained, go for it if you think you can take on the project yourself. But…
You’ll need the right materials and equipment. Home Depot has a lot of stuff, but they don’t carry everything you’ll need for your project. Sure, you can buy sump pumps at a big box store, but you might want to read our blog on DIY sump pumps before you make that choice. Our installers carry literally hundreds of different items on their trucks -- everything from specialized urethane resins to a bitumen-modified polyurethane membrane. Try finding those at Home Depot!
Got a strong back? If your basement waterproofing problem can only be solved with Interior Drain Tile or by excavating around your foundation and applying a waterproofing membrane, trust me when I say it’s very demanding work. Not only will you have to excavate, either inside or outside, you’ll have to move literally tons of broken concrete, gravel and concrete mix up and down stairs or in and out of a hole. I hope you’ve been working out!
What happens when it doesn’t work? OK, so you’ve taken on the challenge and have aches in muscles you never knew you had. Congratulations. The next time it rains, you head into the basement to savor your triumph – and there’s water on the floor. Who you gonna call? In the rare event that happens with work done by a basement waterproofing contractor, your warranty assures you that they will be fixing the problem, not you.
You’ll probably sell your house someday. And when you do, you might get questioned by the new buyer, or worse, their home inspector. A savvy buyer may seize on your DIY basement waterproofing job as a reason to negotiate the selling price down or walk away from the sale entirely. You are obligated by law to disclose any seepage issues when you sell, so if that do-it-yourself job didn’t turn out so well, you’re on the hook. When your work is done by a basement waterproofing contractor, your warranty is transferable to the buyer so you can sell (and they can buy) with confidence.
So, I’m not telling you not to take on that basement waterproofing job yourself, but I do urge you to consider the consequences. You may save money, but you’re in for some really hard work and will have to make do with the limited equipment and materials available to consumers. And, when you’re done, you will only have to look as far as the mirror to find who’s responsible if something goes wrong. Gaining experience through trial and error can be very frustrating and expensive, too.
If you choose to seek the advice of a basement waterproofing contractor, take a look at some of our blogs on how to choose the one that’s right for you. Of course, if you think U.S. Waterproofing can help, give us a call or schedule a consultation online. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions in the Comments box below.