When estimating what it would cost to waterproof a basement there are several factors to take into consideration. First, is the source of the water in the basement. Common causes of a wet basement are condensation, leaking wall cracks, seepage through the joint where the floor and walls meet and seepage up through basement floor cracks. Basement waterproofing costs will greatly depend on the source of the problem, so lets break down the cost by the source – but first here are a few preventative tips to help keep your basement dry…
Check around your home’s foundation looking for any low spots, service walks that are tilting in due to ground settling down next to the foundation, downspouts properly attached and debris such as leaves in window wells causing water to over flow the basement windows. If you find low spots fill them in with dirt, grading it away from the home. If you have settling walking paths adjust them so they are no longer damming water from flowing away from the. Be sure you have gutters and downspouts on your home to properly dispose roof water runoff (one of the biggest culprits creating a wet basement) and make sure your downspouts are always properly connected carrying the water a minimum of 8 feet from your foundation. These simple preventative tips should be your first steps when fixing your wet basement problem. Many leaky basements can be dried up with these easy tips and will save you money and headache. Now, lets breakdown the different basement waterproofing costs and options…
Condensation is when water droplets in humid air comes in contact with cold surfaces turning the vapor into water. Condensation often collects on concrete surfaces like your walls and floor. A low cost remedy to this type of basement condition is simply add a box fan to your basement to help circulate the air, which prevents the vapor from condensing and turning into liquid. You could also want to add a dehumidifier to the basement to collect the moisture from the air. For most basements you want to keep the humidity level at or below 50% relative humidity. When you go above 80% humidity your chances of mold and mildew greatly increase.
Total Cost: $264
$29 for a box fan + $235 for a dehumidifer
LEAKY WALL CRACK
Leaky wall cracks are most commonly found in poured wall foundations. Vertical wall cracks can be fixed by applying a sealant to the crack, like our CRACK Foundation Repair. This will seal off the crack preventing water from entering through the wall crack. It’s important also take preventative measures to keep water from entering your basement and for that you need to take a look outside your home to address key areas that drive water into your basement every time it rains or snow thaws (read the preventative tips above for more info).
Total Cost: $45 to $205
$30 for CRACK Foundation Repair + $15 for simple tools like a putty knife, wire brush & caulking gun. You might also want to add downspout extension around your home to divert the water, which will help prevent pooling water around the foundation. We calculate about $40 per downspout to install an UnderGround Downspout and PVC pipe.
WATER SEEPAGE WHERE FLOOR & WALLS MEET
The joint where the floor and walls meet is commonly called the “cold” or “cove” joint. This is the most common source of a wet basement, affecting nearly 90% of all wet basements. As hydrostatic pressure around your home’s foundation builds up it forces exterior water into the basement through the open cold joint.
Many do-it-yourself homeowners initial idea is to find a way to push back or stop the seepage with waterproofing paints or hydraulic cement. These methods are cheap, “quick fixes” to a leaky basement, but won’t last longterm and often create a bigger problem as water will build up higher in the walls and can find new ways into the basement. Waterproofing paints typically cost around $50 a gallon and require a great deal of prep work labor to apply. Hydraulic cements cost around $10 for a 10 lb. pail, which can be very appealing to a homeowner looking for a cheap fix, but they often regret their choice when water begins to build up in their walls and popping and cracking the hydraulic cement. These bandaid quick fixes should be avoid because they will not solve the problem.
Now, that we’ve addressed some of the common do-it-yourself methods lets talk about permanent solutions to a wet basement and their associated costs.
The most expensive basement waterproofing cost and option is exterior waterproofing. This requires a great deal of labor and stress on your home and it has several drawbacks when adding to an existing home. Exterior waterproofing relies on a waterproof membrane sprayed or brushed onto the exterior face of a home’s foundation walls to create a water barrier. The best time to apply an exterior waterproofing membrane is during construction of the home. This can act as a preventative measure to help keep moisture out of the basement.
Exterior waterproofing isn’t an ideal remedy for an existing home, as you would need to excavate around your home to exposed the foundation walls. The biggest drawback to this option for an existing home is the high expense and possible damage and disruption it can cause to your home. Exterior waterproofing membranes and drain tiles are limited in their effectiveness. Most exterior drain tile systems clog overtime with silt, which leaves them useless and inaccessible.
Total Cost: $15,000 to $35,000
Exterior waterproofing is the most expensive and has limited effectiveness on existing homes.
Interior basement waterproofing systems are the best approach to waterproofing an existing home. There are 3 main interior waterproofing options:
1. Above floor baseboard channels are the best do-it-yourself waterproofing option for homeowners because they tap into hydrostatic pressure versus common do-it-yourself methods that try to hold back or plug a wet basement. An above floor baseboard channel doesn’t require busting up your basement floor, which makes a do-it-yourself system friendly. Many contractors install these system in monolithic basements, which means the basement walls and footing are one. You do not want to bust up a monolithic basement floor. Above floor baseboard channels, like the SealOnce™ Basement System, is very effective option (and affordable) and will dry up a basement who’s water source is through the cold joint.
Total Cost: $6 per ft (DIY Installation) to $30 per ft (Contractor Installation)
SealOnce™ Basement System is a permanent do-it-yourself fix to a wet basement. You will save yourself thousands of dollars installing the system yourself, but many contractors offer these non-invasive channels.
2. Footer drainage systems are a favorite among contractors because it requires less labor then old-fashioned pipe and gravel and is extremely effective. Footer drainage systems require busting up your basement floor to expose the footing, then a drainage channel is placed on top of the concrete footing around the perimeter of the basement draining into a sump pump system. A benefit to this type of system is it is not sitting in any dirt or soil that could clog the system.
Total Cost: $20 to $35 per ft
Footer drainage systems are a professionally installed basement waterproofing channel that is very effective, but will cost several thousands of dollars.
3. Subfloor drain tile systems are an industry standard in basement waterproofing. These systems vary in sophistication and effectiveness. Old-fashioned pipe and gravel is very cheap in material costs, but expensive in labor costs as you need to bust up and dig very large, deep trench in a basement floor for it to be effective. Old-fashioned pipe and gravel is an effective system, but has it’s drawbacks. These systems frequently get clogged because they are sitting in dirt. They need a good deal of pitch and a lot of water in them to create flow. An old-fashioned drain tile job would likely take 2 to 4 days and would cost several thousand dollars (mostly paying for labor). The basement waterproofing industry has evolved greatly over the past few decades in the development of hybrid basement waterproofing systems that are more effective with water flow then old-fashioned pipe and gravel, and require a lot less labor. Many of these new systems come with inspection ports, giving you access to the system after its been installed to flush the system out if needed.
Total Cost: $25 to $55 per ft
Subfloor drainage systems are a professionally installed basement waterproofing channel that is very effective, but will cost several thousands of dollar.
SEEPAGE THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF FLOOR
Having a leak up through the middle of your basement floor is uncommon. If you have a crack in your basement floor that is leaking you’ll want to figure out if the water is truly coming up through the floor or if the crack is being feed by the wall and cold joint area (this is most often the case). If the water is coming up through the middle of the basement floor a subfloor system is necessary to remedy this problem. A contractor will install a subfloor system around the perimeter of the basement floor and will most likely run a vein out into the middle of the basement to collect the water in the center of the foundation.
Total Cost: $25 to $55 per ft
A subfloor drain tile system is necessary to remedy this type of wet basement.
BASEMENT WATERPROOFING COSTS OVERVIEW
Basement waterproofing costs vary greatly depending on the source of the water issue. The simple preventative tips we listed above can help to lesser your water issue or elimiate it all together. It’s important to first identify the source of your wet basement before selecting a basement waterproofing method. This with ensure you a dry basement at a reasonable cost.
If you plan to waterproof your basement yourself take a look at our DIY basement waterproofing guide for helpful tips and advice. If you’re looking for a quote for your basement project visit our SealOnce™ Basement System.
When hiring a contractor be sure to get multiple estimates and opinions from different local waterproofing companies. We recommend getting at least 3 different estimates from 3 different companies. Also, be sure to ask for multiple customer testimonials from each company and follow up with them. Having multiple estimates will help you determine what is the average cost for waterproofing in your area.