The Right Basement Waterproofing Systems

The southeast of Britain has always led the way regarding basement conversions and, therefore, the demand for the right basement waterproofing systems is high.

Properties in Kent and across large parts of London lend themselves to extending downwards, and it can have a huge impact on the value of those properties, which are already among the highest in the country.

However, creating liveable spaces below ground is not without its challenges. Moisture is a constant feature, and the hydrostatic water pressure can be up to three tonnes per square metre.

There are a number of basement waterproofing strategies which can be implemented retrospectively or introduced during construction for flood prevention. It is also advisable to make sure the professional implementing the basement waterproofing is experienced and qualified.

So here is our guide to what basement waterproofing is and why it is so important for your property.

Understanding Basement Waterproofing Systems

As you might have guessed, basement waterproofing is basically the process of ensuring that the water that exists in and around your underground property does not penetrate the building and cause dampness or structural issues.

Despite the Kent climate being amongst the driest in the country, there is still plenty of water below ground. The average precipitation levels are expected to increase by up to 30% over the next 50 years with the impact of climate change, which will only increase the pressure.

There is no way of preventing the existence of water in and around your basement, so the focus turns to prevention and managing the moisture.

The growing popularity of underground spaces across Kent, unfortunately, means we are also coming across an increasing number of poorly constructed basement waterproofing systems and customers complaining of ongoing dampness.

‘The British Standard Code of Practice for the Protection of below-ground structures against water ingress’ or BS8102:2022, which was recently updated to expand the scope, gives guidance and recommendations on the best approach.

These standards were created with expert advice from, among others, the Institute of Structural Engineers, the Property Care Association, the Construction Industry Training Board, the National Housebuilding Council and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

It outlines the three main tactics, which are:

Type A – Creating a waterproof barrier to the structure

Type B – Structural integral watertight construction

Type C – Drained cavity construction

We tend to implement Type A or C as part of our process, and we are committed to the highest possible standards, as outlined by the code of practice.

Basement Waterproofing Systems

The Right Basement Waterproofing Systems

Type A

So, Type A, which is Barrier Protection, is all about prevention and stopping the water at the source.

It involves the application of a protective substance, which can include anything from bonded sheet membranes to cementitious slurry to create a barrier to moisture.

The barrier can be applied externally during construction. Alternatively, an internal layer can be applied to prevent the water from penetrating if an external barrier is not an option.

The third option, which is also known as sandwich waterproofing, involves an external layer and an additional internal coating to double the protection.

Type B – Structural Integrity

This version of professional waterproofing relies on the materials used and the quality of construction. The emphasis is on reinforced waterproofing standards in the concrete or steel used.

The quality and precision of the build are critical, as most of the issues that arise from this form of waterproofing are a result of poorly constructed joints or cracks that appear as a result of human error.

Type C – Drained Cavity Construction

The final approach to waterproofing your basement is based on the premise that redirection is better than prevention, accepting the existence of water and redirecting its flow.

A cavity drain membrane is added between the external wall and the internal finishes that collects the water that penetrates the wall and redirects it away to a controlled drainage system. It involves a pump system to regulate the removal of the water.

All three processes have their merits and challenges. However, one thing we would always suggest is enlisting the help of a professional to ensure the quality of the finish. Each of the different methods involves high-quality work, finished to an incredibly high standard. The impact of DIY waterproofing on a property underground and the cost of fixing a mistake could run into the tens of thousands.

Benefits of Basement Waterproofing

Building the right barrier to water in your basement is critical.

The impact of water damage on your property could be vast. Water will attack the structural integrity of your building, probing at any weakness created by poor joints or cracks in masonry, emerging on the inside as penetrating damp, leaving stains on your walls.

Unchecked, damp will manifest itself as mould, and the potential respiratory health impacts could start to affect the residents.

There is no doubt that adding or renovating your basement to make it an additional room in your house will increase your property value. Therefore, it is vital you make it as watertight as possible. Otherwise, any potential benefits are likely to disappear.

Choosing the Right Waterproofing Service In Kent

Getting the right damp-proofing partner is critical to successfully waterproofing your basement. Securing the services of a reputable, trustworthy waterproofing company that is local to Kent and understands the local climate and economy will make a big difference.

As we mentioned, the BS 8102:2022 standards are a baseline to give you confidence in the service, so make sure your local experts meet these standards.

Ensure they have good case studies and examples of previous work that you can reference to reassure you. It is a huge investment and something that will have wider repercussions if it goes wrong.

If you would like to find out more about basement waterproofing solutions, then get in touch for a survey or a consultation, and our team will be happy to help out.

Leave a Comment