The Difference Between Interior and Exterior Waterproofing

Aside from the obvious locations, is there any difference between exterior and interior waterproofing?  We’ll discuss the differences between the two solutions and show you how they both can help keep your Richmond area home or business dry and stable.

interior waterproofing, exterior waterproofing

Buildings Should be Dry and Safe

We all know that your home or business is probably the biggest investment you have. Keeping them stable and secure is important not only for the structure, but for the people that live or work in them. Making sure you have a reliable form of waterproofing will protect your investment and the people in your life.

The Richmond, VA area can see high rain amounts, large snowfalls, and hurricane-strength storms. All of this water can damage your home and basement. If you think you need some type of waterproofing done for your building, how do you decide if you need interior or exterior waterproofing? There are many options to choose from and the best first step is to find a trustworthy waterproofing contractor.

However, you want to be educated before you begin speaking with a contractor so that you know that you are on the same page with expectations and that they are being honest with you. Knowing the difference between exterior and interior waterproofing and their proper applications is a start.

Interior Waterproofing

If water enters your basement, it is important that it is promptly rerouted outside and away from the building. Interior drainages systems usually consist of a system of drains and pipes that collect the water from leaks or under the foundation. This collected water is sent to a sump pit, a large “bucket” that is installed into the floor of your basement. The pit looks like a large plastic trash can and will store a large amount of water.

A sump pump sits inside the sump pit and pumps the water out of the pit and away from the basement. Sump pumps use a float switch to automatically start when the water reaches a certain level. You can also add a battery backup pump that will run if the power goes out during a storm or other reason.

In addition to the sump pump system, another solution is a vapor barrier. The vapor barrier used by Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry uses a thick vinyl sheeting to encapsulate the basement or crawlspace. This barrier can seal out humidity and moisture from the outside, keeping the area inside dry.

Cracks should be sealed to prevent water from entering the home or business. This can be done with an epoxy or carbon fiber strip. In some cases, property owners may decide to use all methods of interior waterproofing.

Exterior Waterproofing

The best way to keep your basement dry is to keep the water from even entering the home or business. Exterior waterproofing uses solutions that collect the water and move it away from the foundation walls. Clean, properly placed gutters and downspouts are the first lines of defense when it comes to water drainage. If the water easily flows to the downspouts and then drains five to ten feet away from the foundation, that will go a long way to keeping water out of the basement.

Another solution, the waterproof membrane is similar to the vapor barrier. This sheeting is installed around the exterior of the foundation walls. The membrane seals out moisture, preventing the concrete walls from absorbing it or allowing water to enter cracks and other openings. This can involve some excavating, but is a very valuable way of preventing water from entering your home or business.

Other tools for exterior waterproofing are drain tiles. A trench is dug around the building and the drain tiles are laid inside, surrounded by gravel, then it is all buried. The tiles collect water before it can reach the foundation and directs it away from the basement walls. This solution, too, involves excavation be performed.

In most cases, exterior waterproofing will cost more to install than the interior solutions, but it is also more effective. If you can keep the water from even entering your basement, you don’t have to worry about it. In addition, foundation walls can weaken from constant contact with water. If you can keep the soil surrounding the walls dry, you can help prevent them from losing their strength and stability. In the long run, the cost of exterior waterproofing is less than the cost of foundation repair, water damage, and health issues caused by wet basements or crawlspaces.

Interior and Exterior Waterproofing Solutions

As you can see, both methods have their pros and cons. You will have to work with and trust your contractor to come up with the best solution for your situation. Every building has its own set of variables that will influence the decision on how to best proceed. An experienced and educated contractor will be able to determine the most effective method.

No matter what solution is implemented, your basement will be drier and more stable than one without any waterproofing. Contact the waterproofing experts for the Richmond, VA area at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry today for your interior and exterior waterproofing needs.