Toronto is a city full of history and with that, comes preserving the buildings of the past. They bring an other-worldly charm that we need to maintain so we can one day share our history with our grand kids. However, historical buildings come with a load of problems.
The Greater Toronto Area is prone to flooding and even moderate rain can flood a basement if its exterior and interior are not properly waterproofed. These historic buildings are the most vulnerable since basement waterproofing standards were insufficient at the time most downtown Toronto homes were built. This forces the heritage homeowner to find a qualified basement waterproofing specialist to assess the situation. However, you must understand the difference between exterior vs. interior waterproofing.
At City Wide Group, we recommend you go with the permanent waterproofing solution, which is the installation of an exterior membrane wall. However, some can only afford partial waterproofing by reinforcing the interior.
Basement floods and leaks
- When there is a heavy rain or snow melt, groundwater is created which then travels towards the exterior of your home’s foundation.
- Homes are essentially built in a big hole.So when the foundation of the house is finished construction, the ground around the house is never the same in terms of the soil’s level of compression. This means the soil around your basement’s walls is loose and makes your home susceptible to a groundwater leak.
- Another common reason for a flooded basement is not maintaining your gutters. Gutters can become clogged, and if the gutters are on a slope towards your house, then you risk water pooling at the exterior wall.
- Sometimes water leaks into the basement through broken or poorly insulated windows, especially if they are below ground level.
- Leaks can happen year-round due to the risk of the sump pump clogging. If the sump pump is not maintained, it can lead to a flood.
Why waterproof the basement from the inside?
Most floods are caused by exterior structural damage so why would you need to waterproof your basement from the inside?
- The cost of basement waterproofing can be as little as a few hundred dollars or can be several thousand. Interior waterproofing is also much less invasive. Homeowners in flood-prone areas should take preventative measures to protect their home, but often choose to take minimum measures against leaks.
- When there are major obstacles that prevent exterior waterproofing. For example, houses are too close to each other which won’t allow for excavating.
- Deficiencies in existing internal waterproofing or plumbing.
- The basement’s humidity level is too high.
How interior basement waterproofing works
In reality, interior basement waterproofing should be considered more of a water management approach because it addresses water that is already leaking into the house.
Installing a backwater valve is one of most effective measures to save your basement from flooding if your home is on a slope or in a flood-prone area. Installing a backwater valve prevents sewer water from entering the basement through the toilet or sink in the event of a major downpour. Consequences of sewage flooding in the basement are unpleasant and water damage restoration is quite expensive.
Installing a drainage system is the most complex solution for interior waterproofing. There are several approaches and materials that can be used. Some solutions are a French drain with a sump pump installation, rubber walls, water weeping tiles, and a drainage membrane. That system allows water to effortlessly escape without damaging the walls.
Annual maintenance is needed for your sump pump system. A sump pump must be inspected regularly because if not, it could fail when you need it most.
Improve your interior basement drainage system with the installation of waterproofing plastic sheets and panels on the walls. They allow walls to stay dry even in the case of a serious leak and facilitates flow to the drainage system. This measure is more expensive, but saves the interior without any visual damage.
Below-grade windows sealing should be considered when doing interior waterproofing as many basement leaks are actually caused by improper window installation.
Drain cleaning and replacement can be hard to do by yourself, but if you see a clog or smell mildew – it’s time to call the professional.
DIY waterproofing vs. hiring a professional
Benefits of DIY waterproofing:
- It will be cheaper since you only pay for materials, but that does not account for the amount of time it takes.
- Don’t have to worry about strangers coming into your house and can work at your own pace.
- Some minor waterproofing can be done by the homeowner, such as sealing the windows, cleaning and testing the sump pump, and control humidity in the home.
Cons of DIY waterproofing:
- You can seal the crack in the wall, or in the foundation with products available at any home improvement store, but it will only be a temporary solution. Most cracks happen because of water pressure from the outside and that’s what needs to be addressed.
- City Wide Group will provide you with a lifetime warranty for the waterproofing done on your home.
- Installing a drainage system should only be done by professionals because it involves the use of heavy machinery. If done incorrectly, it can cause serious structural damage to your home.
If you need an estimate for exterior or interior waterproofing done right and on time, give City Wide Group a call today. We have been Toronto’s waterproofing experts since 1961 and know what it takes to keep your home dry all year long.
Our Toronto office is located at 25 Hollinger Road, Toronto, ON, M4B 3N4. Open: Monday to Saturday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm; Sunday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Or give us a quick call to setup an appointment: 416-283-5500.