Basement Waterproofing with Epoxy

Many homes and businesses experience leaky basements year after year. The worse time is in the spring after winter accumulation of snow. There are a number of prudent things that you can do to improve drainage against your foundation like roof gutters, grading and improvement of drainage. The recommendations here do not replace that conventional wisdom. It is designed to augment and improve upon these conventional methods.

The following article will be 1 of 2. This one deals with Block wall foundations. The next one will deal with poured wall foundations.

Waterproofing Block Wall Foundations with Epoxy

One of the nicest features of most of our epoxies are that they are virtually 100% waterproof. Water simply cannot pass through a good healthy layer of properly applied concrete, block, wood etc. Epoxy also has an incredible bond to concrete, cement, wood and many other construction materials. The bond strength of epoxy to concrete and cement is greater than the tensile strength of the concrete. That means on properly prepared concrete, epoxy cannot be removed without pulling concrete with it. The same is true about wood.

Considerations in Waterproofing with Epoxy

All this gives you the perfect combination to make a block wall watertight. There are limitations however:

  1. In an ideal world the epoxy should be applied on the positive pressure side of the wall, the outside. This way the pressure of the water is pushing it into the wall. That helps to mitigate the likelihood that you get so much pressure on the concrete block that you fracture the block. Typically by the time you know you have a leak you are already backfilled and landscaped so 95% of the time it is not practical to do on the outside of the wall. So you do it on the inside instead.

    Water exerts a pressure of less than ½ psi per foot of water depth and most basement walls are only 8 foot high, so you would typically only see 4 psi. So it is unlikely that you have a pressure greater than the tensile strength of the block. So doing it on the inside is typically the only economical alternative.

  2. The Product #1W Epoxy is much more flexible than the concrete block and mortar, but if the mortar or concrete gets any significant cracks in it, it will crack through the coating. On the other hand, the system is very easy to patch if it does crack. We also make a wall grade version of our crack isolation membrane Epoxy.com Product #32 – www.epoxy.com/32.htm – which can reduce the potential for small cracks (which are the most common).
  3. A clean substrate is required for maximum effectiveness – www.epoxy.com/surfaceprep.aspx. For technical support contact me at norm@epoxy.com or 352-533-2167

Installation of Epoxy Waterproofing on Block Walls

Once the wall is clean, you need to point-up (fill) any cracks, bad mortar joints, and larger holes that are in the block. Some people use conventional mortar and wait 28 days for it to cure as per the American Concrete Institute. This is a very inexpensive way to do it, but can be affective if done properly. A more effective way to insure the right results is the use of Product #2005 Epoxy Gel Adhesive – www.epoxy.com/2005.aspx. That insures that you have a tight bond over the cracked areas and have already produced a tight waterproof seal in that area. Also the #2005 Gel Epoxy is semi flexible and allows more movement before cracking that conventional grout. The #2005 allows your coating to be installed the day after the #2005 is applied.

Once the cracks and holes are repaired, much of your work is done. You simply apply 1 coat of Epoxy.com Product #899 – www.epoxy.com/899.aspx – Epoxy Primer and allow to dry overnight.

After the primer has cured overnight you can apply the optional crack isolation membrane Product #32W – Wall Grade, or proceed to the coating below. If you do apply the crack isolation membrane 2 coats of the membrane are best. One advantage of the two coats of membrane is that typically you can reduce the number of coats of top coating that is required to seal the block. As you put on the membrane be sure to check to see that the holes in the block are being filled as you go.

Depending on the porosity of your concrete and if you used the crack isolation membrane above you will want to apply 2-4 coats of 1W epoxy wall coating. As you put on each coat check to see that the holes in the block wall are being filled.

Summary of Waterproofing Basement Walls with Epoxy

In conclusion: Leaking basements are a major problem to many structures in the spring. The easiest time to repair them is during the winter when there is little or no leakage. Epoxy.com epoxy coating systems can affectively and economically solve most basement leaking problems. The final product is a hard attractive ceramic like finish that does not require additional painting or other finishes over it.

Next Issue: Waterproofing Poured Wall foundations with Epoxy.

Additional Information on Epoxy Coatings

Product #1W (Wall Grade)  Epoxy Wall Coating – a general purpose epoxy wall coating

Product #2W (Wall Grade) Cemical Resistant Epoxy Wall Coating 

Product #32 (Wall Grade) Flexible Epoxy Membrane

Where to Start when installing epoxy.

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