Basement Waterproofing Methods – A Simple Guide to Different Systems

Basement Waterproofing Methods

If you have been shopping around for a basement waterproofing contractor, by now you may have several proposals that all suggest a different way to “fix” your leaky basement.  Why are there so many conflicting opinions?  Some contractors ONLY offer outside systems and still others only offer inside basement waterproofing methods.  On the other hand, you may come across a contractor or two that only installs their own “patented” product.  They might present a convincing argument as to why their system is superior.  “Patented” simply just means that they can charge a higher price because their claim is that they are the only contractor that can install such a system.  The truth of the matter is that no company wants you to think that what they do is simple or common.

Therefore, lets discuss some basic, common sense basement waterproofing methods that have been proven to be successful for many years.

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

An exterior basement waterproofing system is done in several steps.  First of all, we excavate the foundation down to the footer.  Then, the basement walls are inspected for any weak spots or cracks and repaired accordingly.  A sealer is applied to the outside of the basement walls and then a dimpled membrane is wrapped around the foundation.  A new footer drain is then installed and covered with gravel.  Once the soil is put back into place, the surface is graded to slope away from the house.

Exterior basement waterproofing is the best defense against surface water.

exterior basement waterproofing methods

Interior Basement Waterproofing

A true interior footer drain is installed in a trench around the footer.  The drain slopes down hill which moves the water towards the drainage point.  For this purpose, a sump pump system is usually installed.  There should be about 1/2″ fall for every 10 feet of drain pipe to promote a good flowing drain.  Once installed, the new footer drain is covered with gravel.  Lastly, new cement is poured over top of the gravel to finish off the system.

Interior basement waterproofing is the best defense against ground water.

interior basement waterproofing methods

Combination Systems

As the name suggests, a combination system would be an interior AND exterior system, both installed to work together.  This may be necessary depending on the type of water seepage problem your basement has.  We can utilize this method in certain parts of the basement, or in the entire basement.  It may be necessary to waterproof an interior portion of the basement if the area is not accessible from the outside.  Additionally, some homes may have an issue with both ground water and surface water.  In this case, a combination system may be the best bet.

Which Method is Best for Your Home?

These basement waterproofing methods have been proven to permanently correct water intrusion.  So which of these methods is best for you?  It all depends on where, and how, water is coming in.  Is there a “one size fits all” solution that works for every basement?  No.  Every home is different.  There are different types of soil.  There are various ways in which water can enter a basement.  And there are factors such as age, quality, and structural integrity of basements and foundations.  For these reasons, it is important to assess the problem before determining a solution.

Pioneer Basement Solutions has been employing the above mentioned methods for many years.  We have a proven track record and our common sense solutions work.  Please explore the rest of our website to learn more about us.  Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our latest blogs.

Please feel free to contact us for a free inspection (homeowners) to discuss basement waterproofing methods.

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Basement Waterproofing Company Reviews, What To Look For

Basement Waterproofing Company Reviews, What To Look For

Searching for basement waterproofing company reviews may not result in a clear picture. So how do you know which basement waterproofing companies will be a good fit for your basement problems?  As in any business there are different models out there.  There is the sales and marketing organization that offers a product or service, usually “unique to only them”.  There is the one trick pony that touts “there is only one way to fix a problem”.  There is the cafeteria style offering many options to choose from.  Then of course there are variations in size and age: working out of the home to national franchise and newbie to decades old.

The sales and marketing organization basement waterproofing company usually trains a team of sales people (we’re skipping the marketing team that gets the sales person in your door for sake of this conversation) on just enough of a few things to be convincing when selling their unique system.  Funny thing is, every customer they meet is a perfect fit for their unique system.  So they sell that system to every customer regardless of the need.  And there is the agreement the company had to sign on a corporate level to sell that system…and only that system to every customer.  If you hear “franchise” or “national” you know you are dealing with this type of company.

The one trick pony basement waterproofing company is similar in nature to the sales and marketing organization in that they sell the same thing to every customer they meet.  After all, there is only one way to really fix the problem…right?  Why then do you get different opinions from each company?  Confusing to most people without construction knowledge.  The truth is there are different types/ sources of basement water seepage and they require different solutions.

So if you have wet basement walls, the outside solution will stop water from entering the foundation.  But the interior system company says that by draining all the water from the bottom that will dry out the foundation…problem, solved a lot cheaper and easier.  But the water is still going through your foundation to get to the drain.

If you have ground water under your floor, installing drainage under your floor will stop the water from ever building up again.  But sealing the walls on the outside is the “right way to fix it” according to some.  Problem is new drains on the outside of the foundation will not get the water building up under the basement floor and no company will guarantee it will.

The cafeteria style basement waterproofing company will offer exterior only, interior only, combinations of both etc…  BUT BEWARE there are companies in the other categories that want to look like a cafeteria style so they walk you through the different solutions in a way that manipulates you to believe their “system” is the best one.  Common sense tells most homeowners if they have wet basement walls the best way fix that is to stop the seepage on the outside.  But they also have areas where water is seeping in at the floor level that is behind a garage or front porch, enclosed patio and you are not going to tear those out!  this is where combining solutions makes sense.  Or maybe all walls are dry and the original seal to the foundation does not need to be redone.  or maybe there is evidence of water under the basement floor.

So when looking through basement waterproofing company reviews you will undoubtedly look for reports like Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, The Attorney General etc…  What you want to look for is actual complaint records.  Organizations that give a letter grade A through F have criteria for those grades that might not align with your criteria.  For example, a basement waterproofing company may have an A+ with the Better Business Bureau but have over 30 complaints.  There is no excuse for a pattern of complaints whether there are 5 or 30.  Read the complaints for a good idea on how companies respond.

You will be able to find basement waterproofing with not only no complaints but positive reviews as well.  You will have to dig to get to them though but the search is worth the effort to get a reputable company that will solve your basement leaking, and have a record of standing behind their work.

Call Pioneer Basement Solutions for a free evaluation and project quote.  Pioneer is a “cafeteria style” basement waterproofing company offering all solutions and combinations.  And we use employee labor, we do not work out of the home and are not held to any restricting contract from a franchise or national agreement.  Since 1979 Pioneer has a record of perfect customer service. basement waterproofing company reviews

water under basement floor

Water under basement floor best fixed from inside


exterior basement waterproofing

Wet basement wall best fixed from the outside

Hope this article helped you with basement waterproofing company reviews, what to look for

basement waterproofing systems

Frustrated by Comparing Basement Waterproofing Systems

Frustrated by Comparing Basement Waterproofing Systems

frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systemsMany customers tell me they are confused that they hear different recommendations from different basement waterproofing contractors and frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems. The frustration is that they feel if they interview three contractors they should have similar recommendations.  The problem is they don’t.  Each contractor can potentially suggest a different solution.  That can be very confusing for a homeowner who isn’t familiar with the different basement waterproofing systems and how they function.

What can cause you to be frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems is most basement waterproofing contractors are set up to “sell a system”.  They have a solution they like to promote, easy to train the field labor to install the same thing over and over.  And it is easy to train salespeople how to sell that system.  Or maybe you get a contractor that has a personal preference and they simply only want to do the one solution.

Let’s first discuss the contractor who simply has a preference for one solution.  Obviously they want to have work to do so every customer they visit gets a very convincing story of why their solution is the one for them.  For example, basement waterproofing contractors who only do exterior basement waterproofing tell their prospective clients that it is the only way to fix the problem “the right way”.  It make sense that restoring the original basement waterproofing system would solve the problem.  In a lot of cases that is true.  But depending on the problem it may not be necessary. (Hang with me and we’ll look at how to diagnose your problem and point to the best fix for your basement…which is probably why you are reading this.)

Another factor that can cause you to be frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems is many basement waterproofing companies have strategically constructed a unique “system” that no one else can offer (so they say).  They have a great sales pitch about how it works better than all the rest like “no clogging” “water table lowering” “super duper…”etc… and they have patents!  The patented system should be a red flag.   You can go to any manufacturer and have your drain pipe made a special color or shape, patent it and say no one else can offer the same thing.  But its still a drain.

Many basement waterproofing companies are really good at convincing their prospects they are “full service”.  They go through the routine of describing different options making two out of three either sound ridiculously expensive or inadequate.  So logically their “fill in the blank SYSTEM” is the best choice.  Its a card trick.

exterior basement waterproofing

Exterior basement waterproofing with dimpled membrane

Let’s talk problem = solution. If you have wet basement walls up high at or around ground level and or signs of water running down basement walls, exterior basement waterproofing may be the solution that is best for your foundation.  If you have chronic paint bubbling/ failure on your basement walls or chronically damp basement walls your best option may be exterior basement waterproofing.  These are signs your original coating on the exterior of the foundation walls is failing and dampness or actual water is seeping into the foundation itself.  Stopping that process from the outside is the best way to actually fix the problem. If your basement walls are dry for the most part or show signs of dampness in lower areas only, if you have water seepage up through the floor, exterior waterproofing may not be the best solution for your basement issues.







Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

Typical signs that indicate an interior basement waterproofing system would be a good solution are if you have basement floor leaks, cracks in your basement floor that are heaved up, and or water seeps in through the seam where the wall meets the floor. Interior basement waterproofing drainage installed under the basement floor relieve the “hydrostatic pressure” or water pressure in the ground that builds up around your foundation when the water has no where to go. There are mixed feelings from homeowners on whether waterproofing a basement from the inside actually fixes the problem.  After all, water comes from outside, right? Well not all basement water seepage can be fixed from the outside.  If your basement has water under the floor, interior basement waterproofing may be the only fix.  Water under the floor gets stuck there with out interior drains because the inside and outside are separated by your foundation.

Some customers choose a combination of some exterior and some interior basement waterproofing systems.  Maybe there is a wet wall or two that need exterior work but the wall between the basement and garage is leaking too.  Or maybe there is a large enclosed patio outside, deck or the like.  In these cases the garage, patio etc… block all surface water from getting to the foundation so the walls are dry. So no need to tear up the garage or pull the enclosed patio in most cases in order to end up with a smart fix by using a combination of solutions.


Hopefully thins information will help you be less frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems.


Pioneer basement solutions takes a diagnostic approach to first identify the cause of your basement’s problem(s).  get-arrow We will then review with you what we recommend to fix the problem along with any alternative solutions that will give you the desired result.  Then the ball is in your court to choose from the basement waterproofing systems which best fits your goals and your budget.

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No need to be frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems!

How to make a basement waterproof

How to make a basement waterproof

We just came out of what seemed like a never ending rainy season that kicked off after a never ending winter, which led to a lot of leaky basements and homeowners asking how to make a basement waterproof.  Firstly any basement waterproofing contractor promising to make your basement completely waterproof should be questioned and some homework should be done to investigate any BBB complaints.  Bottom line is that your basement is in a hole in the ground and no one can control mother nature completely.  However; short of natural floods that push water into basements through windows etc… you can actually waterproof your basement and stay dry when your neighbors are getting out the shop vacs.

So we should define what waterproof means as it relates to your basement.  Waterproofing stops water from getting into your foundation. Your foundation four the sake of this conversation is the basement walls.  So to truly have a waterproof basement you would need to apply a waterproof membrane to the exterior of your basement walls to stop water from getting into your foundation. If you have wet basement walls higher than the bottom row or two of block then that means water is entering your foundation above the floor level and the original waterproofing seal is compromised.  In this case you have a surface water issue and exterior basement waterproofing will actually waterproof basement walls and dry up your basement.

Wet basement wall

Wet basement wall / water entering high in foundation

Exterior basement waterproofing membrane

Exterior basement waterproofing membrane


interior basement waterproofing

Dry foundation walls but leaking through wall floor seams are fixed with interior footer drainage systems.

Now I may confuse the matter a little.  If your foundation is dry, that is if your basement walls are dry, but you have water that leaks through the edges of the floor at the wall – floor seam or up through cracks / weak points of the floor… then exterior basement waterproofing may not solve your problem.  You may have a ground water problem in this case which may require a different approach to dry up your basement.  Ground water problems usually show only after sustained periods of rain or fast heavy downpours.  The leaking appears at the wall – floor seams after these sustained conditions occur and may even continue to seep even after the rains stop.  This is because the ground water is building up around your foundation from below and has nowhere to go other than in to your basement until the water subsides to below your floor level.  In this scenario an interior basement waterproofing system will catch the water from below the floor level and prevent the build up, relieving the hydrostatic pressure that pushes the water in.  Ok, so to call it “waterproofing” is not the best definition since it is actually a ground water control system also called a hydrostatic pressure relief system.  The term interior basement waterproofing has become the generic label for these systems although technically it does not consist of a waterproof membrane.  Nonetheless, you will have a guaranteed dry basement with an interior drainage system if you have a ground water problem.



This type of system is installed level and is not sloped to drain

This type of system is installed level and is not sloped to drain



Not all interior basement waterproofing systems are equal.  Some systems are simply an evolution of the old baseboard gutter that the DIYers would glue to the floor to keep water from running through the basement.  these systems are channels that are installed level under the floor on top of the footer.  Level is the operative word here, level means water lays in there and creepy bugs love water.  Look for systems that consist of a true footer drain installed below the floor and is pitched to run downhill to the evacuation point. Furthermore any water that is building up under the floor has to push up into the drain on top of the footer to get to the drain maintaining the water level at a very high point.



There are always exceptions, meaning some basements need a little bit of a combination of methods to solve the problems and ensure a dry solid foundation.  Look for basement waterproofing contractors who do not sell a patented system.  These businesses train sales people to sell their unique system to everyone they visit which is the one size fits all mentality.  It is the only thing they can sell so they are very good at convincing unwitting homeowners that theirs is the latest and best solution.  They will even go so far as to say the are full service and can sell you any solution.  They will review different methods and point out why it won’t work narrowing you down to the one they sell…it’s like the old slight of hand card trick.  Look for contractors who are truly custom and demonstrate problem solving skills that lead to a solution or combination of solutions that fix your unique basement water leaking problems.

If you would like to learn more about how to make a basement waterproof contact us today for a no pressure inspection from our solutions estimator today get-arrow

Comparing Basement Waterproofing Systems

Comparing Basement Waterproofing Systems

Having a wet basement can be one of the most frustrating experiences a homeowner can have, maybe just as frustrating when comparing basement waterproofing systems available from various basement waterproofing contractors. Waterproofing contractors typically choose a solution or waterproofing method that they stick with regardless of the basement water problem.

You will find several basement waterproofing contractors that only install interior basement waterproofing systems and they often have a very convincing reason why you will end up with a dry basement for the least amount of mess and investment.  Interior basement waterproofing systems will collect water building up underneath the basement floor which typically leaks out at the wall and floor joint / seam.  This is a good solution for ground water build up and really the best solution if water is coming up through cracks in the basement floor away from the perimeter.  If you have surface water problems however and your basement walls are wet or leaking water this may not be the best solution for your foundation.

comparing basement waterproofing systems

Interior basement waterproofing system.

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System


Exterior basement excavation

Excavation of exterior foundation

ms_delta 1

Installing basement waterproofing membrane over the resealed foundation

Exterior basement waterproofing after

Neat and clean job site after full excavation!

Wet or leaking basement walls up high of mid-way down the basement walls are an indication that the seal on the foundation is no longer functioning properly and water is running through the basement walls.  This problem can result in mortar rot and decay of the foundation that will eventually lead to structural integrity issues.  The best basement waterproofing systems for solving a wet foundation wall is to fix it on the outside by performing a full excavation of the foundation to the very bottom.  Exterior basement waterproofing systems should consist of a coating on the foundation walls, repairing cracks and weak points and a waterproof membrane installed over top.  Combined with new exterior footer drains in gravel that take the water away from the foundation this system will restore and protect your foundation for decades giving you a very dry basement.

The best basement waterproofing contractors are those who impartially offer all basement waterproofing systems and will evaluate the problem that is causing the basement water leak. They will then recommend the solution that will solve the source of the problem and any options you may have.

Pioneer is a full service basement waterproofing contractor established in 1979 with perfect customer service.  We evaluate the cause of your basement issue and only recommend what you need, what will best fix your basement waterproofing problem.


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Contact us today get-arrow to start comparing basement waterproofing systems that will best fit your needs.




Basement Waterproofing In Winter?

People often ask if basement waterproofing can be done in the winter and it depends on the basement systems being used.  Exterior basement waterproofing is where the perimeter of the home is excavated to the bottom of the footer most always with an excavation machine.  This type of work is messy and definitely fair weather work; however, exterior basement waterproofing can be performed during winter months as long as the weather is fairly dry.  In fact dry and cold is better than warm and wet.

Other basement systems designed to waterproof basements from the interior are performed year round with very little to no exceptions.  Interior basement waterproofing involves removing a small area of the perimeter of the floor to allow access to the footer from inside the foundation.  Interior footer drains are then installed to collect and direct ground water to a pump system that keeps the foundation dry.

Other basement systems are some sort of combination of interior basement waterproofing and exterior basement waterproofing methods that are usually performed all year round.  In fact winter months can be an ideal time to get your basement waterproof project completed based on availability of basement waterproofing contractors and dry weather conditions.  This will also prepare your foundation to stay dry during wet spring rains.

To learn more about different basement systems and what basement waterproofing system is best for your foundation, call today at 1-877-321-4889.