Dry Basements – Simple but Important!

A home’s function is to keep us safe, comfortable, and healthy.  When one of these functions is deficient, the other functions are compromised as well.  One of the key ingredients of a healthy home is air quality.  This is why dry basements are so important.  If a basement allows moisture to penetrate, mould is likely to form, causing an unhealthy breathing area.

Prevention of moisture infiltration is absolutely essential.  This is why we choose to use a Dimpled Dampproofing membrane to protect our basements and keep them dry.  It’s another way to Build it Better.

All basements have a coating on their exterior to repel water and soil moisture.  Often this coating is a bituminous liquid that is sprayed or rolled on to the wall.  Once it cures, it resists moisture and protects the concrete behind it.

Spray on dampproofing is common but not always the best choice
Spray damp proofing is common practice but not always the best choice

This works really well, as long as the wall stays perfect.  But concrete walls do not stay perfect in our climate. Our soils are exposed to freezing temperatures, which exert different levels of pressure on the wall.  We also often  build on clay that is sensitive to moisture, and will expand and contract based on the amount of annual precipitation and the proximity of deep-rooted trees.  Because of these conditions the ground constantly shifts.  Concrete is not flexible, therefore small cracks will form in the wall.  When the wall surface cracks, the coating on the wall opens up, which can allow moisture to seep in.

The solution to this problem is to install a product that allows the wall to move separately from the dampproofing.  This is why we choose a dimpled dampproofing membrane to cover our foundations.

Dimpled dampproofing membrane is a flexible sheet of divotted plastic that covers the wall surface. This protects the foundation from direct water leakage and also provides an air gap for water to freely drain on the back side of the sheet. Should any moisture or condensation get in between the sheet and the wall, the water runs down the sheet and into the perimeter drainage pipe.  It’s double protection.

We also use Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) for our foundations.  These foam blocks are stacked and filled with concrete and include a steel reinforcing grid.  This grid keeps the wall structurally sound and keeps any small wall cracks from expanding.  The foam contains no HFC blowing agents and any waste is recyclable.  The end result is a very well insulated, dry, and strong foundation, which keeps the homeowners safe, comfortable, and healthy.

Another way to Build it Better!

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