While trace amounts of moisture are not a problem, water that can physically pass through the concrete and drip through the walls will lead to mold and mildew build-up and dampness. A lot of times basements will not completely flood, but they will have seepage. Seepage occurs when water creeps in through the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete thus soaking into the finished walls and carpets. Seepage usually occurs through small cracks in a basement foundation or through extremely porous concrete blocks.
The best way to remediate and prevent water absorption is to use a basement waterproofing sealer. In order to figure out the best basement waterproofing sealer, we first must assess the situation: Are you currently experiencing active water seepage or water damage? If so, there are a few steps you need to take before you can begin to think about sealing your concrete.
- Where is the water coming from? If you notice the water is leaking from a crack, you must first seal the crack. Is it a horizontal or vertical crack? Is the leak coming from a seam or an expansion joint? Contact a concrete crack repair kit specialist or seal the crack yourself with a crack repair product.
- Determine how much moisture is present in the concrete itself by performing a Calcium Chloride Test. Once the cracks are sealed and you have determined how much moisture is present in your basement, a sealer can be chosen and applied to protect the concrete from future water damage.
- If the moisture in the concrete is greater than 3 pounds yet less than 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours per ASTM F1869, a moisture vapor barrier coating is going to the best option.
- If the moisture in the concrete is less than 4% by a concrete moisture meter you can use a penetrating concrete sealer. Penetrating concrete sealers are also great for preventatively sealing concrete basements.
In order to determine how much moisture is present it is best to perform a calcium chloride test to determine the moisture vapor emission rate (MVER) of a concrete slab. To perform the test, a small amount of calcium chloride (salt) is placed under plastic on a clean piece of concrete. The calcium chloride (salt) absorbs the moisture coming from the concrete slab over a period of about 72 hours. The weight gain of the calcium chloride is then measured and the moisture vapor emission rate MVER is calculated. If a high amount of moisture is present in the concrete (over 3 lb according to a calcium chloride test) it is best to use a moisture vapor barrier coating. A calcium chloride test can be purchased directly through Amazon for about 18 USD.
When it comes to sealing a basement there are a few different routes you can take. You can hire a professional basement waterproofing company to come to your home, assess the damage and charge you an astronomical amount of money. Or you can use an easy to apply, industrial grade waterproofing sealer and do it yourself.
There are a few reasons why you want to seize the moment and seal your basement before winter. Spring brings melting, flooding and an all-around wet season. When snow melts, and the ground is wet, basements are prone to flooding, and water damage.
Choosing a Treatment
The easiest way to deal with basement water problems is, of course, to prevent them. By using a concrete sealer proactively, you can stop basement floors and walls from ever seeping water. While it is better to apply a concrete sealer as soon as possible, you can also apply it later, though you have to be sure that you properly clean the slab and remove all paint before beginning the application process.
If you are going to be installing flooring in the basement, it is best to use a moisture vapor barrier coating like the Vapor-Tek 440.
Alternatively, if your concrete has never had a moisture or dampness problem and you are looking for a preventative, cost-effective solution, use the Lithi-Tek 9500.