5 Proven Exterior Waterproofing Methods

The Secret to No More Wet Basements

Wet basements are a common and frustrating issue faced by many homeowners. They can lead to mold growth, structural damage, and decreased property value. Fortunately, several exterior waterproofing methods can help prevent wet basements and save you from costly repairs. This comprehensive guide explores the secret to no more wet basements by discussing five proven exterior waterproofing techniques. So, let's dive in and learn how to keep your basement dry and safe.

1. Proper Grading and Sloping

One of the most crucial aspects of preventing water infiltration is ensuring that the land around your home is graded and sloped correctly. Doing so lets you direct water away from your foundation, minimizing the chances of water seeping into your basement.

How to achieve proper grading and sloping: The ground should slope away from your home's foundation at a minimum of 6 inches within the first 10 feet. This may require adding soil, regrading the landscape, or installing a retaining wall.

Benefits: Besides keeping your basement dry, proper grading can prevent soil erosion and reduce the risk of flooding on your property.

2. Installing French Drains

French drains are an effective solution for handling excess water near your home's foundation. They work by redirecting water away from your house and releasing it at a safe distance.

How to install French drains: A trench is dug around the perimeter of your home, lined with gravel, and fitted with a perforated pipe. The pipe is sloped so that water flows away from your foundation and discharges at a safe distance.

Benefits: French drains effectively manage surface water and groundwater, preventing it from entering your basement. Additionally, they help reduce hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls, minimizing the risk of cracks and structural damage.

3. Applying Exterior Waterproofing Membranes

Exterior waterproofing membranes are a durable, long-lasting solution that helps prevent water from penetrating your basement walls.

Types of waterproofing membranes: Several types of waterproofing membranes include liquid-applied coatings and sheet membranes. Liquid-applied layers, such as elastomeric and bituminous materials, form a seamless barrier when applied to your foundation walls. Sheet membranes, typically rubber or plastic, are adhered to the foundation walls to create a watertight barrier.

Benefits: Waterproofing membranes protect against water infiltration, ensuring a dry and healthy basement. They also help protect your foundation from external elements, extending its lifespan.

4. Installing Exterior Drainage Systems

An exterior drainage system is a crucial component in keeping your basement dry. It collects and diverts water from your home, preventing water accumulation near your foundation.

Types of exterior drainage systems (continued): Gutter systems collect rainwater from your roof and direct it away from your foundation through downspouts. Downspout extensions ensure water is discharged safely from your home, minimizing the risk of basement flooding.

Benefits: Exterior drainage systems effectively manage rainwater and groundwater, reducing hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls and preventing water infiltration. They also help maintain your foundation's structural integrity and avoid soil erosion around your home.

5. Waterproofing Window Wells

Window wells are a common source of basement leaks. Waterproofing your window wells can prevent water from seeping through your basement windows and causing damage.

How to waterproof window wells: Install a window well cover to prevent rainwater and debris from accumulating in the well. Ensure that the window well has proper drainage by installing a drain at the bottom, which should be connected to a drainage system, such as a French drain. Additionally, consider using a waterproof sealant around the window frame to create a watertight seal.

Benefits: Waterproofing your window wells keeps your basement dry, protects your windows from damage, and reduces the risk of mold growth.


A wet basement can lead to numerous problems, including mold growth, structural damage, and decreased property value. By implementing these five proven exterior waterproofing methods – proper grading and sloping, installing French drains, applying exterior waterproofing membranes, installing exterior drainage systems, and waterproofing window wells – you can effectively protect your basement from water infiltration and enjoy a dry, safe living space.

These preventive measures protect your home from costly repairs and increase its overall value. Remember, a well-maintained, dry basement is an asset to your property and contributes to a healthier living environment for you and your family.

Don't wait for water damage to become a significant issue in your home. Take action now by implementing these proven exterior waterproofing techniques, and experience the peace of mind of knowing your basement is protected from water-related problems. With proper planning, execution, and maintenance, you can enjoy a dry and worry-free basement for many years.

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