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waterproofing block poured foundation wall
Basement Construction
Why is there water in my basement?
The first step in basement construction starts with the contractor excavating dirt, clay and rock to make room for the footing and foundation walls and finishing off with the basement floor.

The footing is a strip of concrete usually around 12" x 24" (this varies by local code and age of the home) that is poured around the perimeter of the house or building. Once dry the foundation wall is built on top of it. Most modern construction uses hollow "cinder" block or solid poured concrete walls.

After the foundation walls have been built the floor is poured last, this is typically 4 inches thick and poured as a solid unit.

water in basement
This basement has a block wall and is typical of what we see everyday.

Initially this building had a layer of asphalt and plastic sheeting applied on the exterior foundation wall and a drain tile system install on the interior underneath the floor.

waterproofing foundation
waterproofing poured wall
This block wall is finished and capped and is ready for dirt to be backfilled against the wall.

Usually a coating of aspalt is sprayed or brushed over the unsealed block and, if the customer is lucky, the contractor will put a sheet of plastic over the surface for minimal water protection.

Poured walls are built as one unit. Forms are built and concrete is poured in the forms creating a single solid wall. Once dry, the forms are removed and reused on another project. Newer syroform ICF forms are left in place and provide some insulation for the finished house.

This wall has been coated with asphalt for minimal water protection.

Poured Wall
Poured Walls Leak When:
  • Metal tie-rods left in concrete rust through
  • Structure settles creating cracks
  • Damage from outside such as roots or bad drainage
  • Water works it's way around the footing
  • Wet concrete isn't vibrated to remove voids and air pockets
  • High water table pushes water up through floor
  • Contractor doesn't pour concrete in timely manner
  • Walls are backfilled too soon when new, cracking mortar and blocks
Sump Pumps Fail When:
  • Man-made waterproofing materials live out their lifespan
  • Improper slope of drain tile system does not allow water to reach pump
  • Pump discharge is too close to house allowing water to recirculate back into walls
  • Hollow foundation wall blocks fill with dirt and sand,not allowing water to properly drain into drain tile system
  • Power outage causes pump failure
  • High mineral content clogs pump and pipe system
  • Pump does not have periodic maintanance
Block Walls Leak When:
  • Mortar and block is exposed to water for long periods of time
  • Structure settles creating cracks
  • Damage from outside such as roots or improper drainage
  • Hollow block cores fill with water from improper drainage
  • Water works it's way around the footing coming up through the floor
  • Walls are backfilled too soon when new, cracking mortar and blocks
  • High water table pushes water up through floor
  • Wet ground freezes, over time the expansion and contraction of the ground cracks the wall
drain tile not working
This hollow block wall is full of water. The hole is about three feet above the floor. In most block walls the cores are interconnected allowing the water to easily travel between them.
asphalt foam waterproofing
A common misconception is that spraying or brushing asphalt will waterproof a basement.

Asphalt is considered "dampproofing" meaning it will help with minimal amounts of water. It also doesn't have the ability to bridge cracks when they develop. With a lifespan around four years, asphalt develops cracks and crumbles off the wall

leaky basement
Don't under estimate your spigots, spraying water like this photo can cause a lot of damage to your basement.

Once the water gets in, it's hard to stop it. We injected hydroclay around this area to keep the water away from the foundation.

Copyright 2003-2013 Great Lakes Waterproofing Company

Great Lakes Waterproofing serves the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota

Great Lakes Waterproofing serves the cities of Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Richfield, Burnsville, Lakeville, Hudson, Saint Cloud, Duluth, Eau Claire, Stillwater, Bloomington, Rochester, Long Lake, Wayzata, Minnetonka, South Saint Paul, Woodbury, Highland Park, Savage, Faribault, Elko, Lake Elmo, Maple Grove, Mound, Moundsview, Roseville, Osseo, Cottage Grove, Afton, Falcon Heights, Green Bay, Hastings, Red Wing, Farmington, River Falls, Rosemont, Prior Lake, Chanhassen, Chaska, New Brighton, Hutchinson, Big Lake, Forest Lake, New Richmond, Sommerset, Rogers, Elk River, Blaine

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