finished basement interior

Tips for maintaining a dry basement


As a new homeowner, you should be aware of certain situations that may impact the performance of your waterproofing system and the remedies available to you under your warranty. These include:

  • A Functioning Drainage System
  • Proper Grading
  • Humidity and Condensation

Functioning Drainage System

A drainage system is typically installed shortly before or after the waterproofing installation. The drainage system may be a passive system, which drains to daylight, a storm sewer or to a sump basket where it is discharged to daylight or a storm sewer. After periods of heavy rain, you should see water flowing into the sump pit or from the drain line to daylight.

If the drainage system is not functioning properly, you will see dampness at the wall/floor junction because water is trying to force its way into the structure through the floor.

What should you do?

  1. If your drainage system goes to daylight, check to see whether the tile opening has been covered with dirt and is free from obstruction. Remove the obstruction as required. Consider covering the opening with mesh to discourage animals from nesting in the drain tile.
  2. If your system empties into a sump pit, check to see if the sump is functioning and that the drain tile is connected to the pump. Replace the pump and/or reconnect the tile as required. If you are in a high water table area, consider the purchase of a battery backup to ensure that your drainage system functions during power outages.
  3. If your drain tile is still not working properly, it is likely that your drain tile is clogged at some point. Your builder may offer a comprehensive new construction warranty, which addresses a non-functioning drainage system. Consult your builder's warranty. If no such warranty exists, contact your Authorized Applicator, who can arrange to have your drain tile scoped and snaked as required. There is a charge for this service.

Proper Grading

Good construction practice and your warranty require proper grading of the backfill. The National Association of Homebuilders recommends that your backfill should be graded a minimum 5%. This means that your grade should slope downward a minimum six (6) inches in the first ten (10) feet surrounding your basement wall.

What should you do?

  1. If your grade does not meet the minimum requirement, contact your builder.
  2. Ensure that the grade does not extend above your waterproofing. Water can penetrate untreated walls or brick veneer. Contact your Authorized Applicator to extend your waterproofing to the grade line. There may be a charge for this service.
  3. Ensure that the downspouts direct water away from your basement walls.
  4. Keep your gutters free so water does not splash against your basement walls during periods of heavy rain.
  5. Position sprinkler systems so that water does not splash against untreated basement walls above grade.
  6. If you are considering adding a deck or patio to your new home, consult your Authorized Applicator for the best way to ensure that your waterproofing system is not damaged and that sidewalks, patios, porches etc. do not direct water towards your basement walls.

Humidity and Condensation

A considerable amount of moisture is introduced into your basement walls and floors during the construction process. This moisture will escape into your basement and your basement may be humid particularly if it is closed up soon after concrete placement.

What should you do?

  1. Run a fan or dehumidifier to circulate air in and around your basement. This process may take several weeks or months.
  2. Check to see that your washer or dryer is properly vented.