2017/01/03

7 Waterproofing Tips When Finishing Your Basement

Waterproofing Tips For Finished Basements

Are you thinking of finishing your basement in the new year? If so, there are some crucial waterproofing tips to ensure your newly finished basement stays dry and free from water.  Most basements are below ground and therefore will always be susceptible to moisture.  Ther are, however, steps you can take and materials you can use to reduce the chance of a leaky and wet basement.

1. Use Mold Resistant Materials

If you can, try to use mold-resistant wood and drywall in your basement.  The wood is coated with a blue or green, mold resistant material and also has the benefit of being resistant to termites.

You can also choose a drywall that is coated in mold resistant material.  This type of drywall is not made from the traditional paper materials, but rather is composed in two different ways:

  • Homogeneous Drywall:  This is when the drywall is the same solid material throughout the panel with no layers.
  • Fiberglass Facing Drywall: This drywall has the same traditional gypsum core, but instead of a paper facing, the panel has a fiberglass mat making it more resistant to mold.

2. The Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

Before you use your drywall, you will have to decide on the type of insulation to use. The cheaper option is the Batt Insulation, the pink fiberglass insulation that costs about $.50 per square foot.

The more expensive option is the Spray Foam Insulation.  Rather than lining your walls with the fiberglass batting, this spray on foam material effectively covers every nook and cranny of your unfinished basement wall, making it a more powerful insulator.

Although there is an extra cost, the energy savings have proven to be 50% more with spray foam insulation. Families and businesses have chosen to invest in the more expensive form if insulation with the expectation of saving on energy costs down the road.

Another benefit with spray foam insulation, there is no need for a plastic vapor barrier as the material is resistant to moisture and will not absorb moisture the same way that the batt fiberglass insulation will.

3. Install A Proper Sub-Floor

Best flooring for finished basement

Once your concrete floor is leveled, flooring material should not be installed directly onto the concrete.  A proper sub-floor will act as a moisture barrier and keep your flooring dry and make it more comfortable to walk on.

You have a few options for your material, the two most popular are plywood with a Platon underlayment and the more expensive DRI-core style subfloor tiles. While the plywood method is cheaper, the time spent on the installation is much greater.  If you’re not the DIY type, but would like to lay the sub-floor yourself, you may be better off opting for the more expensive DRI-core subfloor tiles.

Install a proper sub-floor and you will be sure to have a warm, comfortable and most importantly, dry, floor in your basement.

4. Proper Air Ventilation

Proper air returns in a basement are easily overlooked.  Normally in the basement, you have air returns in the ceiling. The furnace pumps air out of the top vents when it kicks on and then pulls the air back up, creating a cloud of hot air near the ceiling, keeping the floor cold.

If you are able to choose the location of your cold air return, place it close to the floor to encourage proper air flow.

5. Upgrade Those Old Windows

If you’re planning to update the windows in your home, it’s easy to forget the basement. If the windows in your basement are older than 20 years, the wood frames can become brittle and start cracking from years of expanding and shrinking. This can cause large gaps around the windows and let out heat.

The good news: Basement windows are cheaper and easier to install than regular windows in the house. Taking the time to replace old, leaking basement windows can cut down on your heating and cooling costs.

6. Keep the Walk-Up Area Clear

If your basement has a walk-out with a submerged stairway, make sure the area outside the sliding door is clear and free of leaves and other debris.  By removing this build-up of materials, you will also avoid the chance of water collecting in that area and lapping up and over the threshold of the door.

In most cases, your walk-up will have a drain at the base of the stairs to keep the water away from the house. A proper drain cover can help to keep the drain free of debris, allowing the water to flow away from your home.

7. Choose the Right Type of Flooring

When choosing your flooring material, be mindful of the inevitability of moisture.  Most basements are below ground, and moisture will always rise up through the ground.  Therefore, it is not recommended to use hardwood, as it is most susceptible to moisture.

Carpeting, ceramic tiles, laminate and vinyl flooring all provide great options.  It really depends on what you plan to use your basement for and what is going to be the best fit for your purpose.

Ceramic tiles are durable and will stand up to moisture and flooding but are very cold and hard on the feet. Whereas carpet is warm and cozy, but will not withstand water of any kind.

Vinyl is a good option as there are new types that look just like hardwood but will stand up well to water and moisture.  Another benefit is that vinyl can be used without having to install a sub-floor.

With proper planning and the right materials, you will have a wonderful basement space to enjoy for years to come.

Related: Top 10 Questions To Ask Your Waterproofing Contractor


RCC Waterproofing and Foundation Repairs has been servicing Ontario customers for 96 years. Their repairs have outlived lifetime warranties by at least two times. The company provides professionally trained sales representatives to view, assess and quote on repairs. The installers are employees of RCC and most have long term working relationships. RCC carries full insurance including WSIB coverage and HST registration.

RCC Waterproofing offers:
  • A Lifetime Waterproofing Guarantee!
  • 24-hour emergency services for Ontario residences
  • Fully trained technical sales representatives to view, assess and quote the repair
  • 96 years of third-generation family success both in products and services and superb warranty
  • Full-service options, providing either exterior or interior repairs depending on issues, location, and structure
  • A successful record of servicing over 75,000 customers

To learn more, contact RCC Waterproofing at 416-747-1920 or Toll-Free 1-888-766-2071 or Contact RCC for a Free Inspection