Solving Basement Moisture Problems: A Comprehensive Guide to Tanking

7 Sep 2023
It’s no secret that basements, with their deep-set locations and closeness to the ground, are prone to moisture problems. If you’re frustrated with that perpetual damp feeling or are worried about the potential for mould growth in your basement, this guide is for you. We’ll explore the reliable method of tanking – an effective way to keep your basement dry and comfortable.

Why is My Basement Damp?

Understanding the root cause of the problem is always a good place to start. Basements are typically below ground level, making them susceptible to water ingress. Water pressure from the soil surrounding your basement can force moisture through walls and floors. What’s more, limited ventilation and natural light make basements an ideal spot for humidity to settle.

What is Tanking?

Simply put, tanking is a waterproofing method used to treat and protect basements from moisture. Think of it as creating a barrier or a ‘tank’ around your basement walls and floor. This barrier repels external moisture and prevents it from entering the internal space.
  • Liquid applied membranes: This is a liquid solution that, when applied to the surface, dries to form a waterproof barrier. It’s a bit like painting your basement with a protective coat, ensuring that water stays out.
  • Cementitious tanking: This involves applying a thick slurry to the walls and floor. Once it sets, you’ve got a solid, water-resistant layer that guards against dampness.
  • Cavity drain membranes: A slightly different approach, cavity drain membranes create a gap between your basement wall and the protective layer. Any water that does penetrate will flow down this gap to a drain.

Tanking Steps: From Start to Finish

Taking the time to properly tank your basement is a thorough process. It’s crucial to follow each step diligently to ensure a successful and long-lasting result. Here’s an in-depth look at the steps involved in tanking your basement.

1. Preparing the Area

Remove all furniture, storage boxes, and other items from the basement. This will give you ample room to work and inspect the area. Before any waterproofing can occur, surfaces must be spotless. Dust, dirt, or loose debris can compromise the adhesion of the tanking materials. Using a stiff brush, clean the walls and floors, and consider using a mild detergent if there’s stubborn grime. If your basement is wet or has visible damp patches, use fans or dehumidifiers to dry the area thoroughly.

2. Inspect and Repair

In Marylebone, most bars and restaurants have a basement for packing or any other purpose. With the type of weather that Marylebone has, it is very easy for dampness to occur on the walls of the basement. While damp in small amounts is not as dangerous, when it accumulates it can it up an entire wall thereby causing the destruction of the structure. Some of the advantages of basement damp proofing thereby include:

3. Choose Your Method

The severity of moisture problems will help determine the right tanking method. If your basement only experiences mild dampness, a liquid-applied membrane might suffice. On the other hand, for basements with significant water ingress, a more robust solution like cementitious tanking or cavity drain membranes might be necessary. Plus, consider your future plans. If you want to transform your basement into a living space, certain tanking methods might be more suitable due to their finish or durability.

4. Application

Whether you’re doing it yourself or with the help of a professional, it’s important to stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This ensures that the product performs as intended. When applying the tanking product, make sure you cover every nook and cranny. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and apply a little more than to miss a spot. Depending on the product and the severity of the moisture issue, multiple layers might be necessary. Let each layer dry completely before applying the next.

5. Monitor and Maintenance

Once the tanking process is complete and everything has dried, inspect the area again. Check for any missed spots or areas that might need a touch-up. Every few months, especially during wet weather, inspect your basement for any signs of moisture. Early detection of issues will allow for timely repairs. If you’ve chosen to use cavity drain membranes, ensure that the drainage system remains unclogged. Regularly clear out any debris to ensure efficient water flow.

Advantages of Tanking Your Basement

Taking the steps to tank your basement isn’t just about saying goodbye to that clammy, uncomfortable feeling. The process brings a variety of benefits, both immediate and long-term, that can enhance the quality of your life and the value of your property.

A Healthier Home Environment

Damp environments are a breeding ground for mould and mildew. These fungi can produce allergens, irritants, and even toxic substances. By tanking your basement, you’re not only preventing the unpleasant sight and smell of mould, but you’re also ensuring a healthier environment for your family. Respiratory problems, skin irritations, and allergies can all be triggered or exacerbated by mould exposure.

Utility Savings

Damp basements can make the entire house feel colder, leading to increased heating costs in the winter. By sealing off this moisture, your home can become more thermally efficient, thus possibly leading to reduced energy bills.

Protection for Your Possessions

If you are using your basement for storage, moisture can be a real enemy. From books to electronics to cherished family heirlooms, many items can be damaged or even entirely ruined by persistent dampness. Tanking ensures your possessions remain in pristine condition.

Versatility of Space

A dry, well-maintained basement offers endless possibilities. Whether you’ve always wanted a home gym, a library, a wine cellar, or even a small studio for arts and crafts, tanking provides the canvas for these dreams to become a reality.

Added Structural Integrity

Constant moisture exposure can weaken the very foundation of your home. Over time, this can lead to structural issues that can be costly to repair. By tanking your basement, you’re not just protecting the space but also maintaining the structural integrity of your home.

Boosted Property Value

Home buyers today are well-informed and cautious. A dry, useable basement is a significant selling point. Not only does it increase the effective square footage of the living space, but it also signifies a well-maintained property. Homes with tanked basements can command higher prices on the property market. Is your basement in need of damp proofing? Contact London Damp Specialists today for all your basement tanking needs.

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