Article No: 252

2009-02-02 17:12:30
Multi Purpose Basement Waterproofing Systems
By: Christopher Brooks

When waterproofing a new home, a forward-thinking homebuyer or a wise builder will consider all of the possibilities for basement leakage —and how to prevent it. Preventive considerations should begin with the planning of the house; even before construction begins. The fact is it’s not simply enough to have a dry basement. Other problems can effect a basement that creates moisture and mold, etc. The best thing is to research various manufacturers’ systems and products. One soon learns companies are making products that will perform more than one function in protecting your basement.

A big factor, of course, is where you live. Different climate, terrain, and weather conditions all play a role. “Climates are definitely changing with more extreme conditions occurring from droughts to flood and this can impact homes in two different ways,” says David M. Polk, president of Epro Services, Inc. in Wichita, Kansas, manufacturers of numerous products and systems that address the waterproofing needs of a basement under construction. “In many cases homes are subject to more leaking when it rains in drought stricken areas because the clay soil has contracted away from the foundation wall. So water accumulates when it rains against the foundation wall and as the clay soil absorbs moisture it creates a tremendous pressure on the trapped water, forcing it against the wall. It is important to have a waterproofing system that stays bonded to the foundation wall and can divert water away from the wall.” 

“Second, in flooding times, surface water levels are extending above the traditional grade or waterproofing so it’s important to extend the water protection up the wall beyond grade to handle this.”


“We approach new home waterproofing just like we do commercial waterproofing for libraries and museums containing billions of dollars of artifacts,” Polk says. In terms of products and services for new home construction, eproserve (Epro Services, Inc.’s waterproofing system) designs the system offering three primary elements:

• Use of environmentally friendly water-based products and some recycled materials.

• Redundant waterproofing barriers.

• Creation of effective drainage systems.

Eproserv has added more waterproofing coatings for at grade and above-grade areas featuring a high molecular weight polymer based material that provides waterproofing at above-grade.


Polk points out the most common waterproofing mistakes builders and homeowners make:

• Improper slope away from the house, allowing surface water to accumulate next to the house.

• Improper placement of planting areas around the home where they extend above the waterproofing. 

• Changing or raising the grade after foundation has been placed and waterproofed.

• The use of sprinkler head irrigation against the homes exterior walls.

• Improperly sloped and caulked decks and stoops. 

• Improperly handled water from the roof, either inadequate guttering and directed water from down spouts.
Such mistakes lead to the worst results.  “The most difficult mistake to correct that creates the most problems is where you have negative slope to the grade and grade has been finished above the waterproofing.  This exacerbates the water infiltration problem into the basement because it brings additional water to the foundation wall.”

Polk concludes, “Foundation waterproofing should be viewed as a part of the complete weatherization and moisture control envelope. The foundation exterior walls and roof system should be compatible and continuous.”


In a time of a slow economy and uncertain climate conditions, the ability for insulation contractors and construction trade professionals to use a cost-effective process for waterproofing is essential. “Contractors and builders are realizing they have the ability to utilize a similar delivery process for both insulation and waterproofing solutions,” says Brett Oakley, president of Mar-flex, one the industry’s leading providers of waterproofing products, based in Middletown, Ohio. The company manufactures a complete drainage and insulation system for basements, with products that channel water to footing drain/weep tile, protect waterproofing membranes during backfill, and divert water from grade to the footer drainage system.

“In today’s world, the era of a structure’s infrastructure being out of sight and out of mind is over,” says Oakley. “It’s not the place to cut corners. The simplicity of a sprayer process to deliver waterproofing in conjunction with the ability to provide insulation — both delivered by a single insulation contractor — will drive increased profitability across the industry.”

Professional insulation providers can augment their insulation profits by utilizing similar sprayer technology to provide the additional service and value of waterproofing for new construction, residential, commercial, or multi-family units at minimal additional cost. Using similar equipment for both applications provides a turnkey, single source solution that emphasizes speed and value, while minimizing contractor investment, downtime, and training.

Often a homeowner will think about basement waterproofing only in terms of keeping water out. Mar-flex offers more benefits than simply a dry basement. By reducing moisture in their basement, they can actually increase energy efficiency and eliminate the dangers of mold and mildew. The manufacturer offers a comprehensive line of waterproofing solutions—from virgin polymer membranes to fortified elastomeric membranes, in both water-based and solvent-based. Builders have a choice of Mastics, available in three grades – spring/fall, summer, and winter – to patch and prepare porous areas before waterproofing.

You’ll find different manufacturers’ products vary in their approach to preventing water from penetrating the basement, but a common thread is that these companies strive to offer multi purpose products for overall basement protection. Check out their web sites for more details on each individual systems.

Based in Bucks County, PA, Contributing Writer Christopher Brooks writes about the home – inside and out – for consumer and trade publications.

Epro Services, Inc.
800-882-1896 •

Mar-flex Waterproofing
and Basement Products
800-498-1411 •