Waterproof Exterior Walls

Many homeowners initially assume that they can take care of any moisture or other water problems by treating their interior walls. While these treatments can have a significant impact, the root of most homes' water problems are actually on the outside. If you want to make your home as waterproof as possible, you need to take care of its exterior walls.

What are the Basic Elements of Waterproof Exterior Walls?

In order for an exterior wall system to be effective, it needs to include:

  • Weep Holes
  • Flashings
  • Drainage Space
  • Drainage Plane

Weep holes are openings that give water a way to escape. The purpose of flashings is to kick out water. There are several drainage space options. They are air gaps, two layer felt, stuccowrap & felt or furring strips. For the drainage plane, you can either use housewrap or heavy felt building paper. Although it may be tempting to handle all of these decisions on your own, because they can be quite complicated, hiring a professional to help you with these specific aspects of exterior wall waterproofing can be well worth the cost.

Dealing with Exterior Water Issues

There are two key components to dealing with the impact of water on the exterior of your home. The first is keeping as much water as possible away from your home. Because this issue depends on a home's specific location, the details are different for most homeowners. However, all homeowners still share the same basic goal. In most cases, the best way to accomplish it is by creating a trench next to your home's foundation. Depending on your specific situation, this trench will be between one and three feet deep.

After you dig the trench, you will want to install a french drain. This perforated drain will carry water away from your home's foundation. You can cover the drain with gravel. But before you actually install the french drain, the other key to handling exterior water is to seal the wall of your foundation. By doing this in conjunction with the drain, you will move most of the water away, but still make the foundation resistant to the small amount that remains around it.

Using a Waterproof Membrane

If you want to fully waterproof your home's exterior, there is one more step you should strongly consider completing. This step is adding a waterproof membrane to your exterior walls. The reason this is such an effective way to waterproof your exterior walls is because it won't be impacted by temperature changes or ongoing water exposure. While it does take some work to install a waterproof membrane, it's actually fairly easy when you take into account the positive impact it will have on your exterior walls.

The basic installation process involves digging out space next to your walls. Once you have room to work, you can clean off the walls. After patching any visible cracks, you will be able to apply foundation sealer, followed by the membrane's reinforced polyethene sheet. Once the membrane is installed, your exterior walls will be fully waterproofed.





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