What is a Waterproof Foundation?

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  • Written By: P. Illsley
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2019
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A waterproof foundation is the underlying structure of a dwelling that is resistant to water getting in and causing problems. Water damage can be a serious problem and expensive to repair, so it's important to make a house as water resistant as possible from the time it is being built. If the foundation of a house is not sturdy and waterproof, then the groundwork for future problems has been laid.

A waterproof foundation is important because a strong foundation is what a house sits on. The downside to a waterproof foundation is that it is very costly. For this reason, there are building companies that will decide to cut corners in order to save money. The initial price of waterproofing a foundation, however, can prove well worth the money for the life of the house.

Interior waterproofing methods can be implemented if a leak develops in the foundation, but it is preferable to apply a compound to the exterior foundation surface when it is first put down. This can save on time, money, and headaches down the road for the homeowner. If a foundation is left unprotected, then water can easily find its way into the concrete and can cause cracks and weaken the support that the house sits on.


It is common for a homeowner to confuse a waterproof foundation with what is known as damp proofing. The two are not the same. Damp proofing is a process that is used to slow the length of time it takes for water to seep into a foundation. Damp proofing is performed by applying unmodified asphalt coatings to the surface of the foundation. While damp proofing is not the same as a waterproof foundation and generally does not have the ability to stop cracks, it can be very beneficial when it comes to putting an end to water vapor transmission.

To waterproof a foundation is to halt the infiltration of water completely. There are different kinds of products that can be used for the purposes of waterproofing a foundation. None of them are exactly the same. There are clay based products, urethane-based products, and rubber polymers and modified asphalts. Some compounds are much better at stopping the development of large cracks in the foundation than are others. If a waterproof foundation is installed correctly, it can allow for a dry basement for the present and the future.


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