Skip to main content

Waterproofing and damp proofing are both methods of protecting your home’s concrete foundation. On paper, the two seem interchangeable, and you may be asking yourself if it matters which one you use. According to the International Residential Code (IRC), either damp proofing or waterproofing is required to maintain a building’s structural integrity. Here are a few key distinctions between the two approaches and why choosing the right one for your home is important.

What is waterproofing?

One of the biggest concerns for a foundation is cracking. Waterproofing stops water infiltration into cracks. It is the best choice for addressing the root of the problem and preventing foundation damage. There are several ways to waterproof your concrete. Waterproofing paints and primers can help prevent moisture and are common DIY approaches. However, the paints and primers won’t prevent water seepage through cracks and porous concrete. Additionally, they can trap condensation inside the foundation wall.

Exterior and interior drainage systems are more permanent, effective ways to keep your foundation safe. Exterior drainage systems are trenches that contain a series of pipes. They are usually installed at the lowest point on the outside perimeter of your home. These systems protect foundations by redirecting surface and groundwater away. However, they are susceptible to clogging with dirt and debris.

Interior drainage systems are the most popular route. These systems are the least disruptive method to waterproof your foundation. Installed along the perimeter of your foundation walls, these systems capture water from the floor/wall joint (“cove”) and the walls. Another benefit of interior drainage systems is that they address hydrostatic pressure. This is the pressure of groundwater forcing its way through basement walls or foundations.

What is dampproofing?

Dampproofing helps protect the integrity of a structure by keeping out moisture and slowing water penetration from minor cracks. It is easiest to install in a home during construction, although dampproofing coating can be applied after. However, it is difficult and expensive to do so. The mixture used in dampproofing is usually tar or unmodified asphalt applied to the outside of the wall. Unlike waterproofing, it cannot plug more significant damage or prevent water from seeping into cracks.

Which one should I choose?

The International Residential Code, which lists the building codes that regulate building construction, stipulates that dampproofing is needed for any concrete floor that is not already required to be waterproofed. A building foundation required to be waterproofed will be on a high-water table or in other conditions that could cause moisture. Depending on the structure’s location, either dampproofing or waterproofing will be legally mandatory. It is important to have a knowledgeable contractor who can inform you about your building’s circumstances. They can assist you in making the right choice between waterproofing and dampproofing.

Find the Right Foundation Waterproofing Solution for You!

With over 20 years in the business, WTX Foundation Repair has the knowledge and experience to design a waterproofing system that fits your home’s specific needs. Call today for a free consultation and receive a 100% lifetime warranty guaranteeing your foundation is protected for years to come.