Understanding the Importance of Masonry Waterproofing for Homeowners

If you are concerned about water damage, a small investment in reliable waterproofing is the simplest way to provide insurance against significant problems. The benefits of waterproofing are enormous, preventing moisture-caused problems and protecting from fire. Masonry waterproofing paints are formulated to withstand hydrostatic pressure, stopping flood waters and hurricane-forced wind-driven rain from penetrating foundation walls.

Moisture Issues

Masonry walls and cinder blocks are porous by nature, making them vulnerable to water penetration. Significant moisture intrusion can cause adverse structural, aesthetic, and health impacts. Fortunately, moisture can be controlled effectively with the appropriate design details and masonry waterproofing products. When water penetrates brick or masonry, thermal expansion can cause the surface to crack. This is known as spalling and can lead to further problems. The water-soluble salt compounds pushed out by the moisture can leave behind white, powdery, crystal-like deposits on the wall’s surface, known as efflorescence. Efflorescence must be removed before waterproofing and can be accomplished using various methods, including chemical stripping, wire brushing, or sandpaper. New high-performance masonry systems mitigate moisture intrusion using water-repellent admixtures within the concrete block and mortar. These systems offer superior moisture management capabilities, energy efficiency, and ease of installation and maintenance.

Damage to Foundations

Masonry foundations can be subject to soil erosion damage, resulting in lateral pressure against the walls. Such pressure can push masonry units out of their plane, damaging the foundation and pushing water into the basement. Large amounts of water can cause this damage from a significant storm, and small amounts over extended periods. Regardless of the source, the resulting damage can be severe, and once it occurs, the repairs are costly. The best solution is to prevent the problem in the first place by using a waterproofing system that will protect the walls from moisture penetration. This can be done by addressing issues that can lead to flooding, such as blocked drains, clogged gutters, or improper grading that directs ground runoff toward the foundation. It is recommended that the basement be inspected and any necessary repairs made before applying a waterproofing product. After the repairs, it is recommended that the surface be cleaned to improve the adhesion of the coating. Efflorescence, the white powdery deposits that can form on masonry walls, should be removed with muriatic acid before painting.

Mold and Mildew

Moisture penetration from the outside can cause harmful mold and mildew growth on basement walls. If left untreated, it can also be a health hazard for you and your family. Mold and mildew not only create an ugly appearance but they also release an earthy odor. Unlike ordinary paints that adhere to the surface of masonry, water repellents form an impenetrable barrier on concrete masonry walls that allows them to breathe. These waterproofing treatments can be applied on various surfaces, including concrete blocks, brick, poured concrete, and cinder block walls. Waterproofing for masonry is also essential for preserving the resale value of your home. A well-maintained and dry basement is highly appealing to potential buyers. This will increase the overall value of your home and make it much easier to sell in the future.

Interior Water Damage

While professionals must do most masonry waterproofing, homeowners can take on some projects. To start, homeowners should clean the interior masonry walls with a degreaser. Then, fill all cracks less than 1/8-inch wide with a polyurethane caulk explicitly made for concrete and masonry. This will prevent further water intrusion into the wall. Next, repoint all mortar joints to improve the wall’s appearance and ensure the joints are structurally sound. It’s also a good idea to replace cracked or missing mortar pieces. After the repointing and any repairs, the basement should be damp but dry. This is the ideal time to apply a masonry waterproofing coating. It’s available in white and latex base, with a sandy finish to match most foundation colors. A gallon covers about 75 square feet and needs at least two coats. Waterproofing paints are cement-like and adhere permanently to concrete and masonry surfaces, but they won’t work on painted surfaces.

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