What is Exterior Waterproofing?

Autumn Rivers

Exterior waterproofing can keep walls, doors, and a home's foundation safe from moisture and the damage it can cause. The majority of exterior waterproofing involves basements, but of course any structure that is vulnerable to moisture from the outdoors can be waterproofed. There are several methods to protect buildings and houses from moisture, but most involve simply applying a professional product.

A person waterproofing a house.
A person waterproofing a house.

To avoid the large expenses usually associated with water damage, such as wall staining, mildew, mold growth, and wood warping, a home needs to be treated with waterproofing product. This is often done when it is built, but some buildings or houses either were never waterproofed, or need it done again several years later. Additionally, ensuring that the dirt or cement surrounding the structure slopes away from the house, rather than toward it, is an important component in exterior waterproofing. The area around it might need to be graded so that it does not direct water toward the structure.

Waterproofing exterior wood keeps a home safe from moisture and surface damage.
Waterproofing exterior wood keeps a home safe from moisture and surface damage.

Waterproofing around windows and doors is the first place to start. It involves removing old, cracked sealant and replacing it with silicone caulking. The same can be done along roof vents. This is likely the simplest part of exterior waterproofing, as it just requires a tube of caulk and maybe a little elbow grease.

Other components might require hiring a professional. To help underground structures avoid water damage, such as in basement waterproofing, it is important to remember that the area is likely surrounded by moist soil. Any moisture can get under the building and weaken the foundation, which can drastically reduce stability. Since foundation waterproofing involves excavating under the structure, the majority of building owners and homeowners alike prefer to hire a specialist company to do the work.

Wall waterproofing is typically easier than the foundation variety, as most products simply need to be mixed with water and sprayed onto the surface. Most wall waterproofing solutions will not adhere to painted walls, so they will need to be sanded before it is applied. Such products can typically also be sprayed on the floor, and should be used generously near the bottom of the wall, where the risk of moisture is usually greater.

Waterproofing solutions are made from a variety of products. They range from clay and asphalt to rubber and urethane. They may be sprayed onto the area, rubbed on, or put down in sheets. No matter which type of product is used, exterior waterproofing can help protect both a structure's integrity and the owner's wallet.

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