Water will usually enter through the walls and floors of basements and cellars from the surrounding earth, turning them to wet or damp spaces. To convert a basement or cellar to some habitable or livable area they would need to become dry, this may be achieved by waterproofing them. Basements and cellars can be waterproofed by using some surface coating on their walls called wet basement tanking or by using a membrane system.
Wet basement or cellar tanking coatings may include cementitious coatings, bituminous coatings etc. The waterproof coatings may be applied or sprayed on the walls, they are generally applied on the inside of the walls. Once a basement or cellar’s wall has been waterproofed, some plaster may then be applied on top of the coatings. Waterproofing coatings may be applied on the walls and floors of basements and cellars.
Membrane systems like cavity drain membrane systems for example, are typically used in most basement and cellar conversions especially for older buildings or properties and for areas or locations with high water tables. Most membranes are usually made with high-density polyethylene (plastic). With a membrane system water flows from the membrane on the wall down to the floor, which would also be covered with a membrane too, and then into some drainage set up. The floor may also be covered with some chipboard and a layer of insulation or with a screed, which is typically a cementitious material made from cement and sand.
In a membrane system, the high pressured water that comes in through the walls is generally depressurized by the membrane, with the water losing its force and then dropping or falling to flow down to the floor. Water may be drained out through some natural drainage or with the use of a sump pump, sump pumps are usually necessary for draining the water out in most installations. A sump pump will generally run with the mains electricity, it should ideally have a battery backup too.
In addition to waterproofing, basements and cellars would also need to be adequately ventilated in order to control their temperature and humidity levels, since the areas that are below the ground levels of properties or buildings are generally prone to condensation. Ventilation can be provided with some air conditioning units in a basement or cellar.
Building and property owners or occupants will generally need some professional advice and help, in order to know or determine the best basement tanking and cellar conversion solution, that would work for their homes or properties and in their areas too. Waterproofing a basement or cellar will typically add more value to a home or property and possibly increase its resale value.
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