The Ultimate Guide To Exterior Waterproofing: Protecting Your Home From The Elements

The Ultimate Guide To Exterior Waterproofing: Protecting Your Home From The Elements

February 26, 2024


Exterior waterproofing is crucial for any homeowner to protect their investment from the elements. Water intrusion can lead to costly repairs if left unchecked. So it's crucial you safeguard your home.

Accordingly, every homeowner should have a basic understanding of exterior waterproofing principles. This will help you keep your home dry and comfortable for years. Proper waterproofing prevents mold and moisture damage. It also reduces heating and cooling costs. A waterproof exterior provides peace of mind. And protects your valuable investment as a homeowner.

This guide will provide you with critical things you need to know. It will cover properly waterproofing the exterior of your home. You'll learn about detecting leaks early and making repairs before significant damage occurs.


Why Exterior Waterproofing Is Important

Preventing water intrusion into your home is paramount for maintaining structural integrity and preventing the growth of mold and mildew.

Water entry can lead to decaying framing, peeling paint and drywall, musty smells, and potential health issues. Furthermore, moisture buildup promotes an environment where termites, carpenter ants, and other pests thrive.

Consequently, inspecting your home exterior routinely and addressing any deficiencies would be best. Foundation exterior waterproofing is particularly vital since basements suffer the most significant damage.

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How To Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

The first step is conducting thorough visual inspections of your home’s exterior. Walk around the entire perimeter, looking closely at the following areas:


1. Foundation And Basement Walls

Check concrete or block wall surfaces for cracks or holes where water can enter. Signs of past leakage, like efflorescence (white powdery deposits), should be addressed even if leakage is not currently visible.

2. Entryways

Inspect threshold seals at exterior doors and ensure proper drainage slopes away from entrances. Check for gaps at the edges of door frames as well.

3. Windows And Openings 

Caulking and sealing around windows, vents, pipes, wiring conduits, and other exterior openings should be complete and intact. Even small gaps can allow substantial intrusion over time.

4. Roof And Gutters

Your roof and gutters move a lot of water. Inspect shingles, flashing, drainage valleys, and downspouts to ensure no areas collect standing water during rains. Signs of past leaking, like water stains at seams, should be addressed.

5. Grading And Drainage 

Proper grading slopes should move stormwater away from structures. Inspect the perimeter of your home for flat areas or negative slopes that do not drain properly. Pooling water invites moisture damage.

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Common Sealing Solutions You Can Employ

Once you’ve conducted thorough inspections, you can pinpoint areas needing repair, sealing, or improved drainage control. Accordingly, the following sections will overview standard solutions.

Sealing deficiencies at seams, transitions, openings, and penetrations is crucial for waterproofing. There are several effective products you can use:

1. Caulk And Sealants

Silicone and urethane caulk remain flexible after curing, making them ideal for exterior use. Use sealant rated for at least 20-25 years of durability. Carefully clean and prepare surfaces so the caulk bonds securely. A backer rod can be wedged into wider gaps before caulking.

2. Weather Resistant Barrier Tapes

Specialty waterproofing tapes create an air and moisture barrier at seams and joints between materials. Products like Tyvek tape are porous, so walls can still breathe while repelling bulk water.


3. Hydraulic Cement 

Fast-setting cement mixtures quickly plug masonry cracks and holes. Slightly dampen the area first so the cement properly cures. These compounds expand as they dry for a tight seal.

4. Expanding Foam Sealants

Foam sealants are dispensed from pressurized cans, then expand to fill gaps as they cure. They easily mold to odd shapes and gaps. Look for exterior-rated products that resist contraction and decay.

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Bolstering Your Defenses with Drainage Solutions

In addition to sealing the building envelope, bolstering drainage and directional stormwater control is paramount. Even when surface gaps are addressed, moisture will still accumulate from rain and snow.

Therefore, implementing the following will help move water away from structures:


1. Proper Grading

Sloping soil away from the house at a 5% grade within the first 10 feet helps stormwater gain velocity and avoid drainage issues. This also reduces hydrostatic pressure and moisture accumulation along foundation walls. Re-grading and adding fill soil might be necessary to achieve positive drainage. 

2. Gutter And Downspout Adjustments

Inspect how roof drainage is handled. Clogged or leaking gutters cause water to spill down walls. Downspouts emptying too close to the building concentrate drainage at the foundation. Extend downspout extensions 5-6 feet from the house, with splash blocks to disperse the flow.

3. French Drains And Catch Basins

Where drainage volumes overwhelm surface solutions, French drains and catch basins collect and redirect stormwater away from problem areas through subsurface pipes. These are installed along foundations, hillsides, or low areas prone to puddling moisture.

4. Sump Pits And Pumps

At basements and crawl spaces lacking gravity drainage, sump pits collect subsurface moisture moving through soils and foundation walls. A sump pump automatically evacuates water from the pit to the outdoors before levels get too high.

5. Paved Surfaces And Landscaping

For driveways, patios, and walkways along the foundation, use permeable paving and reduce compacted clay soils so rain can permeate the ground rather than running off toward buildings. Strategic landscaping also channels water away with berms, swales, rain gardens, and smart planting bed layouts.

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Final Thoughts

Safeguarding your home against exterior moisture requires diligence and routine maintenance. While addressing deficiencies might seem tedious, consider the alternative expenses and headaches caused by water damage, mold growth, and structural issues over time.

Thus, stay attentive through regular inspections and don't allow small cracks or drainage problems to linger. Subsequently, your future self will be thankful you did. With a comprehensive waterproofing strategy customized to your home’s unique needs, you can effectively protect your valuable investment against the elements for years.




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April 12, 2024

Thanks to these excellent insights, Homeowners can now gain a comprehensive understanding of exterior waterproofing, including proper drainage techniques and material selection.

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