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Tar Coating: An Inefficient Exterior Basement Waterproofing Method

basement wall waterproofing tar coating alternative

Ensuring your foundation is waterproof is a wise investment. Concrete foundation walls are durable but not waterproof, and leaks pose a significant concern for basements. While tar coating is a common maintenance practice, it can deteriorate over time, leaving your home vulnerable to water damage.

This page explains tar coatings, their applications, and alternative basement waterproofing measures.

Tar Coating: What is it? 

Tar coating, known as asphalt coating, is a black, asphalt-like waterproofing material applied to basement foundation walls. It creates a barrier against moisture intrusion, though it has limitations, and more effective solutions are available. Long-term waterproofing solutions require professional expertise and methods, like vapor barriers and drainage systems.

How to Apply Tar Coating to the Foundation 

Tar coating applications require several steps, including: 

  • Ensure the wall is clean and free of dust, debris, and loose particles.
  • Repair and seal wall cracks and holes before application.
  • Apply the tar coating in even strokes, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Allow the tar coating to dry completely for at least 24 hours.

Tar coating offers temporary protection. Contact a foundation repair expert for long-term waterproofing solutions.

Tar Coating Limitations

The effectiveness of tar coating on a foundation wall depends on several factors:

  • Surface Preparation: Ensure the wall surface is clean, dry, and debris-free for optimal adhesion.
  • Application Conditions: The applied coating’s temperature, humidity, and thickness impact drying time and effectiveness.
  • Wall Moisture: Do not apply tar coating to a wet or damp basement wall.
  • Climate: Regional climate influences drying times and the overall lifespan of the tar coating.

Remember: Tar coating applications are temporary and do not address the underlying causes of basement moisture or damage. Always follow manufacturer instructions. Want a permanent, safe solution instead? Contact JES Foundation Repair for a free inspection and long-term basement waterproofing methods.

Tar Coating: The Pros and Cons

Before opting for tar coating applications, consider the pros and cons.

The Pros: 

Hot-mopped and self-adhesive tar coating applications create a barrier preventing some moisture intrusion. However, it has limitations as a long-term basement waterproofing solution. Over time, tar coating can degrade and may require reapplication. Long-lasting results are achieved with professional solutions from a foundation waterproofing expert.

The Cons: 

Tar fumes released during application, especially with hot-mopping, are toxic and can irritate the skin and lungs. It’s best to leave tar coating to professionals with the proper safety equipment. Compared to some penetrating sealants, tar coating can limit the permeability of concrete and may require reapplication due to wear.

Foundation Waterproofing Alternatives  

Foundation experts implement professional waterproofing solutions for long-term moisture relief. These include:

Contact a foundation waterproofing expert like JES Foundation Repair for a free inspection and customized waterproofing options.

JES Foundation Repair: Professional Waterproofing Solutions

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JES proudly offers homeowners in Virginia, DC, Maryland, and North Carolina trusted waterproofing solutions. Our experienced team protects your home with comprehensive repairs addressing moisture at the core.

Contact JES Foundation Repair for a free inspection and quote today!

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    Basement Waterproofing FAQs

    JES Foundation Repair offers a wide number of drainage systems that can be installed within your basement for efficient moisture and water control. Arguably one of the most important drainage systems are sump pumps: basins that can intake large amounts of water found in and around your home and redirect this water elsewhere so that you do not experience leaks or floods. The SafeDri™ ProPlus 330 is the most basic model, and the SafeDri™ UltraPro Triple Sump Pump System has an additional pump for heavy duty jobs. Homeowners also have the option of the SafeDri™ ProPlus with Battery Backup System, which includes a battery backup that kicks into gear in the event of a power failure.

    If you notice that water is entering your basement from any doorway openings, the BasementGutter™ Grated Drain Pipe is the solution for you. It is installed directly into the floor at any entryway, therefore capturing any water that may enter your basement through them. The holes of the grate are also small enough to block larger pieces of debris from entering, and even then, the drain pipe is easy to clean. Another option is the BasementGutter™ Interior Drain System, which lines the perimeter of your basement that is both resistant to being clogged and non-invasive to your space.

    JES Foundation Repair also offers a basement dehumidifier that can remove 4 times the amount of water from the air than the commercial brands. It is also highly efficient since it drains on its own and can be adjusted to remove as much or as little moisture as you deem necessary.

    Basement finishing has become more and more popular in recent years as homeowners seek to make the most of every square inch of space that their home has to offer. There are many regulatory requirements around what is needed to class a basement as a ‘habitable space’. For example, you will need an egress window of a certain size. However, waterproofing is not technically necessary to finish your basement fully.

    However, it is a very good idea to waterproof your basement before you begin any finishing work. After all, nothing is certain to ruin your hard work and furnishings quite like dampness, flooding, and mold. The benefits of waterproofing your basement before finishing it are many, and the process itself should be very straightforward and cost-effective, unless there are serious underlying issues that must be addressed first.

    Generally speaking, waterproofing your basement will start with clearing all obstructions and debris from the space. After this, insulation will be cut to size and installed alongside vapor barriers to prevent moisture from seeping through the bare concrete walls and into your home. Depending on the space you have, a professional may also suggest perimeter drains and a sump pump system to make sure that your finished basement stays safe and dry in even the worst weather. Waterproofing your basement before you finish it will not only protect your hard work, but will make your finished basement more comfortable to be in.

    It’s recommended to regularly check your basement, especially after heavy rainfalls or during seasons with increased precipitation. Monthly checks can help you spot early signs of water intrusion, allowing for timely intervention. 

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    Shaye Glisson

    Shaye Glisson

    Shaye is an SEO Content Writer for Groundworks with over twelve years of experience creating helpful content across various industries, including home services and retail. She is a Gulf Coast native and writes from her firsthand knowledge of the area's hurricane and flood impacts on the local community. In her free time, Shaye enjoys exploring the local food and music scenes.

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