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What is Floor Waterproofing?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated: May 17, 2024

Floor waterproofing is achieved in most cases by painting the concrete floor with a waterproofing paint. This paint is a polymer-based product that fills the pores in the concrete and prevents water from seeping through. A typical floor waterproofing job will require at least two coats, with the first coat being allowed to dry thoroughly before application of the second coat. Floor waterproofing is typically done to prevent moisture from entering a basement floor.

Floors that are not waterproofed can often weep water through the concrete and damage the floor covering. Walls are sometimes affected by the water weeping through the floor and being wicked up the wall studs. This can cause damage to drywall and paint, as well as to wallpaper. By applying the floor waterproofing, this problem can be solved.

Water is placed under extreme amounts of pressure underneath a basement floor and will tend to push against the floor until it finds a way through. The floor waterproofing paint cures this problem when applied properly. The waterproofing can hinder the application of tile due to the mortar not adhering to the waterproofing. For concrete floors that will have tile applied, check the manufacturer's directions and recommendations for the proper floor waterproofing product to use.

To apply a floor waterproofing product, the floor must be clean and dry. Most waterproofing paints have strong odors and the area must be well ventilated. Using a roller, apply the floor waterproofing in a thin initial coat, making sure to get full coverage. Apply the waterproofing against the walls and if possible, paint a few inches up the walls to create a seamless water barrier. Apply the final coat according to the paint manufacturer's directions.

Many contractors attempt to block water from entering a basement floor by installing a plastic barrier beneath the concrete floor. Thin plastic sheeting is laid down prior to the concrete being poured. This plastic is often torn by the weight of the concrete or by plants growing underneath the concrete over time. While the plastic barrier may provide some assistance in waterproofing the floor, a conventional waterproofing paint should also be applied to the floor's surface.

Water is the main cause of damage to a basement floor. It can cause severe damage as well as long-term dangers by allowing and causing mold to grow within the walls and below the flooring. Applying a waterproof coating to the floor is insurance for the homeowner that water will not be a problem in the future.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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