How to Waterproof Leaky Stone Foundations



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Welcome to Episode 1 of the All Things “Basementy” Video Series!

In this series Larry Janesky, owner and founder of Basement Systems, Inc., will be talking about everything related to basements, foundations and crawl spaces: from basement waterproofing, to basement finishing, foundation structural repair… and nasty crawl spaces too!

Basement Systems is the largest and most reputable basement waterproofing network in the world, with over 300 dealers across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland offering exclusive, patented and permanent solutions for wet and flood-prone basements, damaged foundations, and decaying crawl spaces.

In this first Episode, Larry walks us through the process of waterproofing a leaky basement with stone walls.

When people think about basement waterproofing, they think about conventional methods: exterior drainage (French drains) and exterior waterproofing coats. The problem with using conventional approaches to waterproof an existing home is that it would involve digging out the entire foundation. The excavation not only disturbs the landscaping, but also often requires removal of fixtures such as patios, porches, decks, sunrooms, sidewalks, and driveways. Row houses and homes with attached garages pose special challenges if you have to excavate the yard down to the footing as well.

For that reason, Basement Systems, based on over 20 years of experience in foundation waterproofing and structural repair, developed and patented a full line of products as an alternative solution to conventional waterproofing methods.

Some of these products were used to waterproof this home’s leaky stone foundations.

This stone-walled basement received a full WaterGuard internal drainage system, which was installed on top of the foundation footing and along the full perimeter of the basement walls. These drain tiles will collect ground water and a 4-inch PVC pipe will run the water to a TripleSafe Sump Pump System. The TripleSafe is a three-pump system that includes a powerful main pump, an electric backup pump, and a battery operated backup sump pump that will protect that basement in case of a power outage.

While block and poured basements usually leak from the bottom of the walls and the joint between walls and floor, stone walls are irregular and have a lot of small gaps in the mortar joints that will allow water to leak into the basement from any point of the wall that is below grade. For that reason, the walls themselves need to be treated.

This basement’s walls were covered with the CleanSpace vapor barrier, a 20mil, puncture-proof poly liner that has a built-in antimicrobial layer to prevent mold growth.
The vapor barrier was neatly tucked into the drainage system and will collect any water seeping through the walls, keeping it from leaking or evaporating into the basement.
The homeowner now has a dry basement, and can even lean items against the walls without worrying about the possibility of them getting wet.

If you have a wet basement, trust Basement Systems. Our dealers help over 50,000 homeowners permanently dry their basements each year, and we would like to help you too! Visit our website or give us a call to locate a dealer in your area, and schedule a free estimate!

Did you like this video? Subscribe to our channel for the upcoming All Things “Basementy” episodes!

32 thoughts on “How to Waterproof Leaky Stone Foundations

  1. So what happens under the vapor barrier? Water continues to come through the walls and into the drain. Is that an issue? Wouldn’t mold start growing behind the vapor barrier?

  2. Old sone walls need to breathe and covering them will cause the wall to degrade faster. Lime mortar will deteriorate and weaken the foundation. Everdry did mine and it was a huge mistake. Looks like crap.

  3. This is a horrible idea. The true way to waterproof is to not let the water enter basement.. Who lets the water "seap" into a stone wall and then drain into a trench below. MUST BE DONE OUTSIDE. Then you preserve the beautiful stone without that UGLY vapor barrier. I"ll take your sale every day sir.

  4. I've done a few of these as a carpenter for clients. Easiest, best way I've found is first, make sure ground slopes away from foundation , if it cannot because of windows, not a problem but better to do so for at least 4 feet. Next get guuters working and taking water away from foundation. Then just chip out the old lime-based mortar using a small hammer drill you can buy at harbor frieght for less then $30 with coupon or use a regular drill, mortar is not that hard to chip out, use a small masonary bit so it will fit in small joints and replace with type S cement which has 2 additives, one for bonding and the other for flexibility which helps mortar not crack in future. Do not use additional bonding agents. Make sure to dampen the stones before appying the cement , very, very important to get a great bond, just be sure to dampen. I used a pump sprayer, you can soak them but then let stand as stones will absorb the water which is what you want. Once stones absorb the water and are just damp then apply the mortar into joints. Dry stones will suck the water out of cement causing it to shrink and not bond well. I use rubber gloves and just my hands and fingers to get mortar into the joints as to uneven to use any tools unless maybe your very experienced with the tools. then I put a 2cd layer which just filled in any unevenness in the stone face, then i did a 3rd coat covering everything including all the stone faces so no stone could be seen in foundation as stones are porous and could potenially become damp, to eliminate any dampness coat everything. When each step is curing (drying) i also spray just a bit of water on the cement to keep moist as this helps the cement bond better , make sure cement is just hard enough to not fall apart from the water. You may not have to do this as a basement likely is moist enough to to bond well but i did it to try and get best results. once done you can paint with masonary sealer type paint, i did that for clients but not in my own property and have not had a problem without doing the paint. Have not had any issues with leaks since or problems with the foundation to this day . Now, I have seen people just skim coat mortar right over the old mortar and it works but i have seen it not work such has in my property, some areas it worked others i needed to chip off the new mortar and chip out old mortar and that is a pain has the new mortar is tough getting off using a sledge hammer. took me and my friend taking turns, so i would not advise that method.

  5. How long should a basement pump last? My mom has to replace hers every year and her plumber says this is normal. I am not buying it.

  6. This is only a cheaper way, a few thousand dollars, to fix the problem. Outside is the issue. Yes the shrubs gotta go.

  7. I have this system. Had to be installed 4 different times. The system that catches the water also catches sediments that will keep it clogged and overall unreliable. I'm fed up and pissed that this continue to happen.

  8. i've done several partial versions of trenching the inside walls. enormous amount of labor. i bought a small ranch 8 yrs ago with the entire perimeter done. 130 linear ft and no outside entrance, so imagine the buckets hauled up the stairs. God knows what the cost was.

  9. I have a fieldstone basement wall. It only gets wet when it's raining. But I can't fix this from the outside because my house is 2 feet from the street! What are my options here?!

  10. I waterproof basements the exact same way but we don't use vapor barrier because it's too thin, we use delta-ms

  11. washing  out the dirt under the foundation…good job…no footer remember?  should have made one..every 4 ft… then dig afterwards.. 10k for this?

  12. The best way is to stop the water from coming in the first place, stop the water from infiltrating in the concrete

  13. This fix only deals with water coming through the walls. this channel system looks to be installed just below the floor. What about the water on the outside of the wall? Wouldn't it be wiser to dig to the bottom of the footing to capture the water there and thus releasing the pressure on the walls? The reason the water is coming through the walls in the first place looks to be water looking for a place to go. If the water was allowed to flow down the exterior of the wall down to this channel then into the sump pump makes more sense to me. how is this a replacement for French drains?

  14. Great video. I imagine this home improvement project is quite expensive. This is exactly what my 1900 home with stone foundation needs but I'm afraid to ask the cost.

  15. NEVER Ever put vapour barrier on a stone foundation… It needs to breath at all time… Parging is a band aid…. So if you are looking to buy a home that has parging the price goes down significantly….. You would be surprise as to what I have seen behind the so called bank aid called Parging.  Buyer Beware!

  16. Hey basement systems I have a 1927 house that has a stone foundation and was wondering what it would cost to seal it all up so it stops getting everything wet

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