Basement Waterproofing: Keep “As Seen on TV” Out of your Basement


Where would we be without TV?  Actually, my question is where would we be without TV advertising?

There’d be no Mr. Whipple, no Tony the Tiger, no GEICO Gecko.  And, there’d be no infomercials – no Popeil Pocket Fisherman, no Snuggy, no ShamWow.  Sounds like a sad world, doesn’t it?

I happened to catch a TV infomercial a few nights ago for a product, though not of the legendary status of those mentioned above, that might inspire a few phone calls from people willing to plunk down $19.99 (plus shipping and handling) for what seems like a waterproofing miracle.   This stuff is called “FlexSeal,” a rubberized coating that comes in an aerosol can.

According to the pitchman, who’s no Billy Mays, this stuff will “coat, seal and protect” darn near everything. You can fix your roof, seal your gutters and, of course, waterproof your basement.

If you’re smart enough to be reading this blog, I don’t have to tell you that this spray can is not an effective way to waterproof anything.  I don’t mean to call anybody a liar, but you can’t fix your roof with it, nor can you caulk windows with it.  Gutters?  Maybe.  If you have brand new, squeaky clean gutters so the gunk would adhere properly and you put on enough coats, you might get a decent seal but you’d have to spend hundreds of dollars to buy enough of it at 20 bucks a pop.  There are better ways.

As far as using it to waterproof your basement, just don’t.  This stuff is no better than waterproofing paint and a lot more expensive. 

Why Waterproofing Sprays aren’t Good Basement Waterproofing Materials

No Good Under Pressure – If you spray a coat of some rubberized product on a masonry joint that’s seeping, it’s going to behave just like waterproofing paint, except not as well.  As I noted in an earlier article, consumer brush-on (or spray-on) waterproofing coatings just don’t pass muster – if they work at all, they just hold moisture in your wall until enough pressure builds to flake the coating off the wall.  You not only still have a leak but you’re stuck with a messy wall as well.

Too Thin for the Job – There are liquid waterproofing materials that work just great when applied by professionals.  For example, a bitumen-modified urethane product can be applied to the exterior of a foundation wall with a trowel or a heavy-duty sprayer to form a membrane that will prevent seepage through the wall.  A basement waterproofing company will apply a very thick coat of this material, which is specifically engineered for waterproofing -- big difference between that and a light spray of some good-for-everything goop.

Doesn’t Fix Leaks or Cracks – Much like waterproofing paint, if you wanted to give this stuff even a slight chance of keeping water out of your basement, you’d have to fix any cracks or leaks before applying it.  If you don’t, you’ll continue to suffer damage to your foundation and, if you do -- why not fix them right and skip the spray can? 

I understand it’s tempting to try to find an inexpensive repair for a basement water problem.  I also know that quick fixes like hydraulic cement, waterproofing paint and stuff like FlexSeal are nothing more than a waste of time and money.   Do yourself a favor if you’re thinking about trying one of these products:  ask a basement waterproofing professional to come to your home and analyze your basement seepage problem.  (The good ones will do this for free.)  Then at least you’ll know if any of these off-the-shelf remedies stands even a slim chance of working.

FlexSeal not for basementsBy the way, if you catch the FlexSeal infomercial, stick around.  If you’re like me you’ll get a good laugh when the pitchman drags out a rowboat fitted with a screen door in the bottom, sprays it with his product and sails merrily away.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to prove but it’s pretty funny.

Once you’re done laughing, why not call a professional to fix your basement seepage problem?  At U.S. Waterproofing, we have more than 300,000 satisfied customers and we are happy to provide a free analysis of water problems in your home.  Why not give us a call

Want to ask a question about basement waterproofing or tell us about your favorite infomercial?  Drop us a line in the Comments box below.


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