Do-It-Yourself has become an industry, with thousands of products, how-to videos and even an entire TV network dedicated to helping Milwaukee homeowners do their own repairs and home improvements.
As professionals, we think that DIY is OK as long as the homeowner recognizes his or her own limitations and uses the proper tools and materials. Complicated jobs like basement waterproofing can be difficult, though, and even a DIY guru like Tom Silva from This Old House has made some mistakes.
One of Tom’s mistakes is also made over and over by homeowners in Milwaukee and elsewhere and you should know the truth – that waterproofing paint is a waste of time and money.
Basement waterproofing paint sounds like a wonderful idea – just open up a can, grab a brush, slap some on the walls and you have an instant dry basement. It’s especially tempting for Milwaukee homeowners because of all those concrete block basements in your town. However, there is no waterproofing paint or other surface application that will keep water out of your basement.
Waterproofing Paint on Concrete Block Walls - Manufacturers of waterproofing paint promote its use on concrete block walls because of their natural porosity. This is particularly tempting in Milwaukee because the majority of homes there are built on block foundations and the high water table can cause seepage through the blocks and through the mortar joints that hold them together. However, if you apply waterproofing paint to your foundation walls all you have done is trap all that moisture inside the cement blocks and mortar joints where it will promote further deterioration.
As the cement block continues to absorb moisture, eventually it will seep through under the paint; the paint will fail, flake off in chunks and allow water in once again. After all, waterproofing paint is just paint – it has no magical properties, just a few additives and maybe a thicker consistency than wall paint.
Waterproofing Paint Doesn’t Fix Anything – Even if it performed up to its manufacturers’ promises, waterproofing paint would do nothing about cracks and leaks in the foundation walls. Manufacturers’ directions even suggest that sources of water be repaired before the paint is applied, which leaves the homeowner asking why, if the seepage has been fixed, they should use waterproofing paint at all.
Waterproofing Paint is a Waterproofing Pain – It looks so easy on the TV commercials, doesn’t it? Just open the can, dip in the brush and apply. What they don’t show is how the block walls have to be wire-brushed to get rid of dirt, water stains and mineral deposits, and then vacuumed to clear up all the dust. Then, the first coat has to be applied with one of those big, stiff brushes so you can work the paint into cracks, crevices and the natural texture of the block.
So, Mr. or Ms. Milwaukee Homeowner, after you buy this stuff and get a sore arm and a stiff wrist prepping and applying it, what do you have? A painted wall. It may look nice but it’s not going to keep your basement dry.
If you really want to ensure that your basement stays dry, you need a professional who knows basement waterproofing in Milwaukee. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been helping homeowners in southeastern Wisconsin keep their basements dry for more than 30 years, so we can probably help you too. Why not put down the paintbrush and ask for our free advice?
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