Just like a paper cut vs. a broken arm, some problems can be handled yourself. Others are best left up to professionals. Basement waterproofing is like that. How do you know what you can handle on your own and when you need to grab the phone and your wallet? We'll look at 3 types of basement waterproofing projects and how "do it yourself" they really are.

Simple Repairs
Inspecting interior and exterior walls for cracks and holes should be included in your annual home inspection and maintenance routine. If you live with extreme fluctuations in temperature and moisture conditions, this inspection should probably be done twice a year. Small cracks can be filled with a waterproofing mixture. Cracks larger than 1/8" should be cleaned out and filled with a latex/epoxy cement. Bigger holes require a stiff mortar of cement and sand. While the material may not be expensive, the time required for thorough repair may be long. Be sure you have the time and stamina to do it justice.

If you are considering interior or exterior waterproof coatings to protect your basement, these repairs are necessary to ensure coatings are effective. Consider bringing in professionals if your property has been long neglected. Then, keep up with regular inspections and minor repairs on your own.

Waterproof coatings can be applied to lessen the impact of water that seeps in through walls. The hardest part of this job may be the preparation. Loose mortar, broken brick, paint and surface dirt should be removed. This may require anything from a wire brush to a sandblaster. After properly filling cracks, holes and joints, coatings can be applied. Coatings can last 10 years and should be inspected and maintained to be sure they continue to protect your basement.

Sump Pits and Pumps
If you live in an area prone to basement flooding, your home may was already equipped with a sump system. There are two parts to it: a sump it and a sump pump. A sump pit is pretty much a hole in the basement to which water flows into and away from your basement. If it wasn't, this project can range from a few hours to a few weekends and a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The next piece involves installation of a sump pump. If you're comfortable with tools, caulk and PVC, this part is manageable. It's digging the pit that will determine if all or half of this project is "do it yourself." Portable sump pumps are useful after flooding has started. Installing the sump system to waterproof your basement will prevent or at least lessen the amount of water with which you have to deal.

Basement waterproofing is one of the best investments you can make to protect the value of your home. When considering it as a "do it yourself" project, it is wise to know both the time and physical effort commitment you'll need to make before simply trying to get a lower price tag.