Cellar sealing or cellar drainage?

In Flanders, many homes suffer from a damp basement. Especially during autumn, winter and spring, many people notice that the basement suddenly gets moisture problems.

There can be various causes for this, but one thing is certain: we can get a damp cellar completely dry again without many problems. There are two different techniques for this. Cellars are made dry with cellar seals or cellar drains. Depending on the situation, one of these two renovation techniques is recommended.

In this article we explain exactly what the differences are between basement drainage and basement sealing.

Method 1: a cellar seal

In the case of a cellar waterproofing, also known as basement drainage, a kind of waterproof plaster is applied to the walls and floor in several layers. These layers then harden and together form a moisture-resistant layer. When choosing a cellar waterproofing, we always take the pressure of the groundwater into account. If that pressure is too high, a basement waterproofing is not the best method of moisture control.

Thanks to a cellar seal you get a watertight tub in the basement or crawl cellar that retains all the soil moisture. For old, poorly maintained cellars, a flexible cellar shell is usually chosen. A waterproof foil is attached to the walls and floor, after which the walls and floor are re-occupied.

Method 2: cellar drainage

In the case of basement drainage, the basement is made watertight by draining the incoming moisture through a drainage system. Basement drainage is usually applied in basements with high ground water pressure. Where that pressure is very high, a cellar seal cannot offer sufficient guarantees and a drainage system must be used. The advantage of cellar drainage is that the cost price is slightly lower than for a cellar seal.

A drainage system in combination with a silent pump is used for basement drainage. In this way the incoming groundwater finds its way to a central collection point, from where it is pumped away. All drainage pipes and even the pump are completely concealed in the basement drainage so that you hardly notice anything of this installation. The basement can therefore also be used with a drainage system for any purpose for which a basement could serve: as storage space, hobby room or even living space.

Because of the higher humidity level in a drained cellar, cellar drainage is usually combined with cellar ventilation. Installing ventilation in the cellar is relatively easy and pays off enormously in terms of air quality. With a ventilated space you also avoid future mould problems. Fungi only thrive in rooms where the air humidity is high enough.

Do I opt for basement sealing or basement drainage?

If you suffer from a damp cellar, there are many parameters that can support a choice for cellar sealing or cellar drainage. This is not a simple analysis and varies depending on the size of the cellar, the precise pressure of the groundwater, the current humidity of the walls and the construction of the house.

It is certain that in a damp cellar each of the above solutions is a good choice. A damp house, even if it is in the cellar, quickly loses its value and can later also suffer from rising ground moisture.

Aquaconsult offers free moisture analyses in which an experienced moisture specialist performs a moisture diagnosis with specific equipment. The basement is analysed from head to toe for every possible (hidden) moisture problem. If this interests you, please request more information below. A moisture diagnosis is always carried out by a recognised professional and is always without obligation.