Waterproofing a basement is a crucial part of keeping your home in good shape and preventing mold and mildew from making it an unsafe place to live. Waterproofing needs to be done both inside the basement and outside to ensure moisture doesn't get into the walls at all. Inside the basement, you can use a sump pump to remove water and install a dehumidifier — and clean up spills and leaks as quickly as possible — to keep the interior nice and dry, along with installing barriers in the wall. On the outside, you need to not only add a waterproof layer on the exterior surface, but you have to re-evaluate your landscaping to ensure you aren't inadvertently sending water to the wall instead of away from it.
Maintain Window Wells
Window wells are constructed depressions in the ground next to basement windows. These wells are usually paved with a drain at the bottom. When it rains, water that flows into the well can exit through the drain — unless the drain is blocked by leaves. You must clear out the drain regularly or install a cover over the well that excludes anything that could clog the drain. If your home does not have wells, and the windows are right up against the ground, remove any debris that piles up against the windows and walls.
Re-grade the Land if Necessary
Your yard has to slope slightly away from the house. Even a yard that looks flat has a slight incline when properly graded. This allows water to flow away from the house when it rains instead of toward the house. However, over time, erosion and compaction (after repeated rainy seasons and lots of people simply walking all over the yard) can make the grade disappear or even tilt the wrong way. If it's been a while since you checked the grade of your land, get that done. Exterior waterproofing does protect your home from water that flows against the walls, but you want to give that waterproofing all the help you can.
Trim and Remove Landscaping as Needed
Make sure landscaping, from plants to rocks to loose soil to mulch, is not touching the walls of your home. All of these can hold moisture in against the walls, increasing the chances that some of that moisture might break through the waterproofing barrier. You want good airflow around the walls of your home to properly dry out excess moisture.
The exterior waterproofing barrier will work well. However, because it could be damaged without you knowing, you want to be sure that any potential situation in which moisture could sit on the walls and possibly get through is addressed and no longer an issue.
Contact a local exterior waterproofing service to learn more.