New Construction Buyer Tip: Waterproof Like You're Building Noah's Ark

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 47-1016768

New Construction Buyer Tip: Waterproof Like You're Building Noah's Ark

by Rebecca Howard

In May 2013 I wrote a post about the Ashley Oaks new construction project going on in my market area.  I try to keep a lookout for unique building projects that might appeal to the special buyer that wants something out of the ordinary.

More Rain...anyone?

This good weather has allowed the building to move along at a good pace, all except for the abundance of rain we've had.  Will it ever least until more builder progress can be made?  Its raining as I write this post.  

It just so happened that I took a ride by the construction site to check on the progress and update my blog.  Wouldn't you know of the new homes being built was having the foundation 'damp-proofed'.

I wonder how many remember the Biblical account of Noah and the specific instructions given him to build the Ark.  Those instructions had to be followed 'to the letter' because it would need to sustain Noah's family for some 40 days and nights.  The account says that 'Noah did just so'.  It meant their very lives.  More Rain...anyone?

Leaky Foundation...What's a Homeowner To Do?

Now I don't know much about this process called 'damp-proofing' and I don't recall that anyone's life has been threatened by a leaky foundation, but from what I observed, it looks like spray painting some asphalt looking material to the foundation from the inside to help prevent water from seeping through the foundation.  Now from my own experience, I know that what was used on my home only offered minimum waterproof protection.  We have had 4 foundation leaks in just over 10 years. Where was Noah when I needed him?

My curiosity pushed me to make a phone call to get more information.  What I learned is there are other choices that can be made to Waterproof Your Home Like You're Building Noah's Ark.  Here are some I found:

  1. Basic damp-proofing:  The Builders Special.  Its great unless you live in extreme cold weather climate where foundation cracking happens frequently.
  2. Fiberglass coating:  This application sits on top of the basic and adds another level of protection that flexes with the foundation.  The cost to upgrade to this level of protection can add 3.5 times the cost to the builder. 
  3. Polymer Coating:  This is a rubberized coating that gives even more protection and might be considered the absolute best level of protection choice over the others.  I wish I had this choice available to me when I built my townhome.  This level of protection will add an additional 2.5 times the cost to the builder as well.

Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

I don't know what the local building codes call for regarding waterproofing a foundation, but if you are considering or are in the process of building a new home and have not given much thought to waterproofing your foundation, I would highly recommend that you speak with your builder as soon as possible and get pricing on what it would cost to upgrade to the highest level of protection you can afford before the foundation is poured.  It is very difficult and costly to correct a foundation crack or leak after the home is built. I have gotten quotes of over $500 for what turned out to be a minor leak the size of a quarter, but the damage from the water is incredible.  If your lower level is finished, you have to ask yourself: is it worth to go through all the headache, frustration, expense and inconvenience to replace items that might be irreplaceable?

I suppose if today's modern builders would take a lesson from Noah, all structures would be totally waterproof.  Until that happens it is up to the buyer to do what they can to protect themselves from leaky foundations.  

Solutions For the D-I-Y's

I want to mention that there are options to correct leaky foundation after the fact.  There are companies that offer waterproofing products for D-I-Y's.  If  you are patient, you enjoy working with your hands, need to save money and feel that you can do as good a job, this option may be right for you.  Now I know what you're thinking; 'No way will I take on a project like this myself.' But you want to Waterproof Your Home Like You're Building Noah's Ark, you might be surprised to learn that it can be fun.  We had a foundation leak and after removing a portion of the drywall we found the leak coming from where a reinforcement rod had rusted.  After calling the company listed on the link above, we bought a 'sample' of the product and followed the instructions.  The process took all of about 2 hours and is still holding today.

And if you have an un-finished foundation and you are considering finishing it, and you want to Waterproof Your Home Like You're Building Noah's Ark, this might be an option for you. The website is very helpful and has lots of information and even a calculator to guesstimate how much product you need to complete the project.  This is good information even if you have someone else do the job for you.

You can count on Rebecca Howard to look out for you.  I am the Community Expert.

Posted by

Rebecca Howard, Broker

Rebecca Howard, Managing Broker

15255 S. 94th Ave. Suite 544

Orland Park, IL 60462

Mobile: 708.703.0684

Serving Chicagoland and the Southwestern Suburbs

Recognized | Respected | Recommended

It's important that you know, my purpose is for you to be so outrageously happy with the help I provide that you'll gladly introduce me to at lease two people you really care about before your transaction closes. Not because you feel obligated, but because you truly believe they'll benefit.




Comments (15)

Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

We've certainly had our fair share down south too.  I'm beginning to think I need to start on an ark.

Jun 28, 2013 02:36 PM
Rebecca Howard
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Orland Park, IL
Recognized | Respected | Recommended

Hi Tammy.  I love what the rain has done for the vegetation.  It's really beautiful. The humidity is something to deal with. Glad to have AC for sure.  Thanks for your comment. Have a great weekend.

Jun 28, 2013 11:05 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

I never complain about the rain....everything is just so green and beautiful...and besides the rain, the weather has been great.  THis is a very informative post on waterproofing your foundation.

Jun 28, 2013 11:25 PM
Christine O'Shea
Christine E O'Shea Broker - Naples, FL

Rebecca, We have had a lot of rain here this summer, fortunately, no basements here, up north in Maryland and NJ, tons of basements and wet foundations, not good!

Jul 08, 2013 11:46 AM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Hi Rebecca,

What a great choice of articles to share with your readers and clients.  When someone builds, it only makes sense to make sure that the weatherproofing and waterproofing are on the spot for their climate.   

Jul 11, 2013 10:29 PM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

No basements here in Northern Florida. Too sandy. Happy I don't have to deal with that issue.

Aug 26, 2013 09:48 AM
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Yes it goes to show the quality and care of the builder and also like the ark many mocked and made fun of him during those dry seasons... until it started pouring and then I guess the tables were turned

Aug 26, 2013 12:12 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Waterproof Your Home Like You're Building Noah's Ark,  I love the title.. We all have to think about the fact that concrete can crack and water proofing is a great idea!

Aug 26, 2013 01:37 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Noah was 500 years old when he started the ark in the backyard. It took 100 years for the maiden and final voyage. He must have spent a lot of that time caulking, sealing. And the find two of a kind, male and female part was just as difficult as the weather proofing right?

Aug 26, 2013 07:55 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I will bookmark this post and share it with others.Thank you.

Aug 26, 2013 09:20 PM
Andrew Payne Realtor® Richmond VA Homes For Sale~804-938-5257~
Piedmont Real Estate - Richmond, VA
Richmond, VA, Real Estate, SRES®, NAR Green

These waterproofing tips are very helpful for new construction.  Retrofitting an older home with external waterproofing outside the foundation can be very costly, but the expense could be worth it!

Aug 26, 2013 09:51 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Wish they would get some of that rain out West on those forest fires. Anyway, sometimes, even if you do pay extra for the upgraded waterproofing, many times the water still gets in from under the basement slab and through cracks in the basement slab. Seems like water always finds the path of least resistance. Proper installment of drain tile also plays a part in keeping water out of basements.

Aug 26, 2013 10:24 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Water proofing and keeping water out of your basement is a combination of things.  Making sure water isn't running towards your house, keeping your gutters clean, a sump pump, drain tiles and the foundation covering all come into play.

Aug 26, 2013 10:50 PM
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

Thanks for this information Rebecca! I've never heard of damp-proofing a foundation, I'm just aware of waterproofing after the fact.

Aug 26, 2013 11:24 PM
Juan Jimenez
A House on a Rock Home Inspections LLC - Richmond, VA
The Richmond Home Inspector

When you make repairs, or apply coatings from the inside, it really isn't waterproofing. Its more accurately described as water management. You have let the water come inside and now you are trying to manage it.  Water proofing can only be done from the outside.  If you had a leak in your roof would you make a repair, or apply a coating from the inside?

Aug 27, 2013 01:30 AM