So I currently own a home to which I would like to finish off the basement in the near future. Currently the basement is just concrete with cinder block walls on the outside. I have a normal sump pump in the corner like most places. I know in the past, the previous owner had light cracks in the cinder block walls, as there is evidence of patching the walls with cement. For the time that I have lived in this house (about half a year only) I have never had any water problems at all. The only thing noticed during the home inspection was that the moisture was a little high on one side of the basement, but not an actual leak.

Anyways, my question is what is the most recommended way to solve this to prevent future problems? I do know there are channel type systems like the squidgee (http:\www.waterproof.com) but I have heard mixed reviews about drilling holes into your walls, similar to drilling holes into a boat to better protect it. I do know that I will need to build my walls about a foot or so away from the cinder block walls. So should I invest into a system like the one I showed? If I haven't had any water problems, should I do nothing? Or are there outside options I should look into? I would definitely not like to tear up my yard.

I am not asking for specific brands or anything as I imagine that is off topic, but just general methods that are recommended and reasoning as to why.

2 Answers 2


Always start outside, where the water is. If you're even slightly up-hill in any direction that doesn't affect another property. Then, Grading & Sculpting the land will never be outdone by any other system & it's free to operate with no maintenance in your lifetime. No back up battery, no back flushing & no worry.

Other than that, where you have no drainage area or direction then still treat the outside to keep the building dry & especially free from being eroded. Handling water after it comes in means you're only collecting it after it's done it's damage. Would you wash & wax your car that was run over by a trash truck?


After 60 years our brick walls began to pass moisture by a fair amount. The walls were never waterproofed and were multiple layers of brick. We don't have sumps, but the basement is a finished area. We tried drylok-type remedies but they didn't gelp much.

We finally hired a contractor to put a waterproof membrane on the exterior of the walls and install a drain at the base.

If you're wanting to finish the basement and get a good long term solution, I would recommend something similar for your house.

You don't have to do the whole thing at once mind you, but half in one go would be a good start.

The project took the contractor a few days as he had to dig to the base of the wall to be able to apply the membrane. If you, or someone you know, is extremely competent with a backhoe you could do it yourself and save a lot of money - but you better be good. Basement walls shouldn't be slammed against!

  • If you don't mind me asking, about how much did yours cost for the membrane and how many square feet is your basement?
    – Eric F
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 23:21
  • We didn't directly buy the product - the contractor just charged us for it. I believe this was the product they used: m.homedepot.com/p/…
    – Ramrod
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 3:08
  • You didn't mention the water channel type options like the squidgee. Do you think this would have worked too? Keep in mind I don't have a leak now at all. The walls are just a little humid. I don't think it can be justified to put in an exterior water setup like yours just for a little humidity.
    – Eric F
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 13:04
  • The interior of the basment had a tile lip that I don't think would have fit with a squidgee type system and it looks like the tile would have needed busting for a sump. Due to general drainage issues and the worsening conditions, it was better for us to go ahead and waterproof the whole wall. It sounds like waterproofing the whole thing may be overkill for you - but I dont know anything about the channel type systems.
    – Ramrod
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 17:46
  • My problem with surface-applied channeling would be my bulkhead door, which is nearly flush with the concrete floor. So I would need to either introduce some form of threshold, which would require redoing the door again, or cut down and do buried drain. Undecided whether either is worth the effort...
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 23:50

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