Concrete is widely used as a functional, non-decorative floor in various locations everywhere. It's tough, easy to pour and set, and doesn't need a great deal of maintenance once it's in place. There's just one problem: it's porous.
In a lot of cases, this isn't really an issue, but that doesn't mean you should be complacent. The ability of concrete to absorb liquids can cause a variety of problems given the right circumstances, so it's best not to assume you won't need waterproofing.
Basements are one of the rooms most often left with a bare concrete floor, as it's frequently considered unnecessary. Here are some of the reasons you might want to think otherwise.
Water can naturally build up in the bottom of the house, enough that you might be shocked at how much you can find there. If this moisture can be removed or channelled away safely, it won't cause problems, but soaking into concrete can be another matter.
When water builds up in your basement, it can drain away through the concrete without any control over where it ends up. Over time, this can destabilise foundations and cause subsidence. With waterproofing, you can keep the water inside and get rid of it to protect your home.
It's not just water going downwards through concrete that can spell trouble. You might find it seeping up through the ground, too. When this happens, you'll be left with a damp, smelly basement that's prone to mould, mildew and rot.
This is bad enough for the basement, even if you don't really use it. However, it can also spread throughout your home, which can damage walls, ceilings, furniture and just about anything else you can think of.
Some people use their basements as workshops or to store cleaning products. This can mean there are hazardous chemicals in the area, which can spill or leak. If they soak into your concrete floor, they'll cause problems ranging from stubborn stains to hazardous fumes.
A waterproofed concrete floor means any spillages can be cleaned up, so you can make sure your basement is free from dangerous materials.
Protecting the concrete
Concrete is a pretty tough material, but it's not indestructible. When it's soaked with moisture, it's weaker than it would be if it was completely dry. This means you're more likely to have to carry out repairs before long, if not replace the floor in its entirety. Keeping it dry keeps it safe and ensures it has a long life.