We all know that when something is “waterproof,” it blocks water. But the specific concept of waterproofing a house may be less familiar.

If you’re a homeowner in the Pacific Northwest, now is a great time to get to know more about waterproofing, the home waterproofing process, and why it’s important. Use this post as a guide and let us know if you have any questions along the way — we’re here to help.


Understanding waterproofing

Waterproofing is the process of sealing off and protecting a surface or area in your home from water damage. This protection comes in the form of sealants, membranes, or specialized coatings.

But that’s just half of the equation. Another big part of waterproofing your home involves solving any existing water entry issues, correcting structural deficiencies, and in some cases, making remodeling updates to the home.

To properly waterproof a home, you need to focus on not only the symptom (for example, a basement leak), but the root of the problem (for example, cracks in your concrete or poor exterior drainage).

By repairing entry points and making it impossible for water to reenter, you’ll effectively ensure the safety of your home and your family —and also protect your investment.


The dangers of not waterproofing

To get fully on board with waterproofing, it’s helpful to understand the cost of not waterproofing your home. Water intrusion issues are dangerous to your home, your health, and to the physical safety of everyone living in the house.

Below are a few of the most common water intrusion problems we see in homes that are not properly waterproofed.

  • Foundation cracks and weaknesses
  • Mold
  • Rust
  • Cracked walls
  • Peeling paint
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Bad smells
  • Corrosion
  • Leaks into your home (damaged personal property)
  • Roof rot
  • Standing water
  • Pest infestations

In addition to all these issues, water intrusion can lead to a huge Increase in your monthly utility costs. This is a symptom of problems like subterranean leaks or malfunctioning appliances, and goes to show that waterproofing your homes requires an inside out approach.


Signs you need to waterproof your home

Here in the Pacific Northwest, every homeowner should take proactive steps to ensure their house is completely waterproof.

If you’ve never had your home inspected by a professional waterproofing company — even if you don’t notice any water leaks or issues — we recommend scheduling one soon. It’s always better (and less costly) to prevent issues rather than fix them.

If you have noticed some problems, this recommendation is even more immediate. Don’t wait to get the expert care your home needs to remain safe and sound. Our team is happy to offer a free estimate for waterproofing services.


What can be waterproofed

Like we keep mentioning, proper waterproofing involves looking at your house as a whole, from bottom to top. From the foundation to your roof — your whole home needs to be sealed off from the elements in order to avoid issues.

But you may be wondering what exactly in and around your home can be waterproofed and how that process works. We’ll lay it all out below.



The 3 most common causes of basement leaks in the Portland and Vancouver areas are cracked concrete walls, poor exterior drainage, and saturated soil around the foundation. All these issues can be solved and prevented through an active waterproofing and drainage system and high-quality sealant.

The process for waterproofing a basement:

  1. Performing a careful and thorough inspection and removing and replacing drywall, studs, and trim.
  2. Removing a 15″ wide concrete strip along the exterior perimeter walls.
  3. Excavating and sloping a trench to the sump basin.
  4. Installing a sump basin, pump, and discharge line, as well as a 3″ perforated drain pipe in the trench.
  5. Covering the pipe with 1” of washed drain rock to maximize water flow and install a dimpled drainage mat over the rock.
  6. Replacing the basement floor with a high-quality, waterproof concrete.


Crawl Spaces

Many people view crawl spaces as a damp, cold area and don’t think twice about any moisture in that area. While this part of your home may perpetually be a little humid, water should never be allowed to accumulate.

And yet, common problems like cracks in the foundation, rusting metal from concrete form anchors, and cold joints where the vertical wall sits on the footer can all allow water to enter and cause problems. Additionally, soil floors can let moisture seep in slowly over time.

The process for waterproofing a crawl space:

  1. Excavating and sloping trenches approximately 6″ to 12″ deep, allowing water to flow freely into the sump basin.
  2. Lining the trenches with 75-mil groundscape fabric, which prevents clogging that might otherwise result from soil movement.
  3. Installing 3″ perforated PVC pipe in trenches to drain any water.
  4. Filling trenches with 1″ washed drain rock, helping trenches maintain their shape and allowing for unrestricted water flow.
  5. Installing a sump basin, pump, and check valve.



An unsealed foundation that’s exposed to water will begin to crack and deteriorate. Cracks in your foundation can lead to big issues — from leaks and mold, to unevenness and weakened stability.

Leaving these cracks unchecked isn’t a good idea. They can slowly start to spread and will only exacerbate the issue. The good news is that foundation crack repair is not a long or difficult process.

The process for waterproofing a concrete foundation:

  1. Inspecting the foundation, identifying all cracks and extent of the damage, and selecting the best type of sealant repair to regain stability.
  2. Grinding and scrubbing the cracks and adjacent surface area clean of any loose concrete, paint, or other debris.
  3. Install access ports over the crack and apply a quick-set epoxy over the treatment area to prevent the sealer from coming back out during the injection process.
  4. Inject an expanding sealer into the crack which will create a “cap” on the outside to prevent water entry.


Decks & Patios

With so much direct exposure to the elements, balconies, patios, and decks must be waterproofed. Otherwise, you will eventually experience issues like rotting wood, cracked or broken concrete, discoloration, or even sagging.

Preventive waterproofing treatments should be considered every 5 years or so and will help save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

The process for waterproofing a deck:

  1. Making any necessary repairs or structural alterations based on whether or not your deck already has water damage.
  2. Preparing the surface using a premium, lightweight Westcoat waterproofing system.
  3. Choosing and applying the best waterproofing treatment for the needs of the surface. From a basic urethane coating to Heat-welded PVC.


Flat & Metal Roofs

Extensive exposure to water can damage and cause big problems for flat or metal roofs. For example, water can begin to collect in a sagging spot which causes softening and leaks. From there, mold can grow and spread, causing even more damage.

Ensuring your flat roof is safe, strong, and will stand the test of time (and heavy rain) is a smart choice. When roof damage reaches this point, it can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to repair. That’s why we recommend having your roof inspected every 2-4 years.

The process for waterproofing a flat roof:

  1. Fixing damaged areas and making any structural repairs to the roof.
  2. For metal roofs, sealing with an acrylic elastomeric method will achieve the best results for many years.
  3. For flat roofs, choose from an acrylic elastomeric coating, or PVC membrane for decades of protection.

While these are the most common areas of a home to waterproof, it’s not a complete list! Other spaces like garages, walkways, corridors, driveways, and so on can (and should) be inspected to ensure they are watertight.


Waterproof your home with Rock Solid

For over 10 years, Rock Solid Waterproofing has been the preferred waterproofing company in Portland and Vancouver. We offer a range of waterproofing treatments combined with quality craftsmanship and friendly service.

We also offer financing options for all waterproofing projects. We want to help you ensure your home is safe and waterproof, starting with making the process fit your budget.

Contact us today for a free estimate. We’re here to help.