Basement Waterproofing FAQ

SANI-TRED products are not just coatings, they are permanently flexible, ultra-adhesives which deep penetrate and bond to all basements surfaces. The adhesive bonds made with SANI-TRED products between unlike materials such as;

  1. Concrete-to-wood
  2. Concrete-to-Concrete
  3. Concrete to Iron

All such bonded joints will break, during destructive testing, at other than the bonded joint itself. SANI-TRED product adhesive bonding points are always stronger than the original materials themselves!

The bonds are permanent and totally unaffected by water or hydraulic pressure, so they never release, delaminate, peel, chip or crack in the presence of water.

SANI-TRED products do not produce adverse chemical reactions with concrete like paints or other coatings do. The average adverse chemical reactions of paints and other coatings with concrete is called saponification (The chemical reaction of the oils & other chemicals in paint with the alkalinity with in concrete.)

 Saponification along with expansion and contraction of unlike materials such as concrete and cured paint are the main reasons painted concrete surfaces last no more than 18 months before blistering, chipping and peeling occur and re-painting is required.


Saponification, the formation of water soluble soaps, is most often associated with the chemical attack of an oil-based or alkyd paint by a highly alkaline masonry substrate. Masonry includes new concrete, tilt-up slab, stucco, plaster, mortar, etc.. Alkyd and oil-based paints contain esters that react by hydrolysis and saponify with alkalis present in new masonry to form water-soluble soaps (PVA latexes can also be saponified, although to a lesser degree). The alkalinity may be concentrated at the paint/surface interface by moisture migration from the original mix with water or from external moisture ingress sources. At this point, the paint film is turned into a soap by this chemical process and becomes soft, sticky and water soluble. This condition may be mistakenly reported as poor drying or that the paint is tracking, picking up dirt or peeling.

Under damp alkaline conditions there is no way to stop or reverse the saponification process. Complete removal of the decomposed paint film is required. The basement sealer paint film can be scraped off with putty knives or other tools followed by thorough washing to remove all residue back to the clean substrate. Where possible, a high pressure water blast may be the easiest procedure of old paint removal. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. Allow further curing of the masonry substrate if necessary. Coat the walls and floors with a minimum of two coats of SANI-TRED Permaflex. Apply LRB/TAV mixture, between coats of Permaflex, at the wall-to-floor junction and all cracks and joints for a permanently waterproofed basement.

SANI-TRED deep penetrates into the pores of the concrete and produces tiny "solid rubber sealing plugs" or capillary sealing tentacles in each and every pore or crack in the concrete that holds water back from the coating's surface like little high pressure hydraulic O-rings!

SANI-TRED never hardens, and always maintains it's "flexible adhesive bond" to walls, floors, cracks & joints regardless of age.

SANI-TRED was originally designed to be an industrial, heavy duty, outdoor floor surface and provides "overkill" wear protection for residential basement walls & floors.

SANI-TRED products bond molecularly to one another new-to-old regardless of age.

See More Basement Waterproofing Info for details

Property owners often insist that something is done to try to prevent water from entering the basement in both new and remodeling construction projects. Most local building codes require that "an exterior coating" be applied to the foundation walls before backfilling. This does not prevent basement leaking, it only satisfies the local building code and contractor requirements who are not educated on how to waterproof basements on the inside using SANI-TRED products.

Property owners are rarely knowledgeable on the subject of waterproofing materials, and rely on recommendations of the building contractor whose main interest is to satisfy obsolete local building codes with his main interest in getting  paid! Do not expect to receive up-to-date and reliable information on the subject of basement waterproofing from a general contractor.

After a SANI-TRED installation, you may finish your basement by installing wall studs approximately 3/4" from the exterior walls, in the normal manner, or you may paint with any interior paint directly over the SAN-TRED  installation. You may also incorporate SANI-TRED products into your basement finishing plans to permanently bond interior shoe plates & wall studs directly to the concrete basement floors or walls instead of expensive mechanical fasteners or other non-waterproof adhesives. (contact Ideal for detailed information on this subject)

If your basement is already finished, remove the bottom 4' of wall sheeting from the studs, waterproof with SANI-TRED and then replace the lower 4' of sheeting. Normally, it is not necessary to remove the top row of wall sheeting to waterproof your basement with SANI-TRED unless after sheeting removal there are signs of water inflow above 4' or obvious cracks are evident that extend above 4'.

If you see evidence of leaking or obvious cracks and joints above 4' then it is recommended to remove all wall sheeting and waterproof the entire wall surface.

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO REMEMBER: There are no quick fix short cuts to complete basement waterproofing! There are no other exterior or alternate interior "quick-fix" methods of basement waterproofing that are going to solve the problem of an already finished basement that leaks. For reliability and to give you the piece of mind of a permanently dry basement why not do the job right!

The commonly used materials most often used by waterproofing contractors to attempt to seal basements are tar or clay based substances or other poor quality liquid coatings that quickly age to form rigid, brittle, "scaly" materials that quickly break down and fail on the exterior basement walls and are useless on the interior.

Cured rigid materials such as tar, epoxy, paint resins, etc., cannot expand and contract at the same rate as concrete after periodic freeze-thaw cycles. They also have poor adhesive qualities, and soon chemically react with the concrete to become brittle and crack which allows water to migrate behind the loose coatings and enter through the interior basement wall or floor surface.

Tar and clay are by-products and as such they are very cheap, and quite profitable for a waterproofing contractor to sell to the property owner as a "waterproofing system" when combined with the labor of installation. Often the dollar value of the containers of these types of materials is greater than their contents. Labor is the majority of the cost of these systems and long term guarantees are based upon the same principles of business as product rebates.

Epoxy Crack Injection

Crack injection is normally offered as a service by "professional" basement waterproofing companies. The problem with crack injection with epoxy is that the cracked concrete is already quite hard and brittle (3-4,000 psi tensile strength) epoxy injection is often as hard and rigid as (30,000 tensile strength) allowing micro foundation shifting to allow the crack to open up again in the future separating where the concrete and epoxy meet.

The results are obviously future crack leaking problems. This cannot happen with SANI-TRED's flexible adhesive abilities. All sealed cracks are permanently sealed with materials that have an elongation of over 600%. This means that a 1/2" wide basement wall crack would have to move or stretch to over 3" before the  SANI-TRED crack repair would break.

A common method of attempting to prevent leaks in basements is the collection system method or "inflow diversion". Collection systems and/or Inflow diversion are the worst types of bad ideas! One type of system is to install a perforated drain tile around the entire inside perimeter of the basement at the base of the footing, under your basement floor. This is done to collect the ground water that seeps under the footing and divert it to a sump pump pit in your basement.

Another popular quick-fix method is to install plastic panels around the inside of the basement walls to channel the water dripping down the walls and flowing in from the wall/floor junction. This at first seems like a nifty idea until you realize that it is impossible to get rid of basement humidity this way and the earth under your footing is being constantly flushed away causing foundation settling, cracking, more leaking and the worst type of major damage to you home!

A sump pump then cycles on and off to pump this constant supply of hydrostatic water pressure outside in a never ending cycle of draining and pumping. Unfortunately this does not solve the problem of water erosion of undisturbed earth under the foundation footing, washing this soil away which is the cause of early death of a house, foundation wall settling and cracking.

Due to contractor installation errors, sump pump, or electrical failure, heavy storms, wall cracks etc., your basement can flood even with the standard precautions and exterior coating systems normally used.

Even if collection systems work flawlessly, and few do, your basement may still be unnaturally damp because of excess humidity which enters through the concrete walls and floors and emanates from the large sump pump pit of perpetual standing water, and don't forget the foundation settling problem caused by allowing water to inflow.

In most areas of the country ground water starts to produce a column of water pressure that is exerted on basement walls normally starting from two to four feet below surrounding ground level. This water column or "natural hydraulic pressure" tries to equalize it's pressure by flowing to cracks or porous imperfections in your basement walls, footings, and floors.

If you do not intend to finish your basement walls, meaning covering them permanently with stud walls and sheeting, then it is not always necessary to remove all old existing paint before SANI-TRED installation, as long as good common sense understanding of the importance of the removal of the peeling painted areas are understood and accomplished. It is common to have100% waterproofing success by removing only 50% of the old paint. No two basements are alike and every property owner should be in control of their own way of doing things.

If your priority is to just stop the leaking water then the option of removing a minimum amount of old paint may be best for you. If you intend to finish your basement, we always suggest to remove as much of the old paint as possible and completely seal all perimeter wall surfaces and the floor.

Understand and remember, concrete surface preparation is 75% responsible for 100% waterproofing success the first time.

Basement leaking areas are usually limited to specific minority areas usually no larger than 10%-20% of the basement’s over-all wall and floor surfaces, especially at the wall-to-floor junction. This is the most important area and must be free of paint as well as existing flowing cracks. If leaking has been an on-going event the old paint in these leaking areas is usually long gone or very loose and can be easily peeled, chipped or scraped off of the concrete.

If the old paint it is not loose, then it is usually not important that it be removed unless there are plans to completely finish the basement. A heavy duty hand grinder works well if sand blasting is not available. (available at rental stores)

Some forms of paint are easily removed with a combination of heavy duty paint removers such as methyl chloride (available at paint stores), and then (3,500-to-4,000 psi) high pressure washing with a rotary zero tip. This may be easier than scraping in your case if all that pressure washing water is not a problem in your basement. This is extremely effective and easy. Remember, most of the pressure washing is concentrated at or near the bottom of walls and floors. Remember, where you can apply PermaFlex to clean, dry concrete you are home free and these areas will not leak.

We suggest that all old loose paint be scraped away, especially carefully where existing leaking has taken place. This will allow the SANI-TRED installation to do it’s job of direct contact with the concrete itself so it can penetrate, bond, and seal these most important points. Then follow the standard SANI-TRED basement waterproofing installation instructions.

You may not eliminate 100% of all leaks the first time you apply the SANI-TRED system without removing all of the old paint correctly. What can happen, without removing all of the old paint, is that after a heavy rain all of the basement could remain dry, as planned, or you could spring a small surprise leak where the old loose paint prevented the bond sealing penetration to the concrete and the old paint detached under the SANI-TRED coating. If this happened it can easily be identified and repaired but this type of event is not acceptable for a finished basement which would prevent a minor repair. You see, this is why we always suggest that all old paint is removed.

If you do intend to permanently cover and finish your basement walls it’s usually not worth the risk of not removing all of the old paint from the walls a minimum of 4’ up from the floor. If your intention is "just to stop existing water" from coming in then remove only the loose peeling paint and apply the SANI-TRED installation per instructions in the known leaking areas. No matter which way you go, you can’t loose because it will solve the problem an get rid of the incoming water.

Use Permaflex or LRB for the adhesive of the studs and carpet tack strips using a few nails to hold them in place temporarily. Ether of these products are a better adhesive for wood, concrete, and Styrofoam than you will find in any lumber supply and you will be continuing with the sealing process as you build the walls.

If full studs are planned the finishing studs are suggested to be placed 3/4" from the walls so LRB mixture can be poured into the void at the wall-floor junction making installation easier and combining the two installations together instead of opposing one another.

Nails through the Permaflex coating are not a problem as the AR-Primer is not just a coating but penetrates all pores of the concrete. Avoid placing nails in wall areas of extreme flow to be on the safe side and always apply a liberal coat of Permaflex or LRB alone to the wall side of the furring strips immediately before the strips are tack held in place.

It is best to use a few nails for temporary placement of furring strips but Permaflex for the adhesive for the strips as well as Styrofoam insulation sheets as Permaflex and LRB are solvent-free and readily bond to Styrofoam without attacking it.

Instead of using attached furring strips to basement walls it is always best to build a completely new stud wall, un-attached from the exterior foundation walls, because foundation walls are rarely plumb and square especially poured concrete walls at the vertical corners.

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