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Cleaning and Waterproofing the Basement for Additional Living Space

The image depicts an unfinished, open basement with exposed ceilings, a concrete floor and a white door.

Basements can become an under-utilized space in the home, especially if it is unfinished. Instead of letting this large space become just a room to store unused items, why not transform it into a functional and cozy living space? Whether it’s a spare room for out-of-town guests, a playroom for the kids or even a home gym, a basement can become a whole new extension of your home.

If you decide to finish your basement, understanding the process is vital for a successful project. From preparation to product selection, each step needs to be carefully considered to ensure your space becomes safe, practical and comfortable for those who use it. 

The Main Benefit of Cleaning, Waterproofing and Finishing a Basement: Extra Living Space

Waterproofing your basement is crucial for protecting your home from water damage and creating a comfortable living space. It not only increases usable space for activities like a playroom, office or extra bedroom, but it also helps to maintain the structural integrity of your home. Basements close to the water table need special attention to prevent water seepage and related issues.

First Things First: Assess the Condition of the Basement

Before beginning any work, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough inspection of your basement. Identify any existing issues, such as water leakages, mold or structural damage. A careful assessment will help you understand the extent of work required so that you can plan your cleaning, waterproofing and finishing processes more effectively.

Cleaning and Removing Efflorescence

When cleaning and removing efflorescence from concrete and masonry surfaces, the process begins with preparing the area by clearing debris and ensuring it’s accessible. 

The cleaning involves applying an etching solution, like DRYLOK Concrete and Masonry Liquid Etch & Cleaner, which helps remove efflorescence and excess mortar.

The etching process not only cleans but also opens the pores of the concrete for better adhesion of subsequent treatments. The solution can be applied with an acid-resistant sprayer, brush or watering can and should be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions for safety and effectiveness.

Filling Major Cracks

To fill major cracks in basement walls, the procedure involves cleaning the area and reshaping the crack into an inverted V” for better filling. A fast-setting hydraulic cement like DRYLOK Fast Plug® can be used for this purpose.

A tub of DRYLOK hydraulic cement is shown in the above image.

Mix the product to a putty-like consistency and apply it promptly into the crack, as it sets quickly. It’s important to dampen the area before application to ensure proper bonding and curing of the material. This method effectively seals larger cracks to prevent water intrusion. 

Filling Minor and Hairline Cracks

For filling minor and hairline cracks, the process involves cleaning the area and ensuring it’s free from dust, oil and loose particles. A product like DRYLOK Masonry Crack Filler, which is a fast-setting, easy-to-use acrylic caulk fortified with silicone, can be applied. It’s ideal for sealing and waterproofing cracks in concrete surfaces and repairing cracked mortar joints. Once applied, the filler dries to the color of concrete and withstands foot and vehicle traffic.

Waterproofing and Insulating a Basement for Extra Living Space


When insulating a basement, choosing the right type of insulation is key for effectiveness and energy efficiency. Rigid foam insulation, known for its high R‑values and moisture resistance, is often recommended for basements. It can be applied directly to concrete walls to prevent thermal bridging and reduce condensation risk.

Fiberglass batt insulation is another option that is commonly used in framed walls. Spray foam insulation provides both an air and moisture barrier and is ideal for irregular spaces or obstructions. Whichever type is chosen, proper installation is crucial to maximize energy efficiency and comfort in the basement.


Waterproofing a basement is a crucial step in preventing water intrusion and it involves more than just dampproofing. The process typically includes cleaning the walls, repairing any cracks or damage and then applying a waterproofing product.

It’s important to apply the waterproofing material evenly across all surfaces to ensure complete coverage for an effective moisture barrier. For this purpose, a product like DRYLOK Original Concrete & Masonry Waterproofer can be used, as it is known for its efficacy in creating a solid moisture barrier.

Opt for Concrete Paint and Rugs Over Flooring

Opting for concrete paint and rugs over traditional flooring is a smart choice for basement renovation. The process starts with a thorough cleaning, removing dirt, dust and grease and ensuring the surface is dry. Efflorescence, if present, must be treated to ensure proper paint adhesion. 

The concrete should feel like medium grit sandpaper to confirm readiness. Patching holes and cracks is crucial for a smooth finish. Apply a product like DRYLOK Latex Concrete Floor Paint, which offers durability and various color options to enhance both appearance and protection.

Finish Your Basement the Right Way with DRYLOK Waterproofing and Masonry Care Products

As you prepare for the holiday season and the arrival of family and friends, consider the potential of your basement. By waterproofing, insulating and finishing your basement with DRYLOK waterproofing and masonry care products, you can create a warm, welcoming and functional space for your guests. 

Begin your basement transformation now and make the most of your space this holiday season. Contact us today to locate a retail store near you!