Keeping Basements Dry: Why spray-on applications aren’t up for the job

Foundation Problems

Wet basements aren’t only bad for homeowners, they’re bad for business. From occupant discomfort and health risks due to mould and mildew to expensive material damage, foundation moisture has become one of the biggest headaches in homebuilding. When moisture makes an unwanted appearance in a foundation, people automatically look to their contractors to correct it or, maybe worse, wonder why the builder didn’t ensure the best protection against moisture in the first place. These homeowners could even sue their contractor or builder over a damp basement.

Though code compliant, many spray-on applications aren’t doing builders any favours when it comes to avoiding foundation moisture and the problems that accompany it. Following building code requirements alone – spraying then proceeding with backfill – is a short-sighted approach, leaving concrete foundations vulnerable to moisture, compromising the longevity and satisfaction of the build.

What’s wrong with Spray-on Products?

Spray-on dampproofing or waterproofing products present many challenges that can lead to risk of moisture ingress, but also the application process itself can take longer and requires expensive equipment.

1. Backfilling Hazards

The best intentions when selecting foundation protection systems can be undermined by damage from construction. Sprayed-on applications are particularly susceptible as they are not as durable as other materials to withstand all the final stages of foundation construction.

For example, if a heavy backhoe is operated next to the foundation to do the backfilling, the impact from rocks and other debris being pushed into the sensitive foundation coating could puncture or otherwise damage it, or perhaps even scrape the membrane right off the wall.

2. Cracks Settling around the Foundation

Even when backfilling is done to perfection, spray-on coatings are still vulnerable over the long term. Although sprays or roll-on applications do provide dampproofing properties, they don’t bridge the inevitable shrinkage cracks that will appear once the foundation settles. Tar, for example, is incapable of spanning any cracks that can occur along the wall. This leaves the wall open to leaks and all the problems that moisture can bring to a basement.

3. Application Challenges

Tar and asphalt sprays emit toxic fumes, requiring specialized safety equipment for application and additional time for teams to wait for fumes to dissipate.

So, while builders and contractors are investing extra time and resources to apply these materials, the pay-off just isn’t there because home protection is actually not being ensured.

A Better Solution – Dimpled Membranes

delta-ms_concrete-foundationDimpled membrane barriers provide a better solution overall compared to spray-on applications. They’re more durable, cover foundation settlement cracks and are safer and more efficient to install.

Since spray-on compounds are at risk for puncturing or cracking during backfilling or due to settling, the much more resilient material to consider is instead a dimpled membrane sheet, which offers heavy, physical protection, impact resistance and is generally tear proof. Due to its high compressive strength, it ensures superior performance and much longer-lasting protection.

Using dimpled membranes also provides superior coverage for foundation cracks, meaning no water intrusion, optimal comfort and healthy living spaces for homeowners, along with fewer warranty claims and call-backs for builders.

Choosing not to use a spray-on system speeds up the construction schedule and reduces labour costs. The installation of dimpled membrane sheets can be done as soon as the forms are removed. There’s no waiting for curing time like there is with tar and asphalt spray, which means you can also backfill quickly after installation. Finally, since expensive spray equipment isn’t needed when using dimpled membrane, it can cost less to install.

The Dimpled Membrane That Stands the Test of Time

The DELTA®-MS  foundation protection system is the most durable dimpled membrane on the market, keeping foundations dry for the life of the building.

This protection system maintains an air gap that keeps moisture and damp soil away from the foundation. The membrane itself is impermeable to both water vapour and liquid water. As a result, it maintains a complete capillary break between ground moisture and foundation walls. The innovative, high-compression design offers reliable protection to foundation walls as deep as 12 ft below grade.

Unlike sprayed-on coatings, DELTA®-MS successfully bridges big cracks and other imperfections in foundation walls that inevitably appear as settling occurs. For extra protection, DELTA®-MS can also be used in combination with sprayed-on systems.

From design to application, DELTA®-MS makes it easy and cost effective to properly protect building foundations from moisture, making a dry basement a truly attainable goal. Watch our webinar with expert Peter Barrett, our Product Manager with over 25 years of industry experience and see why DELTA®-MS is the solution.

Dörken delivers innovative, high-performance air and moisture barriers for commercial and residential construction sold under the DELTA® brand name. A North American manufacturer based out of Beamsville, Ontario, Dörken Systems, Inc. is a subsidiary of Ewald Dörken AG, a leading European developer and manufacturer of waterproofing and drainage products sold worldwide. Dörken is known for delivering premium products while providing educational programs and full technical support. For more information, call 1-888-433-5824 or visit