A Complete Breakdown on the Cost of Waterproofing a Basement

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Reviewed by John Bryant
Updated February 21, 2022
Basement living room interior
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Waterproofing a basement has a wide range–between $4,891 and $10,541

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Finding yourself in a situation where you have standing water in your basement is a nightmare every homeowner wants to avoid. Waterproofing your basement, especially if you live in an area that’s at high risk for flooding, will help save you time and money in the future. Minor interior fixes, like purchasing a dehumidifier, may cost as little as $750, while installing a new drainage system can run upwards of $10,000.

Cost to Waterproof a Basement per Square Foot

Swimming pools are loads of fun—just not in your basement. On average, it costs between $3 and $10 per square foot to waterproof a basement. Smaller projects can run as low as $600, while larger waterproofing jobs can cost upwards of $20,000. The cost depends on whether or not you’re doing a smaller indoor project or something like a major exterior waterproofing update.

Average Cost for Basement Waterproofing in Your Area

Every state has its own rules and regulations for permitting, and material and labor costs vary by market. Here’s a breakdown of several major markets across the U.S. to give you an idea of what waterproofing a basement may cost in your location.

  • Portland, OR: $1,050 to $7,000

  • Denver: $800 to $10,000

  • Minneapolis: $850 to $7,500

  • New Orleans: $600 to $12,800

  • Raleigh, NC: $850 to $7,500

  • Newark, NJ: $1,500 to $12,000

  • Cleveland: $1,400 to $17,000

  • Providence, RI: $800 to $8,000

  • Boston: $1,500 to $13,000

  • Milwaukee: $875 to $20,000

Basement Waterproofing Cost Breakdown

Humidity can frizz out your hair, but it can also wreak havoc on a basement. A dehumidifier solves that problem, but sometimes it’s not that easy of a fix. The square footage of your basement, whether or not the basement is finished, and the extent of your waterproofing needs affect the cost of each waterproofing project. Here are some of the fixes and cost estimates for different types of waterproofing.

6 types of basement waterproofing costs compared, with the lowest averaging $50 to $100

Interior Costs

Once you’ve noticed a problem with water leakage in your basement, the first step is to diagnose the interior water problem. If the leakage is coming up from the floor or cove area (where the wall and floor meet), an interior waterproofing system might be the proper solution. The average cost to waterproof the interior of a basement is between $3,500 and $12,000, depending on the scope of the project and the location. It’s an easier fix than waterproofing the exterior, and the most common fix for existing homes.

Dehumidifiers

For minor damp basement problems, you can buy a dehumidifier for between $750 and $2,000. However, if there is dampness in your basement, the source of the problem is usually coming from the outside of the house with moisture leaking in. While this is a temporary solution, it may not fully solve a damp basement problem.

Waterproofing Paint

Sealants, such as waterproofing paint, can be used on the interior of your basement to stop moisture from coming in through the walls. Paint is applied directly to the concrete, so the walls must be clean, bare, and not have been painted in the past. 

If white mineral deposits called efflorescence appear on the walls, waterproof paint is not an option. Waterproofing paints or sealants cost between $1 and $8 per square foot.

However, waterproofing companies usually don’t recommend sealing as a full-stop solution. Trapping water in the walls can cause additional problems in the future. Sealant or waterproofing paint is one of several steps that waterproofing companies use to waterproof a basement.

Drainage

A drainage system moves water out of the home through a pipe or trench in the foundation using a sump pump. A sump pump is a submersible device designed to remove water from the lowest point of your home, i.e. the basement. 

When a contractor installs a drainage system, they may also add insulation to the basement walls with a vapor barrier to protect against condensation. Drainage systems like these cost between $7,100 to $18,000 to install, depending on your region.

Window Well Drains

Window well drains are only an option if the source of the water in your basement is improperly installed windows. If windows are the cause of your problem, window well drains are an effective solution that cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to install.

Epoxy Injection

Epoxy injections are used to repair cracks in a home’s poured concrete walls. If there are hairline fractures or cracks in your walls, these will need to be filled with epoxy before other waterproofing solutions can be applied. Epoxy injections are usually not a standalone option, and cost between $800 and $1,500 per crack to fill.

Interior French Drain

An interior French drain is installed around your basement’s perimeter to collect and direct water to a sump pump or another site away from your home. This option directs water away from your foundation, preventing flooding, and costs $60 to $120 per linear foot.

Excavation

If a contractor can’t access the basement walls from the interior of the home, exterior excavation may be necessary. Also, if water is entering the basement through the walls of the foundation, addressing the problem from the exterior may be a good option—especially in the case of older homes that were built with brick or stone. While many contractors consider installing an underground trench or drain via excavation the most effective method of solving a leakage problem, it is also the most expensive option.

Excavation has to take place before any major exterior waterproofing is done on a home. It can take up to two days to excavate a home’s exterior to avoid structural problems or collapse, so it’s pretty time-intensive. 

Excavation work usually costs between $10,000 and $20,000+, or $120 to $220 per linear foot. Pricing can go as high as $80,000, depending on how much digging is required, how accessible the walls are, and how much landscaping and other obstructions must be restored when completed.

Sodium Bentonite

Sodium bentonite is a clay-like natural sealant that can be applied to the dirt around the exterior of the home to seal cracks and absorb water. This option is controversial amongst contractors, as it’s difficult to control, and clay can clog any outdoor drains. Application costs around $3 to $4 per square foot. Many areas do not allow the application of sodium bentonite, so check your local building codes.

Grading

If your yard slopes towards your house from the perimeter of your property, it could be leading water directly to your basement. You can have your yard and landscaping re-sloped or leveled to prevent surface water from being led to your foundation for $900 to $3,000, but this method usually needs to be used in tandem with another solution as it’s not permanently effective on its own.

What Will It Cost Me to Waterproof My Own Basement?

Waterproofing your own basement can be a tricky proposition, depending on what your basement needs. You must be careful to choose the correct waterproofing materials. Most materials dry quickly, so your work must be fast and efficient.

If you’re considering excavating outside yourself, you must obtain a permit. An excavation trench is 7 to 8 feet deep, and if done improperly, can collapse and cause injuries or damage. 

Yes, you can purchase and apply waterproof paint or fill cracks with epoxy yourself, but those are not standalone fixes, and you will likely end up needing to hire a professional somewhere down the line. Bottom line? This project is best left to professional waterproofing contractors.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Waterproof a Basement?

8 basement waterproofing cost factors, including location, foundation type, and waterproofing method
PC Photography/iStock/Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Waterproofing a basement can be a simple or a complex project, depending on a number of elements. The complexity of the project will affect the cost, and the main factors that determine the complexity are:

  • Location

  • Size or square footage

  • What caused the leak

  • Type of foundation

  • Accessibility

  • Waterproofing method

  • Materials

  • Contractor

  • Local and city building permits

  • Engineer reports

  • Structural repair

FAQs About Basement Waterproofing

How do I know if I need to waterproof my basement?

Signs of a leak in your basement (that might not be as obvious as a pool of water on the floor) include musty odors, damp spots on the walls or floors, dry rot, bubbling wallpaper or paint, white film accumulation on surfaces, rust, and enlargement of cracks.

Will waterproofing my basement increase my home value?

Yes. A leaky basement is not a great selling point for a home, and it usually means you won’t get fair market value for the home. One of the first areas of a home a prospective buyer inspects is the basement. Don’t let a damp, wet basement prevent you from selling your home. Waterproofing your basement will increase its desirability for buyers, which in turn will get you a good return on your investment.

Is basement waterproofing necessary?

Yes, if you live in an area that is prone to flooding and are seeing signs that your basement might need it. Basement waterproofing might seem costly, but it’s far more convenient than dealing with standing water down the line.

Can’t I just apply some waterproof paint?

Waterproof paint is kind of like putting a bandage on a bullet wound. It might work in a pinch, but eventually, the water will find its way through and cause more problems. Better to do the project thoroughly the first time.

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