Why Waterproofing Your Basement Is a Valuable Home Improvement

Lisa Gauthier Mitchison
Updated February 17, 2022
Family room in basement
Photo: Javani LLC / Adobe Stock

Waterproofing your basement is a smart home upgrade and worthy investment

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When deciding what home improvements you want to make, return on investment (ROI) should be on your mind. You want to get the best value for your dollar, after all, and home improvements can be expensive. But what about basement waterproofing—is this a smart investment to make? 

From securing windows to sealing cracks, waterproofing your basement can help prevent mold and flooding, and lower your energy bills. Learn the ROI of this home improvement.

How Do You Waterproof a Basement?

Whether you use your basement as a playroom for the kids, a home bar for entertaining, or simply as storage, waterproofing can help protect your valuable assets and keep the air in your home healthier. Since water can lead to mold and other issues, this is a valuable home upgrade to make—but what exactly does it entail? 

Here’s a look at how you waterproof the interior of a basement:

  • Plug holes

  • Fill any cracks in walls

  • Caulk doors, windows, and window wells to ensure they’re sealed

  • Apply a waterproof coating to flooring and walls

  • Invest in drainage and a sump pump

What’s the Return on Investment for Basement Waterproofing?

Generally, you can expect a return on investment of about 30% from a basement waterproofing job. This can be a great selling point when putting your home on the market since waterproofing offers many benefits, like preventing foundation damage and mold growth.

How Much Does Basement Waterproofing Cost?

Unlike kitchen upgrades, appliances, or paint jobs, basement waterproofing methods change slowly over the years. You’re not likely to see your waterproofing job fall out of fashion or become less trendy in a few years, no matter how you carried it out.

On average, waterproofing a basement costs $4,600. Depending on what other work you may need done, it can range anywhere from $2,200 to $7,200 and up. Per square foot, you can expect to spend between $5 and $10.

Can I DIY Basement Waterproofing?

If you’re a seasoned DIYer, you can most likely handle basement waterproofing yourself. While the job includes plugging any holes, filling cracks in the walls, caulking windows, window wells, and doors with a watertight seal, and applying a waterproof coating, you might also need to install a drainage system and pump sump. 

It’s also possible for you to handle some components of basement waterproofing (depending on your DIY skill level), and let a pro handle the rest to ensure your return on investment stays high.

Basement Waterproofing Benefits

Basement laundry room
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

A damp basement is going to sharply decrease interest and value in your home. An out-of-date kitchen or bathroom doesn’t do much to improve your home’s value, but a leaking basement creates very valid concerns of standing water or black mold that go far beyond practical or aesthetic concerns.

Over time, a poorly waterproofed basement will be much more trouble than it's worth, even compared to the hassle of waterproofing. Plus, any property in your basement—like a pool table, big-screen TV, or a box of family photo albums—could be subject to loss that probably won't be covered by insurance. 

That’s why waterproofing your basement is an important home improvement to make. Here are some of the benefits of waterproofing your basement:


When making any home improvement, it’s a major bonus if it’s something that attracts buyers—and helps you recoup your money. Waterproofing a basement has a great potential ROI that makes it even more worthwhile.

Extra Room

You can turn your waterproofed basement into an extra bedroom, office, gym, or even a safe storage space for documents.

Avoid Damage

Water can cause cracks in the foundation or walls. The cracks are often not noticeable at first, so you might not know what is happening until after damage has set in.

Lower Energy Bills

An overly humid basement can affect other rooms, making your HVAC system work harder. By waterproofing your basement, you could see lower heating and cooling costs.

Prevent Mold

Besides a wet basement dampening buyer interest, a leaky basement can become a breeding ground for mold. 

Water in your dark basement provides the perfect environment for mold. Mold spores can cause several kinds of respiratory infections, aggravate asthma, and cause itchy eyes and skin. Mold can also emit a funky smell you don’t want in your home.

Prevent Flooding

If you live in an area with bad storms, waterproofing your basement will definitely provide you with a return on investment—even if just by helping to prevent flooding that could damage your foundation, destroy furniture and possessions, and much more. You’ll no longer have to worry about basement flooding or water seeping through when a big storm hits.

Now that you know the return on investment for basement waterproofing, it’s time to get started. If you’re not into DIYing this job, look into hiring a local basement waterproofing company and check this home improvement project off your list.

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