What's With the shiny basement walls?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 by Ben Bates


Radiant Wall BarrierMany people who’ve seen our work, whether in person, via media or on our website wonder, “what’s with the shiny basement walls?”

Well, the name for those walls is the ThermalDry® Basement Radiant Wall Barrier, and to best understand its purpose, we’ll first do a quick review of a few basement-related facts and then an overview of how our basement waterproofing system works. 

3 Quick Basement Facts: 

  1. Concrete foundations, whether poured or block, are porous. If there is enough water and pressure on the other side of your basement walls, there’s a good chance water will find its way in! 

  2. Cracks happen! Even in newer homes, cracks occur in foundation walls due to settlement, shifting soils and exterior pressure - often caused by sitting water, and they can happen at any time during a home’s lifespan. And remember… cracks make it easier for water to enter your basement. 

  3. In basements that have rooms finished with drywall or paneling, it’s impossible to know what’s happening to that foundation wall. In storage areas with large shelving, appliances or other mechanical components this is often true as well: sometimes we don’t know if there is seepage or cracks. 

So understanding the three facts above, our waterproofing system works with what may naturally happen to foundation walls. Here’s the overview of our process:

If our inspector determines water is entering a home via a crack, and that the crack is not one related to the structural integrity of the home, we may recommend our FlexiSpan® Foundation Crack Repair System. Even if we seal the leaky crack, that water will make its way to the seal and downward… eventually going somewhere… likely on your basement floor! 

Radiant Wall BarrierIf the water is penetrating a general area of a basement, (often efflorescence, wall damage, wet floors, mould and high humidity are the tell-tale signs of water intrusion) we know by the nature of concrete and the potential for cracks, that this is going to continue to happen! 

So we create an in-floor drain where the foundation wall meets the floor, and this drain runs into the sump pump system. Water still may enter, but it will safely be moved out and away from the home.

Now, the radiant wall barrier, aka: the shiny walls; serves three purposes. 

  1. It directs any leaking water down and directly into the drainage system. So yes, the walls can still be finished on top of the barrier and the floor can be as well. The barrier helps to seal off any excess humidity or damp-feeling which is the result of the wet walls. 

  2. Whether the space is finished or not, the radiant barrier helps make a basement more comfortable and energy-efficient. Its reflective surface can reflect up to 97% of the heat back into your home!

  3. Unlike drywall or fibreglass insulation, the barrier is made of inorganic material, making it mould, mildew and rot-resistant, and therefore perfect for the naturally damp environment of basements.

It just makes sense! 

If you would like to learn if our system can help with your wet, leaky basement, we are pleased to offer you a complimentary inspection and a written estimate. Reach out to us at: 1-866-277-1277 or click here to submit your information to us online.

About the author

Ben Bates

Ben Bates lives in the Chatham-Kent area and has been involved in the basement, crawl space and foundation industry since 2008. He has a passion for improving homes the right way and knows what it takes to waterproof, encapsulate or stabilize homes in Ontario. He assists with over 900 projects per year.

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Our Locations:

Advanced Basement Systems
23576 Prince Albert Road
Chatham, ON N7M 5J7
1-226-706-2439


Advanced Basement Systems
199 Exeter Rd Unit E
London, On N6L 1A4
1-226-270-8565
Coverage Area: Southwestern Ontario