Removing Waterproofing from Foundation Walls

Waterproofing is an essential process for protecting foundation walls from water damage. However, there may come a time when you need to remove the waterproofing for various reasons. Whether it’s due to damage, renovation, or simply wanting to refresh the appearance of your foundation walls, it’s crucial to employ the right techniques to ensure a successful removal. In this article, we will explore the most effective methods for removing waterproofing from foundation walls.

What is Waterproofing?

Before we delve into the techniques for removing waterproofing, let’s first understand what it entails. Waterproofing is the process of applying a protective coating or membrane to the foundation walls to prevent the infiltration of water. This is especially important in areas with high moisture levels, as water can seep through the walls and cause structural damage, mold growth, and other issues.

Waterproofing materials can vary, but they often include bitumen-based coatings, liquid membranes, elastomeric coatings, or cementitious products. While effective in preventing water damage, these materials can be challenging to remove once applied. Therefore, it’s important to approach the removal process with care and using appropriate methods.

Techniques for Removing Waterproofing from Foundation Walls

  1. Mechanical Removal: This technique involves physically scraping off the waterproofing material from the foundation walls. It is best suited for cementitious waterproofing products or thick elastomeric coatings. Here’s how to approach it:

  2. Start by wearing protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask to protect yourself from potential hazards.

  3. Use a scraper or a putty knife to manually scrape away the waterproofing material. Work in small sections and apply firm but controlled pressure.
  4. Be cautious not to damage the foundation walls. If necessary, use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any stubborn residue.

  5. Chemical Strippers: Chemical strippers can be highly effective in removing waterproofing coatings that are difficult to scrape off manually. However, it is crucial to follow safety precautions and manufacturer instructions when using chemical strippers. Here’s what you should know:

  6. Choose a chemical stripper that is specifically formulated for the type of waterproofing material you’re removing. Read the product label for compatibility and usage instructions.

  7. Apply a thick layer of the chemical stripper to the waterproofing material using a brush or roller.
  8. Let the stripper penetrate the coating for the recommended amount of time specified by the manufacturer.
  9. Use a scraper or pressure washer to remove the softened coating. Be gentle to avoid damaging the foundation walls.

  10. Heat Application: Heat can prove useful for removing certain types of waterproofing materials that are resistant to mechanical removal or chemical strippers. Here’s how to use heat for removing waterproofing:

  11. Choose a heat source such as a heat gun or a propane torch (be cautious when using an open flame).

  12. Apply heat to the waterproofing material, moving the heat source back and forth over a small section at a time. Do not hold the heat source in one spot for too long to avoid causing damage.
  13. As the material softens, use a scraper to gently lift away the softened coating. If necessary, reapply heat to stubborn areas.

  14. Pressure Washing: Pressure washing can be an effective technique for removing certain types of waterproofing materials. However, it should be approached with caution to prevent any damage to the foundation walls:

  15. Use a pressure washer with a suitable nozzle that provides enough pressure to remove the waterproofing material but not enough to damage the walls.

  16. Start at a lower pressure setting and gradually increase if necessary. Test on a small inconspicuous area first to gauge the impact of the pressure on the walls.
  17. Hold the pressure washer nozzle at a slight angle to prevent the water from directly hitting the wall and causing damage.
  18. Move the nozzle in a sweeping motion, working in small sections until the waterproofing material is removed.


Q: How do I determine the best technique for removing waterproofing from my foundation walls?

A: The choice of technique depends on factors such as the type of waterproofing material used, the condition of the walls, and your comfort level with the removal method. Consider consulting a professional if you are unsure.

Q: Can I remove waterproofing from foundation walls on my own?

A: While it is possible to remove waterproofing on your own, it can be a labor-intensive process that requires careful attention to avoid damaging the walls. If you lack experience or encounter challenges, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

Q: Are there any safety precautions to keep in mind during the removal process?

A: Yes, ensure you wear appropriate protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask. Follow safety instructions provided by manufacturers when using chemical strippers or heat sources.


Removing waterproofing from foundation walls necessitates careful consideration and appropriate techniques to avoid potential damage. Mechanical removal, chemical strippers, heat application, and pressure washing are all viable options depending on the type of waterproofing material used. Remember to follow safety precautions and consult professionals if needed. By employing the right techniques, you can effectively remove waterproofing and proceed with your desired renovations or maintenance on your foundation walls.

Waterproofing Somerset West

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Need help?
Hi there,
Can I offer you a FREE no obligation quote?