There is often confusion around the terms ‘waterproofing’ and ‘tanking’ with the two frequently interchanged when referring to cellar conversions.

Cellar waterproofing refers to general waterproofing work on an underground cellar space. This can refer to tanking but also to other methods such as barrier, integral and drained waterproofing systems.

Cellar tanking refers to a specific method of waterproofing using a slurry, render coat or membrane direct to the the walls, floors and sometimes ceiling of an underground space.

Any homeowner who is considering using their cellar for effective storage needs to ensure the space is waterproof. Because such spaces are below ground level, they are highly susceptible to leaks and flooding. External water pressure in the ground surrounding a cellar area can also cause cracks in the masonry, leading to further water-damage problems.

If you want to make your cellar usable, the area should contain some form of waterproofing, either by tanking the cellar or by installing a water management system containing cavity wall membranes and drainage. You can learn more about waterproofing by visiting our Basement Waterproofing FAQ page.

Basement waterproofing system

By applying a waterproof layer to interior walls of a property, cellar tanking is a cost-effective way to waterproof your underground area. It is a tried-and-tested method of waterproofing that has been in use for decades. Having that said, it is important to survey the area in order to specify the most appropriate waterproofing solution as certain areas are under extreme below ground water pressure or the wall surfaces may not be suitable for direct tanking and might require more advanced solutions.

Tanking a cellar space is only effective if the surfaces are stable and undamaged. Particular attention must be paid to weak spots and joints such as where the floor meets the wall.

What is Cellar Tanking Slurry?

To waterproof a cellar, a cement-like slurry or render is used to coat the surfaces of the area. It is a specially formulated mixture that blends cements, aggregates and waterproofing agents together that form a strong waterproof seal.

Cellar tanking is a popular and effective method of keeping an underground area free from water ingress. However, this system may not be the most appropriate to deal with the damp in your cellar.

Where cellar tanking keeps water out of the underground area, a more suitable solution may be to install a cavity drainage system.

This allows the water to enter the cellar area behind a waterproof cavity wall membrane. Any free water entering the cavity is directed through a drainage system, is collected in a sump and then pumped out of the property. The water management system is hidden from view behind the wall and floor finishes making the cavity drainage system ideal for cellar waterproofing.

The best way for you to find out how suitable your cellar is for conversion is to contact your local branch to arrange a survey.

Once this survey is complete, we will give you the best option for waterproofing your basement or cellar and the work can then be completed by our PCA accredited waterproofing team.

Operating since 1935, Richardson & Starling specialists have gathered more than 85 years of waterproofing experience. We pride ourselves in providing honest and cost-effective solutions to make our client’s properties dry and suitable for their new intended use.

To give customers peace of mind, we offer a 10-year guarantee on our basement waterproofing full systems. Contact your local branch today for more information on how we can help make your cellar dry and fit for purpose.

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