Using Waterproofing Techniques when building a property, whether a house or any other construction, it is important to protect it and keep it in a good condition for as long as possible. Among the main concerns a property owner or builder has, is keeping the property protected from external elements, especially water. While water is a precious natural asset, water protection is one of the main challenges to prevent damage to properties.
Advantages of Waterproofing
Statistics show that waterproofing only costs 1% of a building construction cost but when ignored, it can be responsible for almost 80% of the damage. A waterproofing system is essential because it helps treat areas like roofs, basements and walls by creating an impermeable barrier and helping surfaces become water-tight, leaving them unaffected by the negative impacts that damp conditions, water and vapor penetration create. The Waterproofing process is also helpful in safeguarding the integrity of the structural elements and surfaces by protecting them from water ingress and possible cracks and spalling due to chloride attacks and reinforcement bar (rebar) corrosion.
Different types of Waterproofing
The practice of waterproofing dates back to the ages where the different methods and techniques used were bentonite clay, metal sheet membranes, liquid membranes, cement based, impregnated fabrics and so on. Therefore, choosing the best waterproofing system is quite pivotal. Here are some of the common waterproofing techniques used in building constructions.
Cementitious waterproofing is the easiest waterproofing method for indoor and outdoor namely wet areas and swimming pools but also for potable water tanks and reservoirs. Cementitious products are easy to find and readily available from suppliers and masonry shops. You can also check the best cementitious products on our website and you’re sure to find the materials you need to get your job done. Our cementitious products come with the smallest carbon footprint possible and build long-lasting structures that won’t need to be replaced or repaired.
Cementitious products include two-component polymer modified cementitious coating for external & internal waterproofing of concrete. Since cementitious materials are easy to mix and apply, cementitious waterproofing is widely used for indoor areas that are prone to getting wet like toilets, bathrooms, and kitchens and are very convenient where subsequent finish like tiling is anticipated as it will not require any mechanical key with the covering materials. It can be applied by anyone and doesn’t require expert workmanship. These coatings are handled similarly to cement, mixed in with water until it achieves the right consistency, and can be applied using a stiff-bristle brush or by troweling. Cementitious waterproofing does not require priming of a substrate before application but the surface should be sound and clean, free from laitance, oil, grease or any other contaminants; rough areas must be smoothed by grinding, the surface should be saturated with water without leaving any poodles and the coating should be applied without delay right after the surface preparation.
The cementitious coating can also protect infrastructures like highways and coastal structures from a chlorides environment and enhance the durability of reinforced concrete. When soaking the concrete is not possible, we recommend getting a bonding agent (a white, milky liquid) to be applied directly before brushing on the Waterproofing system. You will get better bonding and a more durable coating.
Cement based are sustainable, safe, breathable and offer a seamless coating system thanks to their excellent bonding capability.
Compared to the cementitious method, the liquid waterproofing membrane method offers more flexibility. This is because it turns into a rubbery coating on your wall and roofs after the liquid cures. The elongation properties of such a method will reach as high as 280%.
Along with their elongation properties and flexibility, they also feature chemical resistance but most importantly sustainability and longevity, providing successful installation and giving maximum quality results.
The benefits of this process lie in its simplicity to apply. This method involves the application of a thin coating of primer and top coating which can be applied via brush, roller, spray, or trowel. The surface being treated usually need to be completely dry and clean from dirt. There should not be any loose patches on the surface so the contractor needs to ensure proper surface preparation prior to application. When applied over a concrete surface it fills the cracks of the concrete creating a protective vapor barrier system, it adheres to concrete and maintains a water-tight seal, thus protecting the concrete and preserving its strength and integrity.
PU Liquid Membranes
The REINFORCED Polyurethane liquid membranes combine a moisture-triggered, single component, polyurethane resin with Polyester Fleece Reinforcement to create a highly conformable, self-adhering waterproofing membrane that is resistant to ponding water within minutes of application.
The Polyurethane liquid membrane can also be applied without the reinforcement fabric as a stand-alone system.
Care should be given when using this method since polyurethane is sensitive to the moisture content that is present in concrete slabs. Proper surface preparation, repairing joints and cracks, and priming are very essential before applying Polyurethane waterproofing. If done wrong, the waterproofing will be ineffective and will increase and hasten the occurrence of peeling and de-bonding. Polyurethane liquid membrane should be stirred well before using and laid out by roller, brush, or squeegee until all surface is covered. Using airless spray allows a considerable saving of manpower. Typically applied between 1.5 and 1.8 kg/m2.
Polyurethane must NEVER be mixed with any solvent or thinner.
In addition to the technical advantages, a PRIMER is also very helpful in the application process of the liquid PU as it allows the roller to glide easily and prevents clinging as it would onto unprimed concrete.
Polyurethane liquid membrane is perhaps the most comprehensible method in this list and it promises high elasticity and long useful life when protected from sunlight.
Once covered, the lifetime of the coating is considerably longer.
Liquid Bituminous Coating Waterproofing
Also known as asphalt coating, the liquid bituminous coating method is one of the cheapest and ideal for concrete foundations as it is an excellent waterproofing, damp-proof coarse (DPC) and protective coating agent. Bitumen is a by-product of crude oil refinement process and is comprised of several organic elements.
The coating is hence made of bitumen-based materials not suitable for sunlight exposure. In fact, extensive exposure to sunlight makes it fragile and brittle in the long run. That is why it is usually modified with additives.
Most commonly known are the SBS modifiers but it can also be added to PU making a pitch based PU product.
The Bitumen liquid membrane can be solvent base and can also be Water-base and comes in the form of an emulsion, usually rubberized.
Bituminous coatings are applied to surfaces in liquid form and are used to repel water from a variety of structures. the bituminous coating can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer (conventional, airless, or hot spray) as required.
Waterproofing Sheet Membranes
Waterproofing Membranes are preformed sheets that produce a layer of protection to a building. They can be classified into three popular categories: Bitumen, EPDM/TPO, and PVC.
This method is popularly used for low-sloped roofs because of its tried-and-tested track record. There are two types of this particular method: the torch-on-membrane and the self-adhesive-membrane.
The price market of bituminous membranes varies between $1 to $5 on average and these membranes have a thickness of 2mm to 4mm of waterproof materials and have an elongation of 150% to seal any cracks.
EPDM membranes i.e Firestone RubberGard
EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a synthetic rubber material with high tensile strength, exceptional durability, flexibility, and tolerance to varied weather conditions and seasonal temperature variations. One of the benefits of EPDM roofing is the lower cost of installation. EPDM comes in larger sheets or rolls, making it simple to install, and as a system, it is one of the most cost-effective roofing materials on the market. the EPDM roofing membrane is so light, the roof deck will not need to be reinforced.
Removing everything from the roof, applying an adhesive, and then rolling out the membrane is one of the most effective ways to install EPDM.
The EPDM can be installed either fully adhered or ballasted or laid loose.
Thanks to fewer seems in the system, leaks are uncommon (as long as the installation follows the manufacturer’s instructions), a high-quality EPDM can last a minimun of 20 years.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin, or TPO is the fastest-growing commercial roofing material on the market. It is a form of rubber that is resulting from a combination of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber and is incredibly durable
TPO is slightly more expensive than EPDM and other varieties of rolled rubber roofing. TPO is usually white on top, which helps reflect the sun’s light and prevents heat buildup within the structure.
Another advantage of TPO is that it allows for multiple installation options. It can be adhered to the roof deck with adhesives or nailed straight to it. It’s also possible to heat weld it around chimneys and other protrusions
Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC membranes are unrivaled in terms of durability. They are tough plastic substances that can bear a lot of strain, whether from heavy use or natural forces. That is why it is one of the most widely used roofing materials. They are also very sustainable and eco-friendly.
Prefabrication is another benefit of PVC roofing membranes. The roof can be measured and built off-site by the contractor. The only disadvantage of PVC roofing is its cost. However, while it costs more than TPO or EPDM, your roof will last for a long time usually backed by a lifetime warranty. Furthermore, while prefabrication has a greater material cost, it takes less time to install.
TPO is suitable for those on a budget, PVC for those looking for the most durable membrane roofing, and EPDM for those looking for a middle ground between TPO and PVC.
Overall, there is no really a best waterproofing technique. You can check any area around the building that requires waterproofing, such as bathrooms and kitchen, basement, balconies, decks, green roofs, swimming pools, walls, and water tanks, among others. Then, you can determine which type of waterproofing tools and thus technique, can be applied to your property surface. You may also refer to professionals to ensure that what you are doing is right.
Whatever the waterproofing materials you choose, you will not regret making the decision to protect your investment from the damages that water moisture and leakages can bring.