The Basics of Waterproofing for the Home

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When it comes to building construction, waterproofing is one of the most structurally important aspects that are key to its integrity. Waterproofing is a process that stops water from seeping into the building structure, internally and externally. It keeps the humidity inside the space in check and protects the internal contents of the space from humidity and water damage.

There are a fair few waterproofing solutions methods and processes. Most of us are guilty of blindly following the advice of a contractor without understanding how these processes work along with their inherent benefits and disadvantages. In this article we will attempt to understand some of the most important and widely used methods and techniques. This will allow you to make an informed decision should you ever need to waterproof your home.

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  1. Cementitious Waterproofing

This is probably the simplest type of waterproofing solution and uses a cementitious base with a water resistant compound to create a waterproof barrier. The chief disadvantage of this method is that cementitious products don’t hold up in the face of joint or crack movement. However easy availability and application procedure make these ideal for basic waterproofing.

  1. Liquid Waterproofing Membrane

A liquid waterproofing membrane is ideally used for terrace or roof waterproofing. A fully bonded monolithic liquid based coating is applied to the surface that cures to form a rubber like membrane. The benefits of this type of waterproofing are a quick application, low cost and its ability to stretch and contract with minimal damage. However its texture means that achieving even thickness ion coverage can be challenge, which in turn affects the efficacy of the product.

The most common is a polyurethane liquid membrane which can be used for terrace waterproofing. It is applied evenly across the surface to form a membrane. However, this material requires careful application as it can be very sensitive to the water present on the surface itself. Its biggest benefit is that it offers seamless waterproofing with high durability.

  1. Bituminous Waterproofing Solutions

Bituminous substances can be used for waterproofing in various ways, primarily as a bituminous membrane or as a bituminous coating.

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Bituminous membranes are ideal for sloping roof waterproofing. Self-adhesive asphalt or bituminous sheet membranes are simply stuck onto the surface. The sheets are enhanced with a coat of polymer for durable waterproofing. With skilled labour, placing these sheets is simple and efficient. The benefit of a sheet membrane is that it provides an even coating however its downsides include a high cost, high possibility of seams forming or leaks at the joints as well as environmental impact.

A bituminous coating on the other hand involves simply applying a coating of bitumen or asphalt over the surface. This is a simple and effective way to protect a structure. However bitumen by itself can be incredibly brittle and is not ideal for a surface that is exposed to sunlight. It is preferable to use this method for basement waterproofing. Alternately the bitumen is mixed with acrylic or polyurethane compounds to enhance its durability.

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