Basic Principles of Waterproofing
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Basic Principles of Waterproofing

Basic Principles of Waterproofing

On paper, achieving a complete waterproofed structure seems like an easy job to achieve accomplish. In fact, that is why many contractors do the waterproofing themselves. However, the following information can be used to help achieve a water-tight structure:

  • Drainage – providing a means of removing water that enters.
  • Drying – allowing moisture to be removed.
  • Durability – providing materials with appropriate durability and a manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Research- having as much information as possible on the best solutions for solving waterproofing issues before carrying out any waterproofing job or before buying any waterproofing product

Unfortunately, in most construction cases that we encounter, the objective of making structures water-tight is often times more difficult to achieve in reality. We’ve outlined below a few principles that we have learned over more than two decades of providing waterproofing services. Please note that these are just additional recommendations that only scratch the surface of waterproofing design and performance issues. For a complete and guaranteed waterproofing design and performance, we recommend that you contact us.

What should be done?

  • Always drain water off surfaces and avoid surface rundown. This reduces or eliminates moisture loads on the structure. When water is permitted to run down a surface, it increases the likelihood it will find a path for infiltration, such as a faulty construction joint or even a structural crack. Permitting water rundown can also degrade the appearance of the building by increasing dirt pickup and algae growth and also decrease the durability of the any finishes put in place by causing erosion of those finishes
  • Always provide waterproofing detailing that prevents water infiltration or seepage. A common scenario that is poorly detailed and is very notorious for leakages is installation of DSTV dishes and similar equipment on roofs and electrical conduits. Most technicians often fail to address the bolts which are drilled on the roof slab and the cables that run down into the building or house. Such details often permit water infiltrate via the bolts and the cables causing serious leakages.

waterproofing a construction joint

waterproofing a swimming pool

  • Simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability. Clean, simple and elegant often describe the most durable and effective waterproofing details. Limit the inclusion of design details that are difficult to successfully execute. Don’t needlessly complicate detailing by incorporating unnecessary plane changes.
  • Provide waterproofing detailing for joints (both expansion and construction joints), penetrations and unique conditions.

Installation of a water bar

  • Always select waterproofing systems or waterproofing contractors who offer demonstrated experience and a guarantee for waterproofing works done. Cost and durability should be carefully evaluated when choosing a waterproofing contractor. Repair costs for leakages are usually very expensive..

What should not be done?

  • Don’t ignore manufacturer’s recommendations and limitations published in their product literature. Always know that selecting a waterproofing product does not assure that the product will perform adequately in all applications. For instance, a leaking concrete flat roof has a different solution from a leaking flat roof made of glass..
  • Don’t assume all materials are applied in the same way. Waterproof performance relies on appropriate detailing and proper preparation (if any) of the surface. Always consult the manufacturer’s literature and the manufacturer’s technical representative when making product selections.

Although the above recommendations are not a comprehensive coverage of achieving water tight structures, they should go a long way to help in waterproofing structures.

Do you have any questions regarding construction waterproofing? Give us a call and we will be happy to help