Waterproofing is a way of making a structure or an object impervious to water ingress. This means that water cannot enter into nor penetrate the structure or object. It remains unaffected by water at specified conditions and the object can be used in a wet environment.
Waterproofing is used in a variety of applications. It helps to keep the insides of buildings dry by preventing water from penetrating them. It also helps to reduce the humidity inside a structure and minimizes the damage done to furniture and other materials.
It is a must in areas with high levels of rainfall and flooding as well as where there is high groundwater table. It helps to keep foundations and basements intact in such places. You may read further on this here.
Closely related to waterproofing is damp proofing. This is when a structure is made resistant to dampness or humidity. Damp proofing is keeping vapor as well as soil moisture from damaging a material.
Structures and Materials That Can be Waterproofed
Many materials that are located where water can easily reach them need to be waterproofed. These can be water in the form of rainfall, water bodies, etc. Some of these materials are:
- Watercrafts such as hulls of boats and ships
- Basements, decks and roofs of buildings made with concrete
- Clothing materials like waders and raincoats
- Paper packaging
- Electronic materials, etc.
Waterproofing is used a lot in construction as well as in building designs. For most people, this is where they would need it most. Not everyone owns a watercraft, canvas, or any of the other materials or structures that may require waterproofing. But in construction, it is used to preserve the strength as well as the durability of a concrete surface.
Concrete is a porous and pervious material that can absorb water, chemicals and other contaminants which can make a building deteriorate. Waterproofing prevents this and makes it impervious.
Types of Waterproofing
There are several methods of waterproofing that can be carried out on a building. You will find them below.
This is the easiest waterproofing method available in construction. This is because the materials needed are readily available and easy to mix and applied to where it is needed. The cementitious method is used in areas such as bathrooms and toilets. As such, contraction and expansion will not affect it as it is not exposed to weather and sunlight.
With the cementitious method, using a brush with a long handle helps to make the job much easier. Also, an acrylic additive can be added to the mix to make it solid and more durable. Cementitious waterproofing can be used in these types of structures:
- Cargo docks and ports
- Railways and subways systems
- Concrete dykes, river locks/channels
- Water and sewage treatment systems
- Home toilets and bathrooms
Liquid membrane is a method of waterproofing used for roofs. It involves applying a specialist roof coating and it is ideal for most roof types. This method uses a fully bonded, monolithic and liquid-based coating on a roof.
When this coat cures, it forms a rubber-like elastic membrane that can expand. It can also return to its original form after expansion without any damage.
Liquid membrane can be applied to most conventional roofing materials such as concrete, felt, bitumen and asphalt. It provides more flexibility than using a cementitious method and its durability is dependent on the polymer type used. Liquid membrane is cost-effective and it is ideal for waterproofing both new and existing roofs. You may learn more about liquid membrane in this article http://www.understandconstruction.com/waterproofing-membranes.html.
These are systems that are designed for protecting residential and commercial buildings and they are good for roof construction. Bitumen is made up of natural liquids that have high viscosity and are sticky as well as waterproof. There are two types of bituminous waterproofing. They are:
This is a method that is typically used to waterproof roofs that are low-sloped. There is a torch along the membrane which is also self-adhesive. These self-adhesive compounds can include polymers, asphalt, as well as fillers. Resins and oil may be added to improve the adhesion.
Bituminous coating is flexible and may also be referred to as asphalt coating. It is very good for protection as a waterproofing agent, especially on concrete. Bituminous coating should not be exposed to sunlight as it will become brittle and fragile. It is typically used for areas beneath a screed wet such as in concrete foundations.
Polyurethane Liquid Membrane
Polyurethane is a substance that is made up of two elements with one a reactor and the other a base. Isocyanide acts as the reactor while polyol is the base. When these two are combined in a particular ratio, a liquid coating is created that is useful for waterproofing.
Polyurethane is a popular choice due to how easy it is to install. Its application is fast and requires less skill as well as supervision. It is also wear-resistant and durable while providing a seamless finish and ideal for post-construction use.
Why Waterproofing is Beneficial
- It prevents the formation of cracks that let water in on concrete surfaces
- It increases the lifespan of a structure
- It prevents seepages in walls and ceilings
- It prevents rusting of any reinforcement used.
- It helps to reduce the maintenance cost of a structure
- It enhances the value of the property.
- It provides a clean and healthy environment.
If you are looking to waterproof your building or any structure, you can easily get a leak detection expert or waterproofing contractor Cape Town or any other city you live in. Leak detection experts not only help detect problem areas but also use a range of materials and methods to help prevent leaks. They are typically also able to handle damp-proofing.
Leaks are terrible for any structure as it weakens it. Add to this the health implications it can cause through the growth of mildew and you will find waterproofing beneficial. While this can be done during construction, you can as well call on experts to work on existing systems. They will help to detect any problem areas and go ahead to fix them.