The REAL Risk of Using Inferior Waterproofing Products
By: Allen Anderson / July 20, 2015

When it comes to waterproofing, few people can be considered experts. The proper knowledge of which products to use combined with the understanding of when to use a certain product, is a feat that few have truly mastered.

Out of sight is NOT out of mind for waterproofing. The entire building, from the foundation to the roof needs to be watertight. As you know, the smallest crack in the exterior or interior of a building can start producing mold or mildew, requiring extensive repairs to fix. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning the waterproofing on your next building.

Exterior Waterproofing

Keeping water out of the exterior of the building is a process that can depend on many variables. Exterior waterproofing  products can be categorized into a few subcategories.

First, fluid applied waterproofing products can be rolled onto a surface to form a thin watertight membrane. These products can be a heated, rubberized membrane that dries quickly, or a cold-applied membrane that can be sprayed on a surface. Regardless of temperature, fluid applied products are directly applied to the concrete or building material, and when dry, create a watertight membrane.

Second,  bentontite waterproofing products are designed to mirror the effects of impermeable soils. These products contain a sodium-bentonite layer surrounded by an interwoven fabric locking the bentonite in place. Certain products are better for inclement weather conditions, while others are good for areas that haven’t been set with concrete foundations, or building materials.

Lastly, crystalline products are designed to fill the holes in cement. This product can be applied as a chemical treatment for concrete, and can even seal small hairline cracks. These products are great for tunnels, manholes, sewage, and water treatment plants.

Exterior Waterproofing: What Could Go Wrong?

If you fail to use adequate waterproofing materials on the outside of your construction project, you could be faced with pooling water in your basement or lower levels,  mold, mildew, and even structural damage.

In addition, it can be very difficult to figure out where the issue is below ground. Because of this, the time costs of making a waterproofing mistake are very expensive. Often, the cost of getting waterproofing wrong the first time can effectively double the original cost.

Interior Waterproofing

There are four kinds of waterproofing products that are commonly used for the interior of a building: cementitious materials, roof waterproofing products, and air and vapor waterproofing products.

The cementitious material is deceiving, in that it isn’t only for cement. They can be applied on cement, metal, masonry, wood, and tile.  These products should be used for restoration and renovation projects.

Next, roof waterproofing  products need to be able to withstand rain, snow, ice, and, they need to have the proper amount of drainage. These products are durable, and are available as rubberized asphalt, and as sheets of underlying bonding material.

Lastly,  air and vapor barriers are above ground wraps that can accomplish the same as liquid based sealant. These products are widely used in both commercial and residential settings, and are easily applied as they adhere to most construction materials. These products are water resistant, vapor permeable air membranes that create a water resistant barrier and air barrier when applied properly. For more information on air and vapor barriers, check out our last post.

Interior Waterproofing: What Could Go Wrong?

This kind of waterproofing is easier to troubleshoot, because it’s inside and much more accessible than exterior waterproofing. These issues are similar to exterior waterproofing issues; mold, mildew, structural damage, and time costs to repair the water damage.

A big difference between interior and exterior waterproofing is that interior waterproofing does not completely stop moisture from permeating the building. This means that your waterproofing products can deteriorate over time and your building will be more susceptible to mold, mildew, corrosion, and even deterioration.

With waterproofing, it is absolutely essential to do it right the first time. Not only will water damage produce unsightly mildew that can make people sick, or water damage that could damage the structural integrity of your building, the cost of redoing your waterproofing can double or triple if you incorrectly apply your products or use the wrong ones. Be sure to pick the right ones by reading the product description carefully, and by talking to the experts at Smalley & Company!

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