Concrete + Water Don’t Mix Well: What You Should Know About Waterproofing

Do you know that even the most superior of concretes still have a network of capillaries and pores? Insufficient waterproofing can lead to significant leaks and dampness which in turn results in formation of mould, premature wear and tear to internal finishes, and hazards to your health—most specifically in heated surroundings where bacteria can feed off of dam concrete.

Concrete Waterproofing Levels

There are a couple of waterproofing levels when it comes to concrete waterproofing. The lowest being ‘water tight’, where water won’t freely flow or run through concrete. The higher levels being ‘damp proof’, where there shouldn’t be noticeable water access and that water vapor resistance at extremely high levels must be attained. This also applies regardless of the presence or absence of hydrostatic pressure.

Waterproofing Concrete

The most common method is to coat concrete with a durable waterproofing agent—whether it’s an exterior membrane, tank system, built-up treatment, or surface coating. Another method is to realise and accept that the concrete will leak over time and to build a cavity drainage system inside the concrete.

Surface coatings, tanking, and membranes can effectively work, but are relatively hard to apply. This means that you must engage the right contractor with the right skills and equipment to effectively carry out the waterproofing job. On the other hand, cavity drainage systems have considerably reduced internal space and can quickly become a liability since issues can arise without preamble. In the event that the system fails, water can freely flow into the concrete’s internal structure wreaking damage from the inside out.

Summing Up

Remember that Damp Proof + Water Tight = Waterproof. When gauging the level of waterproofing you require, if you’re not really worried about high levels or humidity or dampness, water tight is best. But, if you require utmost dryness, then waterproofing is a must. Know, however, that more importantly, concrete structures must be initially designed and constructed properly to ensure that additional protection measures can be applied efficiently and function effectively.

Readers Comments (3)

  1. Jaqueline J. Smith July 17, 2015 @ 1:36 am

    I think the bottom line is to always hire a professional to do the waterproofing for you. Never DIY.

  2. Pearl R. Crocker July 17, 2015 @ 2:46 am

    Sometimes water tightness works well enough for me, even in high levels of humindity and dampness. But waterproofing is a such fool-proof measure that’s really worth considering.

  3. Internal damage that destroys your concrete from the inside and out is the worst. Instead of relying on waterproofing agent, hire a engineer to do the job. It’s a really good precautionary method to prevent internal damage from worsening

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