Waterproofing & Dampproofing
Protecting the structural integrity of a building or structure as well as any interior components or finishes is the job of the waterproofing system. Not to be confused with dampproofing, waterproofing will withstand a head of hydrostatic pressure whereas dampproofing will not as it relies on water shedding without a head pressure. Both types of moisture protection are available and have their place in the construction industry. It is important to know and understand the differences to best protect the building. Waterproofing is an important and critical component to your building envelope system.
Deck Membranes - Pedestrian
If your waterproofing membrane will be exposed to any type of traffic, ultraviolet light, furniture etc. it is necessary to protect the membrane from all of those things that will potentially damage or shorten the life expectancy of your membrane. Traditionally this was accomplished with a two-step application of the membrane itself (base coat) followed by a protection layer (top coat). This method is still employed in the majority of circumstances although there are also some one-coat materials available for lighter traffic areas.
Deck Membranes - Vehicular
Waterproofing membranes designed for vehicular traffic areas are subject to much higher performance criteria as they must withstand far greater stresses than a pedestrian system. Abrasion, shear, adhesion, torque, snow plowing, chemical attack, type of vehicle traffic and amount of traffic volume are among the stresses that must be taken into account when choosing a membrane for vehicle traffic. Aesthetic considerations are also important to most building owners and are another reason for using a traffic membrane. The inconvenience to the occupants and owners during the application and curing process is high, which increases the importance of system selection and consultation prior to commencing.
Cold, Fluid Applied
Cold, fluid applied waterproofing membranes are traditionally used for below grade or split slab construction applications. Fluid applied membranes have the advantage of creating a seamless, monolithic coating to withstand head pressure and prevent water ingress to the structure. The lack of seams, which are a potential weak area, make these types of materials an integral and often specified component in the building or structure.
Hot rubberized asphalt has been employed for many years in similar applications as the cold applied fluids, in particular for roofing applications. Similar to the cold applied products, it will also create a fully bonded, seamless and monolithic membrane resistant to hydrostatic pressure. The process of applying this type of membrane requires special equipment and experience but results in excellent long lasting protection.
Waterstops come in a variety of types, shapes, sizes and usages. Waterstops can be made of various types of plastic such as PVC, thermoplastic vulcanized rubber, polyethylene or rubbers like neoprene or SBR as well as various metals. Hydrophilic waterstops are another method of controlling water ingress through cold joints (not for use in expansion joints where movement is expected) as they expand upon contact with water and stop it from passing through the joint.
Self Adhesive Membranes
Commonly referred to as “Peel & Stick” membranes, these are sheet (roll) applied products that are fully adhered to the substrate to mitigate lateral water movement. Advantages of this type of membrane include factory controlled thickness, elastomeric properties that allow the membrane to move with the building, vapour and gas resistant properties as well as ease of installation and no specialty equipment needed during the installation.