Materials Used for Waterproofing
There are so many waterproofing products and systems in the market that it may be difficult to decide which waterproofing product and system is the best for your needs. It is important to understand that there is no “one-waterproofing-system-fits-all” kind of product in the market and which product to use depends heavily on your requirements and budget.
Understanding the nature of the place to be waterproofed
First of all, the place to be waterproofed must be thoroughly understood before deciding on which waterproofing materials, system or product to use. There are a few general guidelines which we can use:
Is your waterproofing system going to be the finishing layer and will there be human/equipment traffic onto the waterproofing membrane? This factor is exceptionally important because certain waterproofing products and systems do not support human or machinery traffic, any form of traffic on the waterproofing membrane will damage the functionality of it. If you intend to have traffic on your waterproofing membrane, consult the supplier for a trafficable waterproofing system.
b. Exposed or Concealed System
Is your waterproofing system concealed beneath tiles, timber decking or any form of protection? If there is some form of protective layer on top of your waterproofing membrane (concealed), the waterproofing membrane is not subjected to direct sunlight and hence there is little expansion and contraction. If there is no protective layer on top of your waterproofing membrane (exposed), the waterproofing membrane is subjected to direct sunlight and wear and tear becomes a cause for concern. It is important to note that certain waterproofing materials are able to withstand constant/daily expansion and contraction better than others. Hence when selecting the waterproofing system you will need to pay attention to the suitability of the system for your specific usage/environment.
c. Surface to be waterproofed
Different waterproofing systems, membranes and products have different bonding properties to different surfaces hence you must know what form of substrate lies below your waterproofing and whether the chosen waterproofing membrane is able to bond well enough to that substrate. Certain waterproofing membranes are able to bond very well with concrete surfaces while they are unable to bond well with timber or wooden surfaces, so when selecting the waterproofing system to be installed you will need to understand the properties of the waterproofing materials and membrane and also the nature of the surface to be waterproofed.
2. Work within the budget which you have set aside
There are many different grades of waterproofing materials, while the more expensive does not necessarily equate to a better quality. Some waterproofing membranes are more expensive because of the ease of their application, some are more expensive for being made from higher quality materials. There are many ways to work around a waterproofing system to achieve similar, if not the same, results.
For example, a polyurethane-based (PU) waterproofing membrane cost a fair bit more than a cementitious waterproofing membrane and the PU-based waterproofing membrane is arguably a better system due to its durability on the roof. However, when you are waterproofing your toilets or kitchens, the PU-based waterproofing membrane has almost no advantage over the cementitious waterproofing membrane. As a result, it is not necessary to use the more expensive PU-based waterproofing membrane in this scenario and you can achieve the same efficiency by using the cheaper cementitious waterproofing membrane.
All in all, waterproofing is a highly niche industry that requires many years of industrial experience in order to be proficient. Choosing the right waterproofing materials and systems requires a deep understanding of waterproofing systems and the environmental conditions. A waterproofing specialist contractor will be able to provide expert advice and recommendation for your waterproofing needs.