Sophisticated and Affordable Waterproofing Systems
In construction, a building or structure is waterproofed with the use of membranes and coatings to protect contents as well as protecting structural integrity.
In building construction, waterproofing is a fundamental aspect of creating a building envelope, which is a controlled environment. The roof covering materials, siding, foundations, and all of the various penetrations through these surfaces need to be water-resistant and sometimes waterproof. Roofing materials are generally designed to be water-resistant and shed water from a sloping roof, but in some conditions, such as ice damming and on flat roofs, the roofing must be waterproof. Many types of waterproof membrane systems are available, including felt paper or tar paper with asphalt or tar to make a built-up roof, other bituminous waterproofing, EPDM rubber, hypalon, polyvinyl chloride, liquid roofing, and more.
Walls are not subjected to standing water, and the water-resistant membranes used as house wraps are designed to be breathable to let moisture escape. Walls also have vapour barriers or air barriers. Damp proofing is another aspect of waterproofing. Masonry walls are built with a damp-proof course to prevent rising damp, and the concrete in foundations needs to be damp-proofed or waterproofed with a liquid coating, basement waterproofing membrane (even under the concrete slab floor where polyethylene sheeting is commonly used), or an additive to the concrete. A potential problem in earth sheltered houses is too much humidity, so waterproofing is critical in these houses. Water seepage can lead to mould growth causing significant damage and air quality issues. Properly waterproofing foundation walls is required to prevent deterioration and seepage.
Another specialized area of waterproofing is roof top decks and balconies. Waterproofing systems have become quite sophisticated and are a very specialized area. Failed waterproof decks and failed waterproof tile decks are one of the leading causes of water damage to building structures, as well as personal injury when they fail.
The penetrations through a building envelope need to be built in a way such that water does not enter the building, such as using flashingand special fittings for pipes, vents, wires, etc. Some caulkings are durable, but many are not a reliable method of waterproofing.
Over the past two decades, the construction industry has had technological advances in waterproofing materials, including integral waterproofing systems as well as more advanced membrane materials. New membrane materials seek to overcome shortcomings in older methods like PVC and HDPE. Generally, new technology in waterproof membranes relies on polymer-based materials that are extremely adhesive to create a seamless barrier around the outside of a structure.
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