When it comes to homes and commercial buildings, waterproofing is a critical element for protecting the building and preserving its value. It is a fundamental requirement of construction. A building or structure is waterproofed with the use of membranes and coatings to protect the structural integrity. Poor waterproofing can fail leading to cracks, mould issues, and structural defects like concrete cancers. Failure of your waterproofing can cause safety issues, significantly reducing the value of your property, and lead to unfitness for occupation.
A waterproof membrane is required to protect a floor (particularly if there are rooms beneath) from liquid which could penetrate or damage it. Therefore, floor penetrations such as floor wastes and other fixtures need to be accommodated with extreme care so that the continuity of the waterproofing is not impaired and subsurface drainage above the membrane is provided. A waterproofing membrane is a thin layer of water-tight material that is laid over a surface. This layer is continuous and does not allow water to pass through it. These membranes are composed of thin layers of waterproof material. Most are about 2 to 4mm thick. There are essentially 2 types of membranes, sheet-based membranes and liquid applied membranes. The application of waterproofing to specially designed drainage systems can drastically improve the integrity of the waterproof membrane into the drainage.
Due to the nature of concrete and reinforced concrete, structures are built divided into sections by forming joints, namely three types – construction joints, movement joints and connection joints. The key function of joint sealing is to minimize water ingress and create a secure waterproofing barrier. The seal must be capable of accommodating the anticipated joint opening and closing due to static reasons or temperature changes. Joint sealing solutions are recommended for use in all kinds of construction and joints for waterproofing. Ponding test must be conducted after applying waterproofing layer to the concrete surface. It is to make sure no more water able to penetrate the concrete.
As the Australian Institute of Waterproofing member Wet-seal notes, waterproofing makes up to 80% of the complaints during construction in Australia alone. It’s an impressive statistic considering waterproofing does not take up a huge chunk of the cost. Waterproofing failure has different potential causes, but poor workmanship and the use of a membrane that is not fit for the purpose or is not part of an entire system are the leading causes.
If you are unsure about the condition of the waterproofing at your property, we at Effective Building and Consultancy can carry out building inspections to guide you through on the rectification process. Once this is completed, we will recommend the most cost-effective solution to help you save on waterproofing costs. Call us today on (02) 9613 3353 or visit our website on https://www.effectiveconsultancy.com.au/ to book in an inspection with us!