Waterproofing – Does it work?

Posted on September 10, 2020
By SITsupport

Waterproofing your high-rise or commercial building is crucial as the second line of defence for the longevity of your construction (the first being an optimal design).  A waterproofing system is a must to prevent moisture from penetrating your building. A suitable waterproofing system should also last many decades unless a catastrophic event occurs, such as a cyclone, excessive sunlight, vandalism, or earthquake.

Concrete is susceptible to deterioration from water and chemicals

By design, concrete is a porous material. Hydrostatic pressure, water gradient and capillary action are the methods through which water can pass. Cracks, structural and design defects, and improperly installed joints are especially at risk of deterioration from chemicals and water ingress. Even the highest grade of concrete is susceptible to permeability.

Permeability to chemicals varies with each type of concrete due to the water-cement ratio and curing time. Some of the more destructive chemicals are aluminium chloride, aluminium sulphate, acid waters, ferric sulphate, ferric sulphide, ammonia vapours, and aluminium chlorides and ammonium sulphates. These chemicals can crack concrete and destroy steel, along with organic and mineral acids. Other solutions may cause discolouration of concrete.

Water ingress into your commercial or high-rise building can be costly to repair

Insurance companies have statistics to show high failure rates with balconies, rooftop and terraces in high rise and commercial buildings. Water encroaching onto theses spaces cause mould and spores to grow, leading to health issues. Disputes with neighbours and tenants often end in litigation. Critical structural factors will eventually succumb to the demise if the water is allowed to infiltrate the concrete.

The risk of water infiltration will be undoubtedly diminished with a waterproofing system in place.

How does a waterproofing system operate?

A completed waterproofing system has a membrane with all the ancillaries to ensure environmental factors and building movement will be resistant to chemical and moisture damage.

Make sure you obtain warranties and certification for the system chosen, from the manufacturer and the contracting company.

Building a dry building works by identifying the risk of weather exposure along with issues such as movement, the height of water(flood) levels, the manufacturers’ recommendations, best practice for products, processes, and incompatible materials.

All moisture must drain downhill, meaning all substrates and finishes must have the capacity to overflow to an outside area. High-risk areas include weather-exposed areas and joints between stud walls and brickwork, making your initial choice of design relevant.

Always choose a waterproof membrane, compatible with other sealants. Make sure the system you want is suitable for your building design and contractors ensure best practice.

The concrete should have a smooth surface for the membrane and the substrate to give optimal adhesion. All irregularities and contamination of chemicals must be removed from the concrete for best results. The constitution of the concrete, as well as the ability for the membrane to adhere, is vital. The concrete must also be free of moisture before applying a complete waterproofing system.

With high-quality workmanship and the correct application of your waterproofing system, you can be sure that your building’s exterior will stand the test of time.

Are you waterproofing your new building or needing remedial repairs to your existing building?

Sonaa is the expert team to call when your high-rise or commercial building requires a waterproofing system. They work across Sydney to protect your commercial, industrial, civil, or residential property. Sonaa guarantee all of their work, are fully accredited, insured, and safety endorsed.

Please contact them by phone or email today.