Waterproofing Membrane: Types and Application

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waterproofing membrane

Ever wanted your office building or home to be waterproof? It is surprisingly simpler than one may think, all you need is a waterproofing membrane.

Applying the membrane can control water damage and prevent water leaks.

Thus it increases the longevity as well as the integrity of the building.

These membranes are liquid applied or preformed sheets that stick to the foundations in order to prevent the penetration of water.

This article discusses how a waterproofing membrane can protect your building structure from water damage and the factors plus types you should consider before applying.

Let’s dig deeper below!

installing a waterproofing membrane

Why Should You Install and Waterproofing Membrane?

Essentially a waterproofing membrane is a sheet that is a layer of water-tight material.

Hence, the sheet membranes are either pre-formed or liquid applied that are installed around the foundation like a slab in the structure.

You can install these around the roof or basement.

That prevents the infiltration of water into your structural foundations.

Hence, the applied membrane is added to the concrete structure and prevent water from penetrating.

One of the main benefits of installing waterproof systems is that you want to control the damage from the penetration of water.

But why else is it important?

It can harm your Safety 

The damage resulting from water leaking to the vertical and horizontal surfaces plus the structure of the building can pose a risk to people inside.

It compromises the integrity of the building.

Thus the environment turns out to be unsafe and may soon become unliveable if damage continues.

Waterproofing Membrane systems make for a healthier environment 

When water leaks, it can result in the growth of mold and the buildup of fungus.

Thus, it is no longer a healthy environment where that buildup can cause allergies and other health issues.

Installing waterproofing material can make a space that is safe from all of these elements.

Hence, it is well-maintained and healthy.

Strengthening the Building Structure 

Installing the waterproof membranes are a way to lengthen the longevity of the building.

Preventing the penetration of moisture can avoid problems such as corrosion, rust, damages to the property and people, structural defects and rotting.

Increase Property Prices and Reduce Maintenance Cost 

If you do quality waterproofing, there will be no need for additional repairs as it safeguards the property from water damage.

Hence, saving you costs while also increasing the property value over time.

types of waterproofing membrane

Types of Waterproofing Membrane

There are two main types of membranes, either sheet-based membranes or liquid-applied waterproofing membranes.

The sheet-based membranes are in the form of rolls that are laid on a firm surface.

Whereas the liquid ones are sprays or liquids that you can brush on the surface.

The liquid further forms a monolithic membrane that does not needs any welds or seams.

Let’s find out about these two kinds and their several types below.

Self adhesive modified bituminous membrane 

This membrane is one of the most common ones.

It consists of polymers, asphalt, tackifiers and mineral stabilizers.

In order to enforce the product, you will need fiberglass or polyester.

These are usually stored in an opaque wrapping and are protected with a release film.

EPDM Membrane 

It is an elastomeric waterproofing membrane with an EPDM rubber.

This membrane installation is quick and safe.

Its prominent qualities are:

  • shows high performance in tear strength
  • high tensile strength
  • resistant to UV rays
  • shows resistance to weathering
  • resistant to oxygenated solvents, acids and alkalis
  • has good elongation
  • shows resistance to heat aging
  • resistant to shrinkage cracking
  • shows resistance to carbonation and corrosion

Bituminous Membrane 

A bituminous waterproofing membrane is a hot melt liquid rubber blend membrane.

Its use is common in roof and podium deck applications.

It is ideal for high green roofs and podiums for seamless waterproofing.

Moreover, they are good and specific for winter applications as they can be laid at low temperatures.

PVC and TPO Membrane 

These are highly flexible sheets that can protect any structure from water damage.

It can go from a single-layer compartment system to an active control system.

These sheets are fully bonded, install efficiently and provide good waterproofing safety.

Though, its use will be mostly for below-grade areas or basements.

Know other types below!

sheet application

Other Types

Polymer Modified Bitumen Membrane 

The most common and widespread material for the membrane is the polymer-modified bitumen membrane.

This kind of material can hold high mechanical loads and withstand changes in temperature.

Its flow resistance makes it ideal for use in hot climate.

Thus it can act as a vapor barrier.

Polyurethane Membrane 

This comes in use when the membrane needs coverage from tiles, concrete beds and screeds.

It is a water-based and fiber-enhanced membrane.

They have good adhesion properties while applying on building substrates including plasterboard surfaces, concrete, masonry and cement sheeting.

Thermoplastic Membrane 

Combining, ethylene-propylene and polypropylene while reinforcing through polyester makes them different from other roofing systems.

Sheets of this membrane consist of flame retardants, UV absorbents, and colorants.

These sheets will be white in color, have different thicknesses ranging from 40 to 100 mil and are 6 to 12 feet in width.

Compared to all other roofing options, this is the cheapest.

material application

Polypropylene Membrane 

This special material comes from Bitumen in the form of rolls.

It is special because of its efficiency and durability.

The sheets are available in the form of a roll whereby each roll covers an area of 8.7 meters square and is 10 meters by 1 meter.

This material is in concrete flat roofs, basements, retaining walls, low-pitched roofs and concrete gutters.

Chemical Grouting 

Chemical grouting seals the cement structures.

The hydrophilic grouts have resilience and flexibility.

Hence, this allows for movement within the structure, making it flexible without having to damage the seal.

In contrast to that, a hydrophobic chemical grout is low viscosity.

It will also permeate nonconsolidated loose soils easily.

It is rigid after full cure.

If the structure moves, that damages cell structure and leaks appear.

Hence, hydrophilic chemical grouting is more efficient to seal the cement structures.

application of waterproofing membrane

What is the Application Process for Waterproofing Membrane?

Application is one of the most important parts of installing waterproofing.

If it goes wrong, then the type of sheets or membranes no longer matter as the structural integrity will be compromised.

The longer you let the leak be, the harder it will be to fix it.

Underlying deterioration will begin and rehabilitation will take extensive time, more material and additional costs.

Where can you apply Waterproofing Membrane? 

Every time of building can benefit from waterproofing.

The size, location, area or scale does not matter as this can maintain the structural integrity of the building.

Hence, you can apply it to:

Now that you know what are some unconventional places where you can apply the membranes, let’s find out about the application procedure.

Inspect Prior Membranes 

If the building has had prior membranes, look how the weather affected them.

Knowing how it responds to temperature and weather fluctuations that your building faces can help you make an informed decision next time.

Cleaning The Application Area 

Now that you have a plan for the material and have already bought it, clean the area that it will apply on.

If the area is cleaner, the substrate adheres to the surface properly.

Plus, there will also be instructions from the manufacturer to clean the substrate, remove dirt and other surface contaminants.

How to Apply the material? 

During installation, be wary of a few installation errors:

  • liquid applied membranes should be of the correct thickness
  • there should be joints in the sheet application
  • extra thickness results in re-emulsification
  • coating materials should be abrasive, accommodate building movement and resistant
  • avoid poor workmanship
  • uneven film thickness results in tears
  • applying before structural elements completion

considerations and maintenance of building work

What Else Should You Know?

After application, check if the material is working properly.

One way to do that is destructive testing.

This way attempts to remove the material by applying water to the surface and then ensuring the seal is working correctly.

After it starts to work properly, perform routine maintenance so that it remains in good shape.

Verify that the installation was done properly.

Looking for signs of installation failure can prevent further repairs in the future.

Do not ignore any crack, stain or other visual cues that could indicate water leakage and damage has returned.

Hence, keep paying attention to control any damage in the earlier stages.

While choosing your waterproofing service provider, look for their previous work and company history.

Check if they have any prior certifications in the application and also look for licensing as well as liability insurance.

It is advisable to go for a written contract with a company that offers a warranty, inspection services, and also prioritizes safety.

Al Ardh Alkhadra offers waterproofing for your buildings.

Contact us to know more about this service and how we can maintain your building’s structural integrity to provide you a safer and healthier environment inside.


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