The Guide to Choosing Waterproofing Materials
Winter is already here and with the rain comes the inevitable side effect: dampness, oh no. So before you run out to purchase waterproofing materials, here are some important tips to ensure a warm, dry winter for you.
First of All, a Standard Mark
Waterproofing is basic and many tend to take on the work themselves, to save on costs associated with hiring waterproofing contractors. This is great – assuming you know what you’re doing and take care to maintain safe work practices.
First, it’s important to remember: don’t be tempted by cheap materials from dubious manufacturers, as you’ll feel the damage later, including to your wallet. When purchasing bituminous sheets and acrylic or bituminous sealants, be sure to buy products with a standard mark and if you hesitate between different materials – it’s always preferable to go with a product that has earned additional quality standards, or a green label indicating an environmentally friendly product (and no less important for those doing the work themselves – user friendly).
Beyond this, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Because what can you do – if you don’t adhere to every detail, provide a clean surface to work on, and do exactly as written in the guidelines, there’s a reasonable chance that next winter you’ll need to re-read this article.
And now, to the crux of the matter: it’s important to choose the right waterproofing materials and make sure the material selected suits the job you intend it for – because waterproofing is complex and not every waterproofing task requires the same components. The most popular way to waterproof roofs today is using bituminous membranes, welded together to form a kind of rug over the entire surface to be waterproofed. This is especially popular on large surfaces including roofs previously tarred or exposed concrete surfaces.
On the other hand, there are places where it simply won’t work. If the surface you’re working on was previously coated using acrylic sealant, even if you purchase the best bituminous membranes on the market and invest in particularly meticulous work, ultimately it’s a wasted effort: the acrylic material will reject the bituminous material (a chemistry thing) and within a short time bubbles will appear causing the membranes to detach from the surface. Want to use bituminous membranes anyway? Be sure to completely remove the old acrylic material, thoroughly clean the surface, apply primer per manufacturer instructions and only then will the surface be ready for laying the bituminous membranes.
Another popular waterproofing option is using white acrylic sealant, which can be spread or sprayed on. This may save you costs but if you have a drainage or slope problem in the area you want to seal with the acrylic material, it’s advisable to consider an alternative solution in advance (or prepare for increased maintenance of the area).
The Third Option
And there’s also option 3, for cases when there’s no access allowing proper welding of bituminous membranes and conditions are not suitable for using acrylic material: waterproofing with polyurethane material, which also requires spraying application and is simple and quick to apply. Such material would be excellent for shaded areas but if it will be exposed to the sun it is important to apply a UV protection coat to prevent cracking.
And by the way, if you’re old fashioned and planning to use cementitious waterproofing, remember that here too the material will work best especially when combined with materials from the concrete family.
Match With the Right Family
So no matter what you choose – first thing before buying waterproofing materials, check exactly what the surface you intend to work on is made of and be sure to continue investing in the same family of materials. Don’t hesitate to ask the sales staff at the building supply store where you’re going what the right thing is for you. Have doubts? Stop for a moment, take a sample, get a professional opinion. Don’t start work without being sure your waterproofing is done right.