Waterproofing Membranes

Waterproofing membranes have come a long way in the past couple of years. That said there always looks like a large number of waterproofing products on the market. Thus what makes a waterproof membrane effective, and how do you recognize what is the best product for you?

What is the perfect waterproofing membrane?

A perfect waterproofing products should have the following elements:

1. Defend the substrate from moisture

2. High elasticity prior to breaking point

3. Dry easily (and does not skin)

4. Dry without getting stressed

5. Be capable of being bonded (eg. with tiles)

6. Have high chemical and abrasion resistance

7. Be easy to implement

8. Be risk-free to deal with and non-toxic

Presently, there are two typical kinds of waterproofing membranes: acrylic and polyurethane. Polyurethane has a greater tensile strength and elongates more. Although, they normally have solvent based constituents that are less reliable to use. Bonding to them can also be problematical. Acrylic often takes much longer to dry and is little resistive to abrasion and some important chemicals.

Quality waterproofing products need to provide a waterproof obstacle but it must also deal with expected motion. This sort of movements, such as that at junctions, can conveniently be accommodated with bond breakers. They enable the waterproofing membranes to extend rather than snap, making the most of the stretchable feature of the substance. The key idea is much like an elastic band. A long part of elastic will extend further prior to snapping than a short bit of the same stuff.

The problem with unpredicted movement

The difficulty remains in how much the waterproofing membrane needs to extend to support sudden splits (those not addressed with bond breakers). As the expansion (mobility) is more than the elongation (stretching) capability of the waterproofing membrane, it will lead to a tear in the membrane potentially resulting in leaks.

Thus basically if the motion is more than the waterproofing membrane can stretch, then it will snap. A bond breaker allows the membrane to stretch out much more.

The Solution

Fitting the needed bond breakers is usually imperative. Though the style of the membrane can also help. A waterproofing products that is harder with more expansion power means that it is much forgiving and the bond breakers can be narrower. Basically the better the elasticity, the later it will break and the stronger the membrane's intrinsic (or tensile) strength, the more likely it will de-bond and stretch out rather than snap. Consider that it is always best to install a bond breaker in all parts that are likely to move.

Basement waterproofing products when done get quite difficult because the water pressure is from the negative side, the difficulty arrives when a waterproofing membrane cannot bear hydrostatic pressure from inside of the substrate and consequently fails. Water might go into a basement by several means including through joints, walls, or floors. Various basement waterproofing membranes deal with these problems.