Published by Hemant Chauhan in Waterproofing.
"Waterproofing like Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation"
Eleven reasons one may not need waterproofing on their construction projects are …
- One feels that the increased Cost component of (i.e. less than) 1.8% of the total project cost for using waterproofing system is too high to spend on a construction project
- One has got a construction contractor who has Godly powers and there is no error ever on his part or has a super human team of labour who will work on your site
- It never ever rains in your area.
- The plumbing is guaranteed to never leak in the life time, be it bathrooms or kitchen or any area with water contact in your structure
- Your construction project is in a region where there is no water table to affect your basement areas
- You are that guy who will just sell the apartments you constructed, and care too hoots about the people who will inhabit it, even if they face damp ceilings and moist walls.
- You do not believe that temperature variations of summers and winter will ever cause cracks in your building structure.
- You simply do not care if your project will be a hassle free place to inhabit, or not !
- Again waterproofing is just like insurance, it is matter of “if” the building ever leaks. So you feel it will never leak in your life time.
- You think that concrete is a non-porous material and that moisture cannot climb up in concrete structures through capillary action. (Google it to understand better)
- Waterproofing is a silly concept for you
Above are 11 “logical” reasons why waterproofing is still a misunderstood, unknown and an often confusing concept.
It is perceived almost like so many of the insurance policies we get thrown on us by marketing campaigns but we do not understand!
“The theoretical fact is that concrete is a fantastic material. And waterproofing is automatically inbuilt in a perfectly constructed structure and so one does not need to pay any major attention to it.”
But this is far from truth, as is quite evident from a visit around any city where buildings and apartments have sprung up. You just have to count and see that many of these structures have become ugly with spots on each floor level with exterior paint peeling off, structures appearing as discoloured monoliths and making the buildings look unpleasant.
It is even worse for the inhabitants who have bought the property or have taken it on lease; they just get used to it and live in an unhealthy, smelly damp environment.
The builder or developers have no reason to help once the project is sold out. It is impractical too, as the repairs of waterproofing problems are much costlier when done later on because
- Sunken Portion has to be dug out again; this involves huge cost of redoing those areas, new fitting news tiles everything!
- Once occupied, it is not easy to vacate the area again for waterproofing treatments.
- Uncooperative neighbours, who won’t let you disturb their space just because their own bathroom or kitchen plumbing has screwed your false ceiling or walls, as the non-existent or failed waterproofing has allowed the leaked water to seep through.
The fact to understand is, that we have an environment which is constantly affecting our structures and new construction projects by way of following ways...
- Temperature variations
- Workmanship issues
- Errors in specifications
- Negligent supervision in construction
It is in the interest of every stake holder, not just Architect or the Builders or the Developers or the Construction Engineers, but also the end-user who will inhabit the structure to pay attention on waterproofing proofing systems used in construction of the structure.
Successful waterproofing is coming together of
- Correct Specification of the material to be used
- Quality of the Product that is to be used
- Application Quality and supervision of application
If any of the above three are out of sync it may lead to a doubtful or imperfect waterproofing system, both in terms of performance when needed and cost implications.
Below are some essential must know points for deciding on a waterproofing system at a new construction project
- Asphalt/Tar based systems are obsolete and of no use. Asphalt also creates future problems in repairs, as it has to be burnt out before application of newer advanced polymer coatings. Their performance is good only in dry areas where basic material come from i.e. Dubai, Saudi Arabia, UAE etc.
- Modern Waterproofing chemicals are advanced polymers based and are specified according to the area where they have to be used. As exposure to temperature changes, moisture and type of construction play a factor in performance of the waterproofing coatings so …..
- Apply plaster on the outer side; plaster should be treated with waterproofing admixtures @ 100-150gms per bag of cement.
- A basic waterproof barrier coat based on polymer and cement mix which has limited flexibility needs to be applied over this plaster. This generally is a system with Polymer One Part and Cement Two parts kinds of system. Attention no water is to be added to such system. Two coats are sufficient for such areas where temperature variation is not much
For sunken areas of bathrooms, balconies & Kitchen
- Same treatment of Polymer coating as above for basement as there is not much temperature variation and so does not need a very flexible system.
- Pay attention to make “Gola” or cove at the edges in the sunken areas, using a modified polymer or a bonding agent of any good brand. This modified polymer bonding agent is not the same as polymer coating described above.
For Terraces and open to sky areas
- A flexible coating system is needed, that shall bridge hairline cracks in the concrete slabs. These cracks are bound to occur due to extreme temperature changes, causing the slabs to crack causing waterproofing problems if a proper system is not present.
- There are many products available based on acrylic polymers, PU systems, single component or dual component based.
- From many of the advanced systems available that have a cost factor associated to them according to their flexibility and performance qualities, we would recommend a basic 3 Layer system with fibre reinforcement. It will be the same system used for sunken areas, but added with one extra layer of Polymer and cement mix coating and one additional layer of fibre. This will provide a strong crack resistant system for terrace area
- Always use a plaster admixture for all exterior plaster and where ever you have to apply plaster close to potential moisture exposed areas
- If your contractor/waterproofing applicator is adding water to a coating system, it is a wrong material and wrong method of waterproofing. We can call it an “eye-wash”. As it would be an SBR based product that is used for repairs and bonding and not as a coating system
- Technology has advanced and it is now possible to have reduction of labour leading to a simple application processes.
- There are systems available like crystalline waterproofing. One just needs to add these crystalline waterproofing systems in the concrete or mortar mix, creating a dependable waterproof structure. Although a bit expensive they reduce labour and application cost along with the reduction in time needed to finish the project thereby justifying the use of such systems.