What is waterproofing?

Waterproofing is a process that attempts to seal or block any possible means by which water can penetrate. It describes a method that makes an object waterproof or water resistant, which means the object becomes relatively unaffected by water or has been given the ability to resist getting wet. Products such as wristwatches and cameras that claim to be water-resistant have gone through waterproofing processes.

How is it done?

The need for waterproofing technology first became apparent for maritime purposes. In the past, the hulls of ships and boats were waterproofed using tar or pitch. Today, plumbing is one of the biggest industries that require the application of waterproofing techniques. Pipes, tubes and fixtures are waterproofed by sealing seams and connections with rubber gaskets or O-rings.

Another waterproofing technique is the application of water-repellant coatings. This is typically employed in construction applications, particularly concrete waterproofing in the basement, deck and structures that were intentionally built in wet areas. Coatings and membranes are applied to protect not only the contents of the basement but also the integrity of the basement structure. When exposed to water for a long time, concrete could eventually soften and cracks may appear.

Why is it important to waterproof hardened concrete?

Every concrete structure needs waterproofing since concrete is porous. It may look solid and impregnable from the outside but the truth is it is not watertight. This is why it is not uncommon to see condensation or sweating on concrete walls.

A number of people may not know it but concrete is created by mixing cement and water. Construction builders know enough to put excess water in the mix so that the cement is easier to use, transport and apply before it hardens. As excess water evaporates it leaves a network of pores, tiny holes and capillaries within a concrete wall. Simply put, a concrete wall is really more like a dense sponge than a solid steel wall. To prove this, one can actually observe dry concrete absorb about 60 liters of water in only 30 minutes.

If not reinforced or waterproofed, concrete basement walls will become damp, causing leaks and cracks to appear. Not only will this damage internal finishes and structural dignity, it will also promote the growth of molds and therefore affect people’s health. It can also result to flooding during heavy rains.

Nobody wants to have a damp and moldy basement. The basement is often overlooked by families but it is the best place to put up a study area, fitness gym, laundry area or washroom, or an extra bedroom. Families also typically place the broiler, furnace and heating/cooling systems here, which makes it all the more important for basements to be kept dry.

How is concrete waterproofing done and by whom?

The three most common methods in concrete waterproofing are the tanking system, external membrane and surface coating. These all involve the application of waterproof coating and are difficult to do by just anyone.

Here’s a diagram of a typical basement water intrusion:

At Public Plumbing we take care of all of the above and our highly skilled team can waterproof your basement and solve those leaks once and for all. By using proven technologies and latest equipment, all of our projects are done on time, with highest quality, and the best part – at very affordable rates!


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