HDPE Membrane Waterproofing – What You Need to Know

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27 January 2023 - 10:39, by , in Waterproofing Membrane, No comments

HDPE membrane Waterproofing is rapidly becoming one of the most popular options for waterproofing projects, as they offer a great range of advantages compared to other materials. From its impressive durability, flexibility and root resistance, to its relatively fast and easy installation process, HDPE membrane waterproofing is an ideal solution for many types of projects.

What is HDPE Membrane Waterproofing?

HDPE membrane waterproofing is a form of waterproofing utilizing High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) membrane. It’s a strong and durable material, perfect for areas that need to be waterproofed such as basement, balconies, terraces and green roofs. HDPE membrane is also commonly used in many underground structures due to its exceptional root resistance to prevent moisture, underground water seepage to basement floor.

HDPE Membrane Waterproofing Basement
HDPE membrane waterproofing
Photos courtesy of Sika.

HDPE membrane waterproofing are a moisture control measure critical for almost any home in any climate. These systems go by various aliases, such as vapor barriers, retarders and diffusion retarders. Essentially, HDPE membrane waterproofing is a material that reduces the rate at which water vapor can penetrate through it, according to the Energy.gov website.

HDPE Membrane Waterproofing Types

SikaProof® SK3000 -High performance, pre-applied HDPE waterproofing membrane for sub-structures and confined sites- 20M Length x1.2M Width x1.2mm Thickness, SGBC Singapore Green Building proudct

Sika® BituSeal-1500 SA Smooth Top -a self-adhesive polymer modified bituminous sheet membrane reinforced with a cross-laminated high strength HDPE film. 15M Length x1M Width x1.5mm Thickness

SikaShield® SK2000 – Self adhesive waterproofing membrane – 20M Length x1M Width x1.5mm Thickness, SGBC Singapore Green Building proudct

HDPE membrane waterproofing is a type of barrier that works to keep moisture and air from entering the interior of a building or house. HDPE membranes are used underneath concrete slabs, crawlspaces, and below-grade walls in order to prevent mold, mildew, and rot from forming. While they work as both a vapor barrier and an air barrier, only an air barrier can fully stop the flow of air. Depending on the climate, using a vapor barrier on the interior side of framed walls may or may not be necessary. 

hdpe membrane waterproofing hdpe membrane waterproofing,vapor barrier
SikaProof SK3000 HDPE membrane waterproofing
Photos courtesy of Sika

For effective waterproofing, HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) membrane plays an important role since it acts as a strong vapor retarder and air barrier. Despite being called different names interchangeably like ‘house wraps’ or ‘weather-resistive barriers’, it is necessary to ensure its full continuity without any punctures, tears or gaps in order to prevent the movement of vapor.

Architect-specified

When it comes to architectural specifications for waterproofing a structure, HDPE membrane is often the material of choice. Utilizing air and waterproof barriers proves confusing to many people due to its complex configurations. If assembled incorrectly, this method can allow vapor to penetrate the walls causing condensation and trapping moisture which can lead to mold growth. To ensure proper usage, transition strips connecting materials of different manufacturers are advised as it will help create a more continuous assembly. Employing HDPE membrane waterproofing correctly can provide ultimate protection against moisture damage.   

Code Changes

An HDPE Membrane is a high-performing waterproofing solution designed to protect flooring systems from moisture and alkaline coming through concrete slabs. In the past, solvent-based adhesives were commonly used, but due to VOCs and off-gassing, low-VOC adhesive formulations began replacing them. Water-based adhesives were then developed, but they often re-emulsified when mixed with concrete moisture and alkalies.

HDPE membrane is an effective waterproofing material for home underslabs that provides a low water vapor transmission rate. As water vapor finds its way into the soil, it stops when it encounters the HDPE membrane, as long as its permeability rate is lower than anything above it, thus stopping moisture from entering the home.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) membrane waterproofing has been recently adopted compliance with international residential building codes. This is due to its minimal cost increase in relation to the advantages provided to homeowners, such as protection against future flooring issues. HDPE membrane waterproofing provides an effective barrier that can be installed prior to the introduction of finished floorings, carpets, and other surface coverings.

Singapore Green Building Products Standard

The Singapore Green Building Products Standard (SGBC) provides benefits for both the environment and building industry by promoting the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable building materials. Some benefits include:

  1. Reduced Environmental Impact: SGBC-compliant building products are made using environmentally sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, reducing their carbon footprint.
  2. Improved Indoor Air Quality: SGBC-compliant building products emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful substances, improving indoor air quality.
  3. Increased Energy Efficiency: SGBC-compliant building products help improve energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption and costs.
  4. Enhanced Durability: SGBC-compliant building products are manufactured to high standards, making them more durable and longer-lasting.
  5. Boosts Market Demand: SGBC-compliance is becoming increasingly important for building products, providing a competitive advantage for companies that meet the standard and promoting sustainable business practices.
  6. Supports Sustainable Development: The SGBC helps support the broader goal of sustainable development, promoting the use of environmentally responsible building materials and encouraging sustainable practices across the construction industry and score for Singapore Green Marks certification.

Stopping Soil Gases: High-density polyethylene (HDPE) membrane is an effective waterproofing solution for protecting against soil gases. The HDPE product features a thin internal layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) which is resistant to oxygen, soil chemicals and hydrocarbons. With the addition of a stronger layer surrounding it, the multi-layer film can be used with a 20-mil thickness to create an excellent barrier against soil gas penetration.

High-performance Manufacturing     

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Membrane Waterproofing is a versatile product used in the manufacture of high-performance waterproof membranes. Visqueen has been a popular plastic sheeting used for this purpose until recently, when innovations saw more layers being used to create the specialized membrane. Co-extrusion, using 100% virgin resins, produces the necessary strength and durability  needed in a waterproof HDPE membrane that has excellent water vapor transmission characteristics.     

Conclusion 

The importance of using an HDPE membrane waterproofing system cannot be overstated. An HDPE membrane creates an impermeable barrier, preventing moisture and other liquids from seeping into the concrete subfloor and damaging whatever is above it. Whether you need to protect the interior of a home or outfit a commercial structure with hardwearing flooring, HDPE membrane waterproofing can help ensure a successful result. With its impressive durability and watertight seal, it is the perfect solution for protecting floors from the harmful effects of long-term moisture exposure.

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About author:
Nelson is a renowned author and construction engineering expert, specializing in waterproofing and roofing solutions. Graduating with a Master’s degree in construction engineering from the National University of Singapore (NUS), he applies his extensive practical experience and deep theoretical knowledge to author comprehensive guides on effective flooring practices. When he’s not writing or consulting, Nelson enjoys exploring new architectural designs and spending time with his family in Singapore.

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