It pays to double up on waterproofing

It’s no surprise that concrete has become the material of choice across the globe for commercial and residential basement construction. Yet, concrete is porous and susceptible to cracking, leading to water ingress that can shorten the service life of a building and result in insurance and litigation expenses from water damage claims. In fact, a recent Construction Magazine article noted that 75% of building failures are caused by water ingress.

These risks have spurred many in the industry to adopt a combined approach to waterproofing, especially for below ground concrete structures. In its BS 8102:2009 code, the UK’s British Standards Institution (BSI) Code of Practice for Protection of Below Ground Structures Against Water from the Ground, which is recognized globally by construction engineers, consultants, and architects, recommends considering a combination waterproofing system for high risk structures or structures with critical ramifications should a leak occur.

Although concrete is water resistant, its porous nature makes it susceptible to damage when defects allow water infiltration. That’s why a combination of adding waterproofing protection to the concrete mix itself – and applying a fully bonded waterproofing membrane as a primary line of defence – is a smart choice to prolong the service life of the structure, without the high cost of repairs and downtime.

Options for dual waterproofing methods include:

  • Adding chemical admixtures to the concrete to shield pores from moisture migration
  • Applying a fully bonded waterproofing membrane directly to the concrete to form a physical barrier between the structure and corrosive groundwater and soils and vapours.

Instead of seeing combination waterproofing as an extra cost, wise clients and industry experts recognise doubling up on protection as a prudent investment. This mitigates the high cost of repairs and downtime, and the severe headaches that go with it.