Looking for a sustainable way to waterproof your property? When researching for methods, you are likely to come across the “Torch-On Membrane” method. While common practice for flat roofs, there are some precautions developers and homeowners have to bear in mind when it comes to this petroleum-based waterproofing solution.
The two most common Torch-On Membranes in the market are known as Atactic Polypropylene Plastic modified Bitumen (APP), and Styrene Butadiene Styrene modified bitumen (SBS). Both are heat-sensitive materials that are widely used internationally to cover flat roofs, floorings, car porch, and balcony areas.
The application of Torch-On Membranes involves two main layers to work, the substrate layer laid out on the surface and the film of the membrane itself. The film is a type of hot-melt plastic adhesive. Essentially, the membrane is supposed to create a barrier on top of the surface that keeps water from seeping through. However, poor workmanship can lead to these membranes not work as intended.
There are also more downsides to the method that we feel the need to point out.
The whole process isn’t just a simple blowtorch-and-roll procedure based on instinct. In fact, this method requires strict SOPs. This ranges from the heat of the blowtorch to the way the membrane overlaps, to the speed or position the membrane is at when rolled out.
Seam failure can be seen by too much overflow of the adhesive at overlapping parts of two membranes.
Ideally, the amount of fluid that spreads out from the overlapped parts must be between 1-2.5cm. If too little of the heat-fusible side has not been melted, you can experience membrane failure in the future. That’s why it’s hard to make sure that the membrane has been properly melted, even if handled by an expert!
Torch-On Membranes are reserved for surfaces that are resistant to heat, such as concrete. This technique requires the contractor to work with a blowtorch! Therefore, it is not advisable to be used on flammable surfaces such as wood or insulation boards.
Poor judgment calls from the technician may lead to costly damages to your property.
Homeowners should bear in mind that Torch-On Membrane methods are reserved for wide outdoor areas, such as on commercial building flat roofs, outdoor car parks, and car porches. Even so, extreme caution must be observed when working around electrical or gas connection systems, such as AC outdoor units, electric boxes, and near plastic water tanks. This is because these areas are susceptible to heat and may get damaged, causing problems in the future.
There’s a reason why this method is reserved for outdoor or open-air areas. Alongside the fire hazard that comes with using a blow torch, this method releases harmful chemicals into the air. Some websites might try to push that their solutions are sustainable and non-toxic, but they are still using petroleum-based materials!
The torch is used to heat up both the substrate laid out on the floor, and the petroleum-based adhesive side of the membrane.
According to a paper by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asphalt fumes generated from the torching process releases carcinogenic particles. Due to long exposure, these particles can increase cancer risk in people. Not to mention, after the installation process, the smell of burning rubber may last for a good few days!
Debonding is the process that happens when the membrane lifts, peels or bubbles after a period of time. Unfortunately, several factors can cause debonding and they are usually a result of errors during the application stage.
Namely, some of the main factors that cause debonding are damp, uneven, or poorly primed surfaces.
Your Torch-On membrane might debond due to your contractor using the wrong membrane that doesn’t work well with the substrate they choose from your floors, the surface of your floor being damp, uneven, poorly primed, or contaminated surfaces! What’s worse, you wouldn’t notice if the waterproofing membrane was damaged until it starts leaking when it’s placed someplace you don’t visit often!
On flat roofs, be prepared to notice that there may be unevenness on the membrane due to an uneven surface. These dips on the surface are likely to cause water to pool, creating a water ponding problem.
This will both deteriorate the membrane, as well as become a breeding ground for bacterial and mould growth. Scrubbing or power-washing the floor wouldn’t be as easy to clear off on a concrete surface.
With the knowledge of the solutions offered by our fellow industry experts in mind, we always ensure our solutions come with more benefits than drawbacks. We strive to offer solutions that other providers have failed to deliver. We believe Le Fong Nanotechnology Waterproofing is one of the revolutionary waterproofing solutions providers that give your balcony, flat roof, or car porch area the added waterproofing layer you need.
Our satisfaction-guaranteed solution doesn’t require complicated and meticulous steps, harsh chemicals, or blowtorching. Instead, we leverage on the use of nanotechnology! This effective water-based waterproofing solution can create a thin protective layer on surfaces by deeply penetrating the smallest hairline cracks.
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