When it comes to maintaining your home or building, waterproofing is one of the most important things you should consider. Waterproofing makes sure that your building’s interior remains dry, clean, and warm throughout all seasons. Water infiltration can eventually lead to a loss of structural integrity. Your house will be more valuable if it has good waterproofing.
What is waterproofing, you ask?
Waterproofing prevents water from entering a building’s interior. It helps to reduce humidity and protect the interior of the building from water damage. Salt corrosion and moisture can also cause metals to rust or wood to decay. It can also play havoc with electronics and TVs and lead to unwanted algae growth, which can be dangerous to your health.
Waterproofing is primarily made up of membranes made out of waterproof plastic, rubber, and coated fabric materials. PVC membrane is one of the most popular materials for waterproofing roofs. Contrary to popular belief, waterproofing does not prevent water from entering a structure, such as buildings or tunnels. – Or within a structure, such as a water tank or pond, birdbath etc.
Isn’t it natural for buildings to be protected from moisture outside?
Most buildings are made from naturally porous materials like brick, concrete, and wood. They are often reinforced with steel inner cores for increased tensile strength. Additional treatment is applied to these materials in order for moisture, damp, and water to stay outside. This protects the interior and increases the building’s structural integrity and longevity. Waterproofing can effectively seal any foundation cracks that are not obvious.
Groundwater that is problematic can be diverted away from buildings using a trench drain or below-surface French drain. A solid foundation should not be less than 200mm thick. This will prevent groundwater from pressing up on the foundations (hydrostatic Pressure) and create cracks that allow water to seep through. A poorly treated brickwork will become brittle and allow moisture outside to enter the building. This is especially true in coastal areas.
Inadequate waterproofing could lead to serious insurance claims and health problems.
More than 20% of all building insurance claims are for water damage. This could include foundation cracking, wood beams rotting or flooding. However, water damage can also be caused by a slow, unnoticed leak that eventually leads to bigger problems. Mould, mildew, and rising damp in a house can cause serious health problems. Mould spores can cause allergic reactions, such as sneezing and headaches, swelling of the eyes, redness or watery eyes, skin rashes, fatigue, and even asthma attacks. Even people with compromised immune systems may be susceptible to serious infections. It is important to keep water and moisture out of your buildings and homes.
You can save electricity by properly waterproofing your space
A house or building that is effectively waterproofed can also save money on heating or cooling. Damp air takes longer to heat or cool.
How can you detect moisture ingress?
There are four key indicators that indicate a moisture problem. They are all self-explanatory.
- Odour. It is easy to smell damp because it has an odour that is instantly identifiable. Have you ever been in an abandoned building that is open to the elements? That’s the smell of it!
- Dampness. Look for the cause if you notice that some areas are colder than others, or that curtains or furniture feel damp.
- You can see mould and mildew on floors and walls as dark brown spots or black spots. This isn’t dirt buildup. It cannot be removed with standard mould and mildew products.
- Trouble breathing, headaches or any other symptoms listed above. Because they are invisible, spores can easily be inhaled and get on the skin or into the eyes.
As with all things in life, waterproofing must be renewed every few years to prevent structural or health damage. If the job is too difficult or overwhelming, hire professionals to help you. But don’t let it get worse.