Is Waterproofing Concrete Enough to Protect Your Buildings’ Foundations?

Arguably the most efficient and straightforward way to waterproof concrete, cementitious waterproofing has long offered the staple waterproofing solution to protect concrete against water incursion. As the foremost cementitious waterproofing contractor in Dubai, Blue Seal advocates the use of cementitious waterproofing to protect your property.

The advantages of cementitious waterproofing are glaringly apparent. The liquid coating can be quickly and easily applied to concrete of all shapes and sizes and offer exemplary elongation. Moreover, as experienced waterproofing companies in the UAE – and throughout the world – will tell you, cementitious waterproofing is very cost-effective offering customers great value for money.

However, there is a question to be raised when waterproofing concrete, one that is extremely pertinent to building owners, is waterproofing concrete enough to protect a building’s foundations?

What Waterproofing Concrete Does

No building is immune from harsh or persistent weather conditions. As structurally sound and well-designed as a building can be, architects and construction professionals cannot design and build bespoke structures to effortlessly manage every nuanced atmospheric change. The materials will be subject to delicate and subtle weather patterns in equal means, none more so than moisture, humidity and floods.

Despite waterproofing solutions accounting for a small fraction of the total cost of a building project, should the wrong solution be chosen, or a solution be improperly installed, the cost of resolving any issues can be significant.

The Threat of Water Ingress

Typically, the amount of water mixed with cement to create concrete is more than enough to provide hydration. As learned waterproofing contractors will tell you, the excess water settles into the concrete, forming capillary voids. This provides channels for water to penetrate the concrete when subjected to hydrostatic pressure or capillary action.

Should the foundation of a building be built at or close to a water table or in areas where more moisture is present – such as heavier soil – water ingress can similarly pose a larger issue.

Waterproofing Concrete Solutions

To create watertight concrete, or concrete that performs with lauded and persistent effectiveness, even when under threat of significant water ingress, employing the skills of a top cementitious waterproofing in Dubai is paramount. Using strong admixtures will reduce the chance of water ingress by reducing permeability and drying concrete shrinkage. Cementitious waterproofing contractors know how to use the right admixture for the right environment.

Using cementitious waterproofing to protect concrete is generally considered to be the best option when waterproofing retaining structures and basement environments that are less than 10 meters deep.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Waterproofing Concrete

The primary advantages of cementitious waterproofing are the relatively low cost and the effectiveness of the process. Any contractor doesn’t need to concern themselves with performing a separate waterproofing process – saving much time and expense.

However, extra care should always be taken in any concrete placement and finishing. Not only that, the selection of raw materials should be given due consideration. Poor casting and vibration, insufficient concrete curing or a lower quality concrete aggregates can cause honeycombing, shrinkage or structural cracks. Waterproofing contractors are particularly aware of such occurrences as water ingress will compromise the integrity of any installation.

Paying due care and attention to the concrete mix whilst maintain stringent quality control will alleviate these potential issues. Project budget and schedule pressures can sometimes result in contractors not paying enough attention to these issues with dire consequences.

Is Waterproofing Concrete Enough?

In simple terms, it depends on the nature of your environment. Any finished spaces that require a dry environment, utility rooms, storage spaces or a basement environment with limited tolerance for water vapour, it may be more advisable to employ pre-applied waterproofing membranes. Why? They have properties that pushes water into the structure.

Pre-applied waterproofing creates waterproofing solutions where a waterproof barrier is installed prior to the concrete slab and walls being poured. The concrete is then poured atop the membrane, forming a bond to keep the moisture out.

Using fully bonded pre-applied waterproofing, essentially compensates for any structural failures. An astute cementitious waterproofing contractor in Dubai, such as Blue Seal, will tell you that if gaps form due to the ground settlement, the waterproof membrane should remain affixed to the concrete.

Moreover, the strength of the bond between the concrete and the membrane itself should negate any repair issues, with only very minimal problems arising. Water is prevented from migrating laterally, so even if a leak does occur, it’s easier and cheaper to isolate and fix the issue than if you had chosen waterproof concrete.

The other major benefit to pre-applied membranes is that they provide comprehensive protection from harmful gases in the soil. This is especially attractive in areas where the soil has high amounts of methane, radon or contamination.

So, is waterproofing concrete enough to protect your building’s foundations? It really depends on the nature of the building and the environment. Sure, waterproof concrete will provide enough protection but, it might be wise to consider a tailored or bespoke waterproofing solution if you wish to proficiently protect your environment.

Interested in learning more about waterproof concrete? Want to learn about the best solution to waterproofing your environment? Contact Blue Seal today. We’d be happy to provide you with our expert advice or provide you with a competitive quotation for any project.